No problem too hard to ponder

Opening up: Stephen Jones MP, Jessica Pinkerton, James Welch, Rohan McKnight and Victor Dosovski (in the front row) at the first JCI Illawarra Ponder Box.Picture: GREG ELLISNSW Young Woman of the Year finalist Jessica Pinkerton is leading from the front as the president of Junior Chamber International Illawarra.

Ms Pinkerton initiated a new concept called the Ponder Box soon after she took on the role at JCI Illawarra.

The idea was to provide people in the Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama area the opportunity to discuss many community issues.

She scheduled three JCI Illawarra Ponder Box events.

The first was on mental health and disability in the workplace and the second was on gender. Both were well attended by young emerging leaders and politicians.

Rebekah Brindle, Isabelle Henderson, Justin Bailey, Jessica Pinkerton, Jacinta Carly and Kevin McDonald at last Thursday night’s JCI Illawarra networking event at Howlin’ Wolf Bar. Picture by Greg Ellis.

Ms Pinkerton is at present preparing the third Ponder Box on youth employment and entry level jobs on October 29 at Diamond Offices, Wollongong.

“It is a mix between a think-tank/community forum discussion,” she said.

“The aim is to identify barriers that we can formulate a project around to help alleviate those problems.”

Ms Pinkerton said Ponder Box 1 on April 30 defined mental health and disability and discussed the barriers for employee and employers.

“The focus was very much on workplace culture and culture change from top down,” she said.

Ms Pinkerton said workplace excellence awards were discussed to reward employers who hired people with special needs into open employment.

At Ponder Box 2, Gender in the Workplace, on July 30, the Soar Above Project (MDG gender equality and empowering women) was explained.

Discrimination issues identified included pay gaps and conditions, opportunity and hierarchy, and industry culture for non-traditionally female roles. Suggestions included continuing the Soar Above Project and working with Supported Accommodation Shoalhaven Illawarra.

Ms Pinkerton said for Ponder Box 3 on Youth Employment Illawarra’s emerging young leaders will discuss the causes of youth unemployment and what can be done.

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