Celebrating the women of The Big group

This day of celebration is certainly relevant to us here at Big Group given the strong representation of women within our teams!

“In 1908, against a backdrop of terrible working conditions and exploitation, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York protesting for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights…”

In 1910 it went global, a national day to honour the strikers, the workers, the women who fought to end harmful working environments, the women who fought for equal rights and pay and to end exploitation. It’s pretty fair to say we are not there YET, but the steps that have been taken over the last 100 or more years are walking us ladies in the right direction. With a day to recognise how far we have come towards gender equality, it is also a day to remind our governments, our workplaces and our neighbours that women will take action to achieve their goals in equality. 

On a global scale, the movement towards creating an equal footing for every female in the world is called Generation Equality. What you need to know about this movement driven by the United Nations is this –

  • In 1995 in Beijing, global leaders developed the world’s most visionary agenda to empower girls and women.
  • Since then, incredible steps have been taken globally to achieve a world where She Is Equal.
  • Call on leaders to ensure all commitments made in the Beijing Declaration are delivered.

With laws and biased cultures to break down, women are still fighting to be valued in the workplace (and at home), still struggling to earn equal amounts to their male counterparts. Today many women are fighting for their rights, creating companies, economies, societies and political systems that already achieve gender equality. Collectively, these game-changers, along with their supporters, lead the way in achieving balance.

IWD is an inspiring movement celebrating the achievements of women past, present and worldwide, reminding us of the disparity in gender equality that still exists within society. This day of celebration is certainly relevant to us here at Big Group given the strong representation of women within our teams!

It is a day to reflect and consider how fortunate we are to be part of a workplace that not only provides an opportunity for our careers as women but more importantly a safe working environment free from sexism, discrimination, harassment and inequality. We have a wide range of policies both legislative and internal to ensure we continue to support a diverse and equal workplace.


A day that inspires solidarity amongst the sisterhood also encourages us to learn more about the women who make The Big Group tick, the movers and shakers who bring their A-Game to work every day. Introducing just a few of our female faces… 

Lizzie Wagner,
Designer at The Big Group Creative

Lizzie Wagner

Tell me a bit about what you do
I’m an event designer at The Big Group Creative. I specialise in working with brands on activations, installations, events and large-scale builds. I love what I do, and never actually knew a job like this existed until I was doing it!

Did you always want to work in Design?
One of my earliest childhood memories is getting giant rolls of butcher’s paper, lying them on the floor and designing entire neighbourhoods. I would design and draw out floor plans of each house on each road until I filled the whole roll of paper. So naturally, I studied interior design at uni and always thought I was destined to create homes for people. Fast forward a few years, having finished uni and worked in interior design, I found it a little too slow and too technical for me, so made a side-step into event design and have never looked back. It’s fast-paced, constantly creative, you have to be organised and good at problem-solving, and it’s different every single day.

Is there a female that inspires you in your career? Who and why?
My mum inspires me in many ways, but especially in my career. She is an author and publisher who started at the bottom and has worked her way to the very top, but more importantly, she is a fair leader, an inspiration to many and a born-creative.

What advice would you give to a young female considering a career in Design?
Some advice I would give a young female considering a career in design would be to shake hands, remember names and be ready to work your a** off. Stand up for yourself and stick to your guns, but understand that design is subjective, so to be a successful designer, you have to be open to change. Most importantly, you are only as good as your suppliers and the people you work closely with. Treasure and nurture those relationships, even in the most hectic times. At the end of a project take a step back to admire and reflect on the finished product with all the people who helped you get there. (And don’t burn yourself out!)

Lisa Bolle
Head Chef at The Big Group

Lisa Bolle

Tell me a bit about what you do
I am in charge of the menu writing and creative direction of the big group kitchen. Work closely with event managers to execute all types of events from major events such as VRC to a perfect private dinner for 12. Have financial responsibilities and a team of chefs to support.

Did you always want to work in Hospitality?
I grew up in the kitchen at home, always next to my grandparents, aunties and uncles cooking. Every chance I had I was next to them, I even built my own imaginary kitchen in the garden, I used old pots and pans I would pretend to be in service, baking mud cakes ( out of actual mud haha I was only 6 years old ) I just loved it. But I didn’t realise it could actually be a career until I was older, I got a job as a kitchen hand when I was 16 and one night they put me in the larder section and it was the happiest I felt in ages and from then on I knew I had to be in hospitality.

Is there a female that inspires you in your career?
Bo Songvisava, she is the chef behind Bo Lan. I admire her passion for her local cuisine and the history behind it, the respect she shows those recipes and the traditional methods still used to create her dishes. She also uses organic and sustainable ingredients, working closely with local farmers and producers which I  think is so important.          

What advice would you give to a young female considering a career in Hospitality?
Do it because you love it. Everyone’s story is different and everyone’s path is different, we tend to get caught up that being a chef means you have worked at a Michelin starred restaurant but as amazing as those restaurants are, they are not for everyone. So whether your dream is to own a Michelin star restaurant or make the most sensational burgers ever, just make sure you’re doing it because you love it and not for the approval of others. 

Jazmin Jammal Ladkani
Pastry Chef at The Big Group Creative

Jazmin Jammal Ladkani

Tell me a bit about what you do…
I make and create all things sweet in the pastry kitchen and partake in menu development, mass production of cakes, tarts, eclairs and everything in between. I also go out on-site at major events and take part in making and presenting the desserts to our clients. 

Did you always want to work in Hospitality?
Absolutely! I knew from a very young age when the only thing I truly had care and passion for was food! I excelled in Food Tech and Hospitality in high school, which paved my pathway to where I am today as a pastry chef. I love the precision, creativity and science behind patisserie, its artistic ways motivates me to consistently develop and grow as a pastry chef. Most of all, I love to see the reactions on people’s faces when they taste my creations, it is the biggest driver for me.

Is there a female that inspires you in your career? Who and Why?
There are quite a few females in my industry that inspire me to be a better chef, but if I had to pick one, it would be Kirsten Tibbles. She is recognised as one of the leaders in the industry that thrives on development, upskill and consistent growth, empowering women in the hospitality industry. She has motivated me to take on those values and implement them in my current career as a pastry chef. I have done many of her courses and gained a wealth of knowledge and technical skills from her that I am currently applying in my everyday job at TBG and at home as a wife. 

What advice would you give to a young female considering a career in Hospitality?
This might sound cliché: never give up and keep persevering. Hospitality is definitely a tough industry and it’s not for everyone, but you have to let your passion drive you to be the best of the best, to push you through the bad days and lead in pressured moments. Those hard days will hold you in good stead in the future. Be yourself, the industry can be very intimidating at times as well. Never be afraid to show your personality through your work and your products, after all, that is the beauty of my job.

Kate Langford
CEO at The Big Group Creative

Kate Langford

Tell me a bit about what you do
I’m the CEO of this fantastic company. Every day I work on exciting projects with talented people who are like-minded in their approach to delivering on excellence. We talk about the business and the challenges we face and we drive for solutions. 

Did you always want to work in Management?
Absolutely. Leading and building teams into delivering super successful outcomes is what inspires me. The greatest motivation for me is contributing to that success.

Is there a female that inspires you in your career? Who and why?
There are a few. I’ll start with my mum. I worked with her as she led her own hospitality business, and I’ve never had a tougher boss. She taught me about resilience and striving to be the best. Secondly, we have luckily had the opportunity to be mentored at The Big Group by Sally Capp. She gives plenty of honest feedback and is always consistent, passionate and fair. Lastly, I’ve worked alongside many fantastic females as colleagues and friends and they each and every day have inspired me.

What advice would you give to a young female considering a career in Management?
Come to work each day, not despite the challenges, because of them. Communicate consistently and constantly. Always know that you can be better and that’s what drives creativity and mastery.

Jill De Los Santos
Finance Manager at The Big Group Creative

Tell me a bit about what you do…
I am Responsible for the financials of the TBG Group.  Produce financial reports regarding business/investment activities to assist with the decision making of the directors and management.

Did you always want to work in Finance?
Yes, I worked in hospitality first at a hotel as a gaming/bar attendant then got a job in the finance team of the hotel while studying at university.  I was always interested in business and finance.

Is there a female that inspires you in your career? Who and why?
Sally King – she doesn’t know it.  Sally King was my previous director for over 10 years (oh no!!! everyone will soon find out that I’m not young)….She is humble, shares her knowledge, she’s seen me through some really tough days during my career and consistently gave me invaluable advice and encouragement.  Her mentorship, guidance & encouragement helped me to build my confidence to face difficult client situations and think outside the box.          

What advice would you give to a young female considering a career in Finance?
The relationships you build throughout your accounting career will play a big part in your personal and professional growth.  Always treat people with respect and be humble. 

“As the head of The Big Group, it gives me great pleasure to write about International Women’s Day.

So what is a “head without a neck”?!

The company has been built alongside women from day one, and our workforce today comprises of over 75% women who are essentially the neck and backbone of our business. In our industry ideas are currency; amazing ideation only comes about when we look at an opportunity from various perspectives, and I cannot imagine a world where any person’s voice, based on gender, is not heard.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women in my life.”

Bruce Keebaugh
Founder of The Big Group

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