Women To Watch: Xero’s Penny Elmslie

Women To Watch: Xero’s Penny Elmslie

At B&T, We are staunch believers that every woman and her achievements should be celebrated, every day and always.

However, unfortunately, the achievements of women often go unnoticed. That’s why we launched our annual B&T Women in Media Awards – to recognise the amazing accomplishments of women across the marketing, communications and advertising industry.

In honour of our WIM Awards, we’re chatting to industry powerhouses; women we should all be keeping an eye on — women to watch. Today, we are hearing from the Xero director – brand and community Penny Elmslie.



I think B&T’s Women in Media Awards is great platform to celebrate and amplify the ‘quiet achievers’ who are making a genuine impact – for the benefit of their current and future colleagues.

One person who has made a genuine impact on my life is my mum, Anne Sutherland. After three kids, she went to university as a mature-aged student and became a clinical child psychologist, building a successful and engaging career.

As a result, I never questioned my right to have both a rewarding career and being a mum. Professionally, I have been greatly influenced by Jacinda Ardern. She makes me proud to be a compassionate woman who is simply ‘doing the right thing for the right reasons’.

Reflecting on some of the biggest impediments to equality in the workforce, I think it boils down to women not assuming that they are equal and, as a result, not demanding the same time, pay and recognition as their male colleagues. The day we can stop talking about equality is a good one.

I’m proud to say Xero Australia’s managing director, Trent Innes, is an amazing champion in this space. He is often the one who brings the topic to the table with thoughtful insights and practical solutions. I like that his approach is not just a token effort to champion equal rights, it’s just good business.


Quickfire questions

B&T Women in Media partner Bauer Media recently launched their Financially Fit Females campaign to improve the country’s financial literacy.
 Do you feel financially Fit? What advice would you give younger women to make sure women are getting paid what they are worth?

I’m lucky that I work in an industry surrounded by accounting and bookkeeping professionals, with a product that gives small business owners an equal playing field to understand their finances so they can grow their business. So, for me, access to financial education and salary benchmarking tools is easy. Having the guts to apply this to your own personal or business finances – or pushing for that well deserved pay rise – is when the magic happens.

What’s a little something everyone can do today that could potentially make a massive change in the struggle for equality?

Have the emotional intelligence to understand everyone’s approach to championing equality, diversity and inclusion may be different from your own, but their intentions are coming from a good place.

If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?

I don’t think we can make this a top down ‘obey the law approach’. I would prefer it’s a grassroots movement that starts in schools, tertiary and younger workers where women are supporting women to all lift together.


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