With over 80 years’ experience, Iplex has an excellent understanding of the challenges the water industry faces. Iplex’s experienced and knowledgeable team actively works and collaborates with customers and the industry to provide safe, secure and innovative water solutions today and into the future. Iplex is helping to solve Australia’s water industry challenges by placing women at the forefront.
Donelle Jones is the Head of Marketing, Innovation and Customer Experience at Iplex and has been with the company for seven years.
Prior to joining the water industry, Jones held sales and marketing roles in the FMCG and B2B food service industries. This granted her the opportunity to gain great experience in customer service focused problem solving, strengthening the skills she has developed over her 25-year career.
When an opportunity arose with Iplex Pipelines allowing her to be based in Brisbane alongside her family, Jones was more than happy to make the transition into the water industry. At Iplex, she could leverage her sales and marketing skills within the pipe manufacturing industry.
Jones explains to The Australian Pipeliner that her proudest moments working at Iplex stem from her role as a leader and motivator.
“I always feel the proudest when I have been able to create opportunities for others to succeed, develop and grow,” she says. “I have been fortunate in my career to have been supported in that way, and I continue to try to find ways to help others move forward in their careers.”
“The pipeline industry in Australia has such an important purpose. The industry helps manage one of the most precious resources we have on this planet; water. The movement of water is simply essential to the survival of the human race. In the pipeline industry, we have such an important role to play in supporting the broader water industry to move this resource to where it is needed.”
“Whether it is needed for transporting fresh water for drinking or crop irrigating or moving wastewater to treatment plants or managing stormwater capture and movement, the Pipeline industry has a very important role to play,” says Jones.
Being a woman in such a male dominated industry is a challenge, says Jones, but it can be aided by an improved balance in diversity of all kinds.
Thankfully, times are changing.
More and more opportunities are being created for women to come together and discuss their position in the industry, granting the chance to develop systems and networks of support. Moreover, there are opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences and to discuss common challenges women still face. “The current topic of discussion around imposter syndrome is a great example, where this common experience, felt by many women has at last an opportunity to be discussed openly,” says Jones. “I think it helps to empower women and provide greater confidence through shared knowledge.”
Paula Keinzley is the National Customer Relationship Coordinator at Iplex and has been with the company for over 19 years. With a total of 25 years of experience in the water industry, Keinzley has seen first-hand the industry’s shift to being more inclusive and diverse.
Keinzley began at a smaller PE fabrication company but was always interested in learning more about the range of products and various market segments within the water industry. It was a natural progression for Keinzley to make the transition into a role with Iplex where she has since established a strong foundation of knowledge and experience.
There are several things that Keinzley are proud of throughout her longstanding career in the industry, both personal and professional achievements. That being said, the most meaningful to her are the relationships she has forged with people at all levels of the business.
Having been in the company and industry for many years, she has been motivated and driven by many different factors. Currently, admits Keinzley, her motivation lies in her enjoyment of the work and environment. On a daily basis, she is challenged to be better and affect the journeys of those around her in a positive way.
“Many of the people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in this industry have encouraged me to grow, learn and most importantly, share these learnings with others. That’s been my greatest influence, being open to learn and to always share what you know,” says Keinzley. Fast forwarding 20 years, Keinzley is now excited for the future of women within the industry.
“Traditionally, roles within operational, technical and management functions were male dominated,” she says. “It’s wonderful to see more women in these roles, showcasing their expertise and knowledge in our industry.”
While there is a lot to learn and understand about the industry, Keinzley believes that it’s worthwhile for the opportunities that can be afforded to anyone, especially women, who give it a go.
“I would still say that many see women’s roles in this industry in an administrative capacity,” she says. “Changing this perception needs to continue.”
Innovation has always been at the core of Iplex’s approach, and the business is proud to have pioneered numerous new technologies into the Australian water industry. Likewise, while there is a long way to go before reaching true equality within the water industry, Iplex is striving to lessen the divide by uplifting the women within the business and giving them the opportunity to further themselves and their careers.