Davina Mansfield is the Chief Operating Officer of Viden, a UNSW Canberra Launch on Northbourne Collaborator. Having faced multiple challenges in her career in the Royal Australian Army Dental Corps, and now a Defence spouse and veteran, Davina considers herself a “MacGyver” across multiple industries (cyber security and defence to name a few) with a can-do attitude. As a Soldier On Australia Ambassador, Davina is passionate about veteran employment and mentoring – a role she is proud to be a part of.  

How do you – or would you – overcome challenges in sectors that are traditionally perceived as male oriented?  

I would rephrase to; how to thrive in your chosen sector! I don’t look at gender or industry – I love Defence Industry – I am passionate about the work we are doing and I care immensely for the Veterans, family members whom we employ or mentor. Skills and ability are the core components – keep showing up! 

Resilience, competitiveness, willingness to try and try again, positivity, class, motivation and the ability to build relationships.  

Motivation: you can’t purchase it or steal it. You just have it.  

I like to believe that motivated people who want an outcome keep showing up and are continually learning (personally and professionally). It takes time to prove yourself; it doesn’t just happen overnight.  

How do you maintain resilience in the workplace?  

Look after yourself! No one else has it as their priority – it must be yours. 

Body – Exercise or move, and fuel it correctly. 

Head – Understand how you act and react to stress. Get to know yourself so you can implement tools to assist with your ability to prioritise. 

Heart – Authenticity and heart. Be unapologetically you, but also know your own boundaries. This will keep you safe and your heart will always guide you. 

Each organisation I have worked in I have always found “my tribe”. Some are mentors, peers, colleagues, or bosses. Learn from others’ leadership styles – the good and the bad. 

What advice would you give to your younger self (or other young women) about leadership? 

Be good at your job and be a good person. Build relationships and have cheerleaders who are on your team.  

Absolutely nobody has it worked out when you are starting out – be authentically you and have integrity (especially when no one is watching!).  

Education and skills are critical – keep learning. Micro-credentials, courses, conferences, mentors, these all are invaluable, and the world is always moving. You must keep yourself relevant and a finger on the pulse.  

Dream big, work hard, and stay motivated. No one will hand it to you. Dreams are real and you must work for them. 

See more International Women’s Day profiles:

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Dr Fiona Buick
Emma Baulman
Jean Dinco