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Spotlight on our Leaders

Women to the Front: Spotlight on our Leaders

Here at Michael Hill, we’re fortunate to have an incredible team of women who are supported at all levels of leadership and in all types of roles; from our Board and Executive Group to our retail, corporate, distribution, and manufacturing teams.  In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re shining the spotlight on some of our amazing female leaders from a range of departments. Get to know some of our great team and what it’s like behind the scenes at Michael Hill!  

Ange Hardy – Diamond Inventory Manager  

“The diamond industry is predominantly male oriented, therefore I had to work extremely hard ... I have certainly challenged many stereotypes over the years!” 

How did you get into this role, what took your interest?  

I was working for a small jewellery manufacturer in Whangarei, New Zealand, which had a close connection to Michael Hill’s jewellery manufacturing workshop. I was moving to Australia and was so impressed with the talent in Whangarei that I contacted the manager of the Brisbane workshop as soon as I arrived. We were a small team of six people back in 1991 so I started out buying loose diamonds and coloured gemstones for our 14 Australian stores, along with working on the final polish and plating of our jewellery. My fingernails have never been the same since sadly!  

Over the years I have been so lucky to be involved in diamond buying for the company on a huge scale and to have travelled to key Diamond Centres around the world. 

What does #ChoosetoChallenge mean to you?  

#ChooseToChallenge means so much to me, as the diamond industry is predominantly male oriented, therefore I had to work extremely hard to be taken seriously in my role as a Diamond Buyer. I have certainly challenged many stereotypes over the years and am so proud of my accomplishments. It is so important to strive for gender equality, as women are such a driving force in this world. 

Do you have a favourite jewellery range or Collection here at Michael Hill? 

I love The Michael Hill Solitaire as it is so versatile and looks amazing on, with so many diamond sizes and qualities available. It is a truly classic engagement ring.


Shaz Gaffar – IT Service Desk Manager 

“Although women in IT wasn’t common 20 years ago, I was always encouraged to pursue my interests, regardless of gender.”  

How did you get into this role, what took your interest?  

I have always had a passion for technology (geeky I know). Understanding and learning new systems and technology is always fascinating and fun!! 

Although women in IT wasn’t common 20 years ago, I was always encouraged to pursue my interests, regardless of gender. 

At Michael Hill, our Retail environment is rapidly evolving, and in my role I am very fortunate to be part of a team where we are provided with these opportunities, work with some amazing people and deliver cutting edge technology to our customers.  

What do you think is important to reflect on during International Women’s Day?  

It is important to recognise the contributions made by all leaders - men and women, as we guide the economy through a global pandemic. 

Do you have a favourite jewellery range or Collection here at Michael Hill?  

Evermore is my favourite Collection, I love the timelessness and uniqueness of this range. I have an Evermore ring that I always receive compliments on. 


Jo Matthews – Chief People Officer 

“I take a pause point and think about all the wonderful women and their supporters who have made a difference to me.” 

What does your day-to-day at Michael Hill involve? 

My day-to-day at Michael Hill is hard to describe but multifaceted is one word that comes to mind! My role involves so many different aspects but one aspect that is common to all I do is ‘people’. I get to interact with so many amazing people. As the leader of our People function and a curator of our culture, my goal is to create the most exceptional team member experiences.” 

What do you think is important to reflect on during International Women’s Day? 

International Women’s Day is an important global event where collectively we draw attention to gender parity matters and celebrate the achievements of women. For me, it’s personal. It’s the one day in the year when I take a pause point and think about all the wonderful women and their supporters who have made a difference to me, those who have influenced or assisted me to become the person I am today.  

Do you have a favourite jewellery range or Collection here at Michael Hill?  

It’s difficult to choose but my favourite is Spirits Bay. I love the story of strength and achievement that sits behind this collection and I love the designs of the Spirits Bay pieces themselves.


Phil Colgan – Group Visual Merchandising Manager 

“As a mum of two girls #ChooseToChallenge is so important to me. I want my girls to dream big, believe they can and they will.” 

What does your day-to-day at Michael Hill involve?  

My day-to-day role transforms and evolves to meet business needs. A typical day in (or out) of the office will include catch-ups with my team, collaborative brand and campaign planning meetings, mood boarding and brainstorming creative briefs for in store visuals and product displays.  

Each day offers new challenges to solve and opportunities to grow…and for that I am grateful. 

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #ChoosetoChallenge. What does this mean to you?  

As a mum of two girls #ChooseToChallenge is so important to me. I want my girls to dream big, believe they can and they will. Our favourite saying at home is ‘the happiest girls are the prettiest girls’. When women support each other anything can happen! 

Do you have a favourite jewellery range or Collection here at Michael Hill? 

My jewellery collection consists of mostly minimal gold pieces. At the moment I love to layer, mix and match chains with fine details, gems, diamonds, etc. I usually keep my favourite piece on (gold & diamond horseshoe) and build from there.  

Saying that, I am totally in love with our new zodiac collection coming soon (sssshhh you heard it here first – the joys of working behind the scenes here at MHJ!!) I’m also loving the on-trend pieces from our new brand, Medley – I’m wearing some for my photo today.

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