I always wanted to be a flight attendant, I thought it was a very glamorous role in the sense that the hostesses always were well presented, spoke very well and got to travel the world.
Absolutely without doubt working in the US. I love the way of life and the people. They were very accommodating and welcoming and made it very easy at both at a professional and personal level to acclimatise to living in California. Someone told us before we left that the people you meet on your first ex-pat assignment are your friends for life, and I truly believe that. And as the song goes, “I left my heart in San Francisco but I still call Australia home.”
Two key lessons come to mind. Firstly, you are only as good as your team. The more senior you get it’s not necessarily about “doing the doing” yourself it’s about leading others to follow you and believe in you and what you are trying to get the team to achieve. I definitely learned over time that it’s about the people, the team and the structure. Secondly, to build relationships before you need them. I continue to enforce in my leadership team that the more senior you get in an organisation, it’s all about relationships. If you build relationships and you’re in a position of trust with someone it’s much easier to influence an outcome, in a more efficient and timely way.
I think confidence is a big one. Sometimes women need others around them, and not necessarily other women, to believe in them and push them. It’s well documented that when a man and woman are going for a role, the man will look for all the reasons why he can do the role while a woman will look for reasons why she can’t, from a skill or capability point of view. I think women need to look up and see a role model or someone they can relate to, or aspire to be. We are lucky at TWE to have some senior women leaders such as Megan Collins and Michelle Terry, and many others in senior leadership positions in our organisation what we can look up to.
First and foremost the people. I really respect the team that we have at TWE. Starting with our CEO Mike Clarke and the senior leadership team as well as my team. I really like the people and I’m really passionate about the industry and the brands. I have a strong belief that with the right focus we can deliver or achieve our goals. With good brands and good people, I believe we have a great future.
Have a goal. I talk to a lot of women and they are not sure what they want to do and that’s okay, but I think there is a point in your career where if you really want to get to a senior leadership role, you need to have a goal and believe that you can achieve that goal. Which comes back to confidence. If you don’t have a goal that you want to achieve in the organisation and something you are working towards, then you are more reliant on others putting those opportunities in front of you. And that happens from time to time. But I also believe that I knew I wanted to lead a large team and work in a broader role and I was making those aspirations known across the organisation.
Having spent 2 and ½ years in the US, definitely some of our Californian red.