Season 4 of The Leadership Lessons is officially coming to a close, and we’re bringing you one final episode recapping some of our favourite moments, and lessons from women who featured on the podcast.
This week, our host Shirley Chowdhary speaks about two overarching themes that have come through in the episodes this season, including how women have navigated challenges they’ve faced, like discrimination, and what our guests believe leadership should look like in the decade ahead.
“Often, we can underestimate what the world looks like from the perspective of another,” Shirley Chowdhary said, in reflection of this season.
“What does it feel like to experience the world as a First Nations woman? As a woman from a culturally or linguistically diverse background? From the perspective of a woman who lives on or below the poverty line? Or even as a woman trying to lead a business or an idea in our modern world?”
The podcast explored all of this in season 4, and we’ve pulled out some quotes below from our guests, talking about their challenges, and the leadership they’d like to see. As always, thanks to Salesforce for making The Leadership Lessons possible.
Sharon Chuter, founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty
Sharon Chuter let us in on how she had to work doubly as hard as many of her colleagues when she worked in the corporate world in order to prove her worth and ability.
“It’s ok to be average, and be a person of colour. You don’t always have to be spectacular. Sometimes this sounds controversial…but the burden should not be on us to be successful in corporate life. Why should I have to work an 18-hour day and my colleagues work 8 hours? We should all work 8 hours, and whoever is a star, is a star, regardless of your race.”
Young Indigenous woman Madison Howarth spoke about what it meant to her, when she heard Brooke Boney introduce the news segment on Triple J, with a greeting, “Yama”, in her language.
“Hearing someone say hello, in language, on a station like Triple J. It was like – finally. We’re hearing something of our languages being shared. It’s really important. And it was done in a way that was just normal. She would just say it, so that people heard it every day.”
Mikaela Jade, CEO of Indigital
Mikaela Jade reflected on what it’s like to be a female, Aboriginal leader in the STEM sector, and shared some of the challenges she’s overcome along the way to build her company.
“We’re a minority of a minority. It’s very rare to see women in STEM, it’s very rare to see Aboriginal women in STEM. Something that gets frustrating as a CEO in this area is, if I have a male with me, people still want to talk to him about business decisions.”
Professor Raina MacIntyre, expert in infectious disease
Professor Raina MacIntyre shared her experiences of being overlooked at work, and in the media, in favour of others who are less qualified.
“There’s a lot of efforts to pull you down and to elevate people who are not as qualified. I call it white washing, which is where there’s huge efforts put into making you invisible.”
Turia Pitt spoke about why she’s sees the pursuit of happiness as essential to living an optimal life.
“Happiness is not really a sought after goal for a lot of people. I think most people think it’s a little bit trite. It seems kind of insignificant when you compare it to other really great aspiration out there. I really think someone who is happy most of the time, is generally more productive, more energetic, more focused.”
Kirsty Chong, CEO of Modibodi
Kirsty Chong spoke about normalising menstruation, menopause and miscarriage in her workplace through implementing separate paid leave to cover these issues for her employees.
“So many people, who are experiencing physical and mental pain in relation to a very normal monthly problem, being menstruation, or menopause…and then miscarriage. I didn’t feel it was right that you have to use sick leave in the first place. Part of our mission at Modibodi is to open conversations around bodily leaks, menstruation and women’s health.”
Nina Mapson-Bone, Managing Director of Beaumont People
Nina shared her insights on how she led the introduction of a four-day work week for staff at recruitment firm Beaumont People.
“Everyone participated and we came up with productivity guidelines by role. So we knew if you were meeting those guidelines, you could quality. You could get paid for 5 days, and take a day off as long as you were still meeting the outcomes. It’s all about how to do we continue to twist the dial to improve.”
Feminist leader Wendy McCarthy shared some of her hopes for the future, including achieving equal pay, and improving women’s health outcomes.
“I certainly want to see equal pay and equal pay is something that a lot of people use a lot of weasel words about. We’ve had endless inquiries into how to achieve equal pay. It actually isn’t that hard. I also feel strongly about women’s health and safety, and that includes domestic safety and the public health system.”
Mariam Mohammed, co-founder of MoneyGirl
Mariam talked about her experience when she first arrived in Australia, and why it’s so important to have representation for people of colour in the media.
“When I came to Australia, and I looked at the Australian media and it was so fricken white. Every time I saw a brown face I was like “yes!”
“If there isn’t representation than what you’re counting on is a few individuals who see a vision for a different world and will therefore push through those barriers regardless. But that’s a lot of work on those individuals…we can’t expect all people to have that level of clarity and vision and resilience. If they don’t see it, they’re not going to believe they’re able to do it.”
The Leadership Lessons, is a Women’s Agenda podcast made possible thanks to the support of Salesforce. You can listen here, or subscribe via iTunes or Spotify.