Q: How did you get started in the industry?
A: I was fortunate enough to get my first job at Qantas where I spent a further 12 years in various roles within the Qantas group.
Q: Why do women make up the majority of those working in the events industry?
A: At the risk of generalising, I have always felt that women tend to multi task well and for some reason, women are drawn to careers that require that ability. Event management requires that ability without doubt, along with passion, desire and a sense of fun. Who wouldn’t want to work in the events industry?
Q: Given there are so many women in the industry, how does motherhood change the way people work?
A: Every minute counts from the minute you become a mother. You learn very quickly to maximise time when you have it and be as productive as you can be. You become very disciplined and structured very quickly to make it work for your personal and work life. Being a working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of your divided attention, so focusing on a plan, getting organised and finding the right balance is a priority.
Q: How have you balanced motherhood with your career?
A: My children are now teenagers and I can’t say it has got any easier – it’s hard. You have to love what you do and that’s how you make it work. If you don’t love coming to work every day then it’s just not worth it. You have to also learn to accept that imbalance is sometimes unavoidable.
It’s a constant juggle but you have to work for a company who allows you to be a mum when you have to be, without guilt. I rarely missed a carnival, presentation assembly, mother’s day morning tea or anything else that came up – I even went on canteen duty occasionally! Those events are too important to miss and if your company doesn’t value it then they just don’t get it.
Q: How do you motivate yourself?
A: I get my motivation from making a difference to the people around me. My biggest accomplishments at work have come from seeing people who have worked with me going on to head up some of the cievents global offices, and other senior roles in the company. If I played just a small part in their growth and success then it’s a reason to continue to do what I do.
Q: How do you motivate those working under you?
A: Those who know me know I am very authentic and really care about the people around me. I have always stayed true to who I am no matter how senior my role. Building trust and developing my team to be the best they can be is what matters to me and my team know this.
Q: How important is the company culture in maintaining a work/life balance?
A: Companies that create cultures where employees feel comfortable having some control over their own work hours reap the benefits. At cievents we are committed to continuing to look at ways which we can support our staff and give them flexibility. ciFlex was an initiative we introduced some 18 months ago to offer hours that support more work/life integration. This is just one initiative and a small step in our pursuit to offer more flexibility.
Q: Australia has seen rapid growth in the events sector – what would you like to see more of in the future?
A: With this rapid growth, where technology appears to be at the forefront, there is opportunity for better integration between technologies. I would also love to see more integration of events within the overall marketing strategy of business. The power of live events as a communication tool, brand experience and sales driver should not be underestimated. As a society we crave to be part of a community, be part of something, this is no different in business and a well thought out strategic event can move mountains!
Q: One piece of advice you would give to your younger self starting out?
A: Be brave, take risks!