Mar 29, 2017

Throw yourself in the deep end and get uncomfortable. This is the only way to learn.

By Adabelle Hall, Account Coordinator, Howorth Communications

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some inspirational female leaders at YWCA’s Women who have shaped Industry event in Sydney.

Having recently joined Howorth fresh from university and on the cusp of my own career journey, I was looking forward to getting some valuable advice from a line-up of highly respected women.

We were welcomed by Anna Bligh, the CEO of YWCA and previous premier of Queensland, and facilitator, Lisa Messenger, CEO of The Messenger Group and Editor-In-Chief, Collective Hub.

The panel of speakers comprised women who came from what many would consider male dominant industries – aviation, sport and banking. They included Kerrie Mather, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Airport, Leisel Jones OAM, Australian Olympic Gold Medallist and Co-Founder, All I Sea and Catherine Livingstone AO, Chairman, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The women were asked questions that included, ‘outline the best and worst decisions you’ve made as a leader?’, ‘what does leadership mean to you?’, ‘how has technology shaped your industry?’ and finally, ‘what one thing would you do to create gender equality in business?’

The conversation and advice was poignant and frank. The speakers discussed the importance of creating the best environment for women to work in, and how the certainty you have in yourself and in your abilities, will define the decisions you make.

Kerry Mather outlined that, in order to lead, you must be courageous, authentic and positive. You must take initiative and have conviction to back yourself.

The messages these women conveyed were powerful, but perhaps the one message that I will walk away with and remember for the rest of my career was from Catherine Livingston. She simply said: “You want to be in the deep end” and continued, “if you don’t feel like you’re in the deep end, you should get uncomfortable. Putting yourself at risk is where you learn.”

New to an industry like technology communications, which is fast paced and forever changing, the deep end is where I have started. Knowing this is the ideal place for me to test myself, learn about myself and hopefully get the best out of myself, I am excited!  As such, I must have the conviction to lead, which has motivated me not to worry and instead set my sights higher. Putting yourself out there is the only true way to learn.