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SIA Safety Leadership Forum Wrap-up!

The Safety Institute of Australia had their first Women in Leadership forum on the back of the annual conference this week. I was lucky enough to head down for the forum on Thursday and was not too sure what to expect. I wanted to share with you some of the key speaker messages, if you couldn’t make it, please have a read through the article. Firstly, I loved it! It was a room full of amazing women, and MEN! It was a day of growth, connect and learning.

First we heard from Jodie Deakes from SafeWork NSW. Needless to say it was a super engaging start to the day. Jodie was talking about her own doubt on her ability to lead the new strategic direction for SafeWork NSW and the journey to where it is today. The new direction for SafeWork NSW was taken from the intensive consultation period with different industries and different regional areas. Head over to the NSW WorkSafe Roadmap 2022 for a read! They want to be the regulator of choice and continually pushing the limits of new and engaging consultation. One message that really stood out though, was taking the time to reflect on your achievements. We may doubt ourselves in the beginning, but we always manage to push through, so its important to reflect! Thanks Jodie!

Kicking into the morning we heard from Christine Nixon, former Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Police. Christine was challenged her entire career that she ‘couldn’t’ do it, yet her determination and courage meant she rose above the doubters to be the first female Commissioner in the police force! High five! Christine raised the point that we all have men in our lives – Dad’s, sons, brothers etc that need to all take up the challenge to promote females and encourage them to challenge their limits. Christine also posed an amazing challenge to us all – do NOT change to our environment. Be authentic and be YOU!

As a change of pace, we were lucky enough to hear from Nicole Eckels, the owner of Glasshouse Candles! As I type this I have the soft scent of one of her beautiful luxury candles in the room. Nicole faced some challenges growing up in New York City then moving to Australia to be the first to introduce us to the scented candle industry. Nicole told us she is not feminist, and is more a believer that we need to be ‘pro-business’. If we make business decisions with diversity of thought and the diversity of people, we will make better business decisions. Valuable lesson for us all! Thanks Nicole.

Now, our next speaker is a world-class fashion designer, and you may wonder how that can help us safety professionals! Suzi Derbyshire is a powerhouse of knowledge at QUT and shared with us that our world is in a state of constant, disruptive change and the fashion industry manages to adapt quickly, and we need to think more like designers to keep up with the change! To keep up with this disruptive change, we need to be imaginative, be curious, be observant and look for trends. Have your ideas, but don’t fall in love with all of them. Share your ideas and don’t be afraid to try new things! Are you prepared to create the change, adapt to the change and manage the change as it happens? Thanks Suzi so much for challenging our adaptability.

Have you ever wondered how micro expressions could tell you a lot about how your messages are being received by your colleagues? Alan Stevens, the celebrity profiler was here to tell us just how easy it can be. As someone who is renowned for my micro expressions and my face wears all the expressions, it is something that I have to be conscious of in meetings. Alan said there are universal expressions to be aware of and we can learn so much from these expressions! Get reading on it today!

Now, one of my favourites of the day was hearing from the Business Olympian, Mr Gavin Freeman! Gavin is an engaging professional who is the author of the recent book ‘Just Stop Motivating Me’. Gavin worked with many of our fantastic Olympians and has aligned some of these practices to the office professional. I loved the concept of those who are motivated to avoid failure as opposed to those who are motivated to succeed. Those who are motivated to avoid failure are those like Lance Armstrong – he knew he had to win to keep sponsorships, fans and keep his status. Do do this, he had to avoid failing so he saw drugs as a way to do this. Rightly or wrongly, he was motivated to avoid failing. Those who are motivated to avoid failing have lost their WHY! For me, I have to always remember my WHY because it can be difficult to keep working hard and striving to be better. Do you know your WHY? Have you kept it in check so you are working to SUCCEED?

Then, a very important time – LUNCH! Meeting some amazing people from different industries. Thank you to the amazing people who reached out and chatted. If you haven't joined Women in Safety, now is your time!

After lunch we had some calming moments with Alex Bowen. Alex was teaching us how to be more resilient, how to play hard but ensure we build recovery into our lives. I think what Alex had to say really resonated with me as I often find it difficult to swap between my Safety professional role and then to the Founder of Women in Safety. On top of that, I still have the house to look after, a family and a life to enjoy. Learning resilience is important to the success of all of them!

Sheri Mikus lead us into the end of our event speaking about creating genuine engagement to drive change. Some of her key tips were back yourself, stay true to your values, when one door shuts another opens and BE REAL! Define your 30, 60 and 90 day plans and include opportunities to discuss feedback. Sheri changed the topic from ‘zero harm’ to ‘everyone has the RIGHT to go home safe’. This would drive conversations to create stories, not statistics and create genuine safety partnerships. Sheri – your approach is inspiring and I think we can all take some of it onboard.

Finally, but certainly not least….Kelly Lovely from the SIA. Kelly is challenging ALL of us. She is challenging us to step up, connect, engage and change the way our profession has been seen. Kelly raised the concept of having Male Champions of Change and the importance of the men in our lives stepping up. We need to find the men who are prepared to help support women in their challenges. Kelly agrees that we are not there to take a man’s job, but certainly drive diversity in our workplace. Kelly, you are a true advocate for change and I support your drive to create Male Champions of Change! Keep up your amazing work.

So, as you can see, the day was full of passion, support, conversations, challenges and great people.

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