This time last year I had been made redundant from a fantastic projects team, as the entire project got a big red button put on it. We did see it coming, but it never makes it easier knowing you will be finishing against your will. From there, and the 12 months post that day, so much has changed.
I wanted to share just some of the highlights and lowlights of 2016 as it serves as a reminder to myself and what might 2017 hold for me, Women in Safety and the broader safety industry (in my opinion):
The start of the year was a scary moment, when will I get a job! Despite great networks, January 3rd was always going to be a tough time searching for a job. I was on a lot of trains to the city to meet up with recruiters, colleagues and industry professionals to try and understand the market and where did I fit into that market.
Along that journey I was fortunate enough to meet Dr Catherine Ball (not related)! Catherine opened my eyes to prioritising my life during this turbulent period and treating my job search as my full time job. Setting a schedule certainly kept me sane. Cath also taught me to read – not from a book store – from the LIBRARY! I stopped purchasing books and signed up to my local library. Simple pleasures! Since meeting Cath, she has continued to inspire me all year with so many fun projects, achievements and moments! Thanks Cath for making such an imprint on 2016.
February rolled around quickly and I got a job! I started with Energy Developments on a 6 week contract, 10 months later and I am still here (one slight desk move later). It has been a challenging year whilst new owners of the business settled in, and more recently a new CEO. Energy Developments (EDL) also introduced me to my safety soul sister! Some people cross your professional and personal life for a reason, and Victoria has taught me so much this year. Thanks Vic!
Early on in the year we had the first of four events for Women in Safety. Lea Slade, someone who has been in my professional life for over 10 years was our guest speaker. Now the General Manager for Health and Safety at Murphy Pipe and Civil, Lea entertained the audience with the ups and downs of her own stella career. Lea – always a pleasure and great to see you attending other events this year!
From a safety space we started to see interesting changes in the industry and the way regulators were operating. We saw prosecution under a breach of the WHS ‘consultation and communication’ requirements, we saw Police involvement on a number of sites and a Director of a Company charged with Manslaughter for a workplace incident. All round I think we saw a number of changes from the Regulator and the way they are interacting with workplaces. From my own conversations with Regulators, it was clear to me that they want engagement from a positive angle and consultation rather than prosecution. Too soft or not soft enough?
July I was announced as one of the finalists in the Women in Industry Awards for the work being done with Women in Safety, and then again in October in the National Safety Council Excellence Awards. Although I didn’t technically win either of the awards, I see it as a huge professional win, and one I am extremely proud of.
I was extremely lucky to be invited to attend the first SIA Women in Leadership Forum in Sydney on the 8th September. The room was buzzing (not just with conversation) with inspiration, renewed energy and a real interest in doing safety differently. The connections made and the circles of influence ran deep. This was a great initiative an a great place to further the leadership we need in the safety space! This leads into the Women in Safety Sydney event in October.
The kick off to Sydney was a great milestone and was well received by all. I was extremely lucky to have Deanne Boules, who has been such a huge advocate of Women in Safety for so long, sponsor the great event and help make sure Sydney had the same safe place to connect, grow and learn within our great profession. The people who attended were so vibrant, engaged and genuine in their desire to communicate and learn from each other. Deanne – loved it, THANK YOU!
On the work front I started on my leadership coaching journey. Sometimes I think it is hard to reflect internally when we have so much stimulus around us. To say I have learnt more about myself this 12 months than the past 21 years (of course I am only 21) is an understatement. I think we could all use the time to reflect, take stock of where we are, what we have achieved and the opportunities for development. We must continue to learn.
Skip to November 15th and I got to meet someone who I have admired for a very long time. I was so honoured when Dr Kirstin Ferguson said YES to speaking at the final event for Women in Safety this year. I think the very clear message she gave to all was that its never easy, but we have to keep trying. We have to believe in what we do because at times, others wont believe in us. I promise to you Kirstin that I will always believe in my work, and the reason I started! Will you all take up that challenge in 2017 with me?
I wanted to write this as a reminder to myself, but also as a thank you to some of the amazing people I have met in 2016. It was been a cracking year, with cracker conversations and I hope you stay safe, stay well and stay honest well into 2017 and beyond! Let’s continue to be safety leaders, generate conversations and create genuine connections. Thank you to you all for helping me in 2016!!
Separate mentions to a couple of others…..
Alan Girle, without your support, cocktails and words of wisdom, most of the above wouldn’t happen! Thank you Sir!
My Mumma – she wont see this but she is an amazing support and couldn’t have done a lot of the things this year without her!
My darling Jacob – he is my anchor when things get crazy! I could not be where I am without you standing beside me every step!
Here is to 2017!!!!
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