Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 — Sign up for Intensive Executive Workshops on 17 & 20 March

A key factor that drives the success of any organisation is its leadership. What makes leadership most impactful is the leaders’ attitude to serve, support and nurture their people. This creates a culture of high performance, which contributes to the growth of the organisation and its people.  

Announcing Authentic Leadership Summit 2020’s highly interactive deep-dive sessions with premier executive coaches. 

The Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 (17-20 March, Sydney) is a 4-Day gathering of Australia’s top CEOs and MDs who will help you develop authenticity, openness, and trust to lead successfully. 

Get the full information on Authentic Leadership Summit 2020. 



After becoming one of QANTAS’s youngest female marketing executives, Ellenor spent 20+ years as an Emmy and AACTA award-winning film producer, and CEO-Founder of her production company. She delivers coaching sessions on management up-skilling, career progression, and communication mastery. 


In this half-day workshop, Ellenor will guide you along a simple but in-depth path to identify your values, lead with a higher purpose, and build high-performing teams. By the end of this workshop, you will learn how to — 


  1. Identify the organisational values of environments where you thrive 
  2. Act on your values and use them to make difficult decisions as a leader 
  3. Determine the links between your greatest career milestones and job satisfaction 



Author of the Amazon best-seller A Servant’s Heart- Leadership That Inspires and recipient of the 100 Top Training and Development Minds Global Award, Arpan is on a mission to inspire and empower 20,000 or more leaders by 2020 so that they create a culture of innovation, excellence and collaboration. 


Arpan’s session is about how to institute the values of Servant Leadership to address problems such as lack of engagement, low productivity, customer dissatisfaction and staff turnover. Learn the proven strategies to — 


  1. Boost your credibility as a leader to become a trusted advisor  
  2. Remove blind spots that hinder your effectiveness as a leader 
  3. Apply the servant leadership principles to everyday scenarios  



Oliver brings 20 years of research experience from prior roles at AMR (Australia) and Harris Interactive (New York and Sydney). One of Australia’s leading experts in reputation measurement and managementOliver is a member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society and has served the Board of Moriah College.  


The Reputation Institute has recently published research showing that while previously leaders were judged by the community on their capability, there has been a shift to the public regarding a successful leader as one that shows good character. In this half-day workshop, you will learn how you can steer the reputation of your organisation  by — 


  1. Understanding key reputation drivers and trends in the Australian and global markets 
  2. Defining Reputation Measurement and KPIs and how companies are using those  
  3. Building reputation for B2B companies and the link to social license


After a successful career leading high-performance teams in the investment industry, Phil set up his own business, guiding people, projects, and partnerships through collaborative challenges. He has worked the big stages and boardrooms, including basketball courts and the back of Bourke (literally). So be warned, you are in for a highly interactive and engaging session with Phil. 


Learn how to create a culture of collaboration in your workplace by shifting mindsets, building a positive and psychologically safe environment, and connecting your people’s work with tangible outcomes. Other learning outcomes from this session — 


  1. Shift from hierarchical to collaboration-based structures 
  2. Unpack and resolve the challenges of working together 
  3. Adopt a 7-step process for maximising group success 


Check out the Authentic Leadership Summit’s Key Speaker Lineup for March 18 and March 19 

RESERVE YOUR SPOT for Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 Workshop Sessions.

Authentic Leadership Summit 2020: Day 2, March 19 Speaker Lineup

Learn purposeful and meaningful leadership from Australia’s top CEOs and MDs 

Now more than ever, companies are judged by the strength of their reputation and character. Business leaders are challenged to go beyond performance and aim to achieve a higher level of trust to win customers and attract and retain the best talent. 


The Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 (17-20 March, Sydney) is a 4-Day gathering of Australia’s top CEOs and MDs who will help you develop authenticity, openness, and trust to lead successfully.

Presenting the impressive key speaker lineup for Day 2, March 19. 

“Failure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you to see if you have what it takes to see it through.” Join Markus for a rare insight into his creative process, particularly his thoughts on failure, and the universal insights that we can derive from it.  

Visionary leadership requires asking the right questions of the right people to make sure that they support you on your mission. In this keynote, Steven will examine the importance of strong communication in the execution of organisational strategy and revenue growth.  

The modus operandi that has driven Katrina’s rise is the refusal to get bored in a role and to seek and accept new challenges actively. Her session will focus on how all leaders need to say yes to opportunities for growth, even when they may be outside your comfort zone.  

KFC is built on a rock-solid culture and on the strength of its brand to carry the same energy and ethos globally. Roger Eaton joins us to explain how authentic leadership drove the organisation from strength to strength.   

Tom Rogers has been a leader and an advocate for leadership education his entire career. Having been appointed recently for another five-year term as Commissioner of the AEC he continues to lead the organisation to deliver the Australian citizen’s right to vote. 

Under Scott’s leadership, Sunsuper grew from $24B with 1M members in 2014 to over $72B and 1.4M members under management to-date. In his session, Scott will outline how to cultivate authentic organisational values to drive reputation and company performance.  

Carlton United Breweries has seen a series of ownership and market changes, not to mention the changing tastes of the Australian public. Peter will talk about how a strong culture can weather uncertainty in corporate activity and market forces.


If you’ve ever worked for a successful start-up, you’d know that it involves wearing many hats and fast-paced growth and ensuring that your people are supported to thrive in this environment. Karen joins us to show you how you can deliver great results by helping others reach their true potential.  

Previously the President of BMW Group India, where he continues to serve as chair, Vikram will outline strategies gleaned from his years of experience to ensure your people are supported and empowered to succeed. 


Check out Day 1, March 18 Speaker Lineup


First-in Tickets are on sale now. Reserve your spot today. 

Get the full information on the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020. 

Authentic Leadership Summit 2020: Day 1, March 18 Speaker Lineup

How “Real” Can You Get in Business? Know What Leading with Authenticity REALLY Means


More than ever before, employees are gravitating towards companies and leaders with a clear sense of purpose and direction. It has become a well-worn trope around business circles, and we’ve all heard big talk about “keeping it real,” but do we understand what it means?


Back for its fifth year, the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 teaches you how to lead with a greater purpose in the contemporary business climate. It is a carefully curated, 4-day program focusing on the core tenets of Authentic Leadership and how you can employ its principles in your organisation to drive better business outcomes and make our world a better place at the same time.

We are thrilled to announce the impressive speaker lineup for Day 1, March 18 of the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020.

Currently Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Ita balances this high-profile role with advancing the cause for Dementia Australia, Macular Disease Foundation, Arthritis Australia, and Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Understand the roles leaders should play in building consensus for solving future challenges — climate change, technology, and socio-economic issues   — that our nation and your organisation will face.

Learn about the Agency’s work to improve health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, including the national expansion of the My Health Record system.

Australia’s leading banks are facing a massive and very public task of rebuilding trust. Mike Baird addresses the organisation’s current position and what it is doing to ensure a bright future for its customers, employees, and shareholders.

In recent times, confidence in both public and private sectors have fallen sharply. Judy’s keynote will help us to connect the dots between working with communities and rebuilding trust in public and private institutions.

Damien firmly believes in purpose-led leadership through daily demonstration of values-driven behaviours. In this session, Damien will outline his leadership journey and how he aims to apply these principles in his role leading AIA Australia and New Zealand.


As the ultimate decision-maker for the online retailer’s growth, partnerships, and strategy, Tim knows what it takes to ensure this e-commerce Titanic stays on-course. He will be sharing what he’s learned from his years of experience in this exclusive keynote.

Authentic leadership for Ümit is about understanding the needs of your people and your organisation while being adaptable to the contemporary business climate. In his keynote, he will talk about the value of authenticity and servant leadership while respecting and maintaining professional and organisational comfort zones.

NIB’s ultimate goal is to “shift away from being a sick care company, towards being more of a healthcare company.” In this session, Mark will explain how steadfast company values and shared purpose drive organisational success.

First-in Tickets are on sale now. Reserve your spot for the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 today.

How to Lead Authentically and Build a Better Business

The Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 returns for its 6th year in March – a 4-day event where you will discover programs with real-world results about leading with integrity, trust, and openness. 


The decision to move toward authenticity is a step in the right direction. Building trust begins by giving followers an understanding of what goes on behind closed doors. 


In a competitive environment where secrets are guarded closely, an open and honest approach to business can gain considerable favour not only with the people in your organisation but with the public-at-large. 


You can look at every aspect of your business to see what could be made better by transparency and honesty. But first, some self-examination is needed to start your journey towards leading with authenticity – 


As a leader, how honest are you with yourself?  

Are you aware of your biases? How about your emotional triggers? Are you making a conscious effort to take them out of the equation? How do they impact your everyday decision making


As a business owner, how transparent are you? 

What is your relationship like with your stakeholders, employees, audience and customers? Are you connecting with them in an honest and meaningful way?  


5 Key Actions You Can Do Today To Start Leading a Culture of Authenticity


1. First, take a moment to self-reflect 

As a business leader, you are under enormous pressure to make many tough decisions every day. Constantly remind yourself to step back and check – are you worried? Fearful? Angry? Self-awareness lends clarity and perspective for important decisions.  


2. Invite honest feedback 

Soliciting feedback is the first step to inspiring your team to keep it real at work. A good rule of thumb for starting a culture of candor is – Don’t dish it if you can’t hack it! 


3. Rule with transparency 

It costs almost nothing to practice transparency. You will see vast improvements in team cooperation when you break down barriers to communication. This means sharing information freely, keeping them in the loop and letting them know that it is safe to speak up.  


4. Listen to your customers 

Make it a priority to ask your customers what is important to them and how you can serve them better. You may worry that by being honest with customers, they will leave you. On the flipside, customers who appreciate your candor will trust you and stay with you for life. 


5. Own your mistakes, no matter how painful 

The radical approach to owning a devastating mistake is to admit responsibility and then ask for feedback. It’s like asking for more pain after crashing. Taking awful, humiliating feedback is sometimes necessary to get on the path of recovery and success. 



 The bottom-line 

Leading with authenticity is simply better business. The most loved companies are not only forthcoming but are open to brutal honesty from their followers because they know how critical that feedback is to their long-term success. 

Discover the insights and hard-earned lessons from an impressive lineup of speakers by reserving your spot for the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 today. 

Women in Leadership Summit 2019: What We Learnt

For those of you who attended the Women in Leadership Summit last month, or WILS as we call it, I’m sure you’ll agree that as predicted – 2019 was our best yet. Keynote speakers Carrie Bickmore and Alannah Hill didn’t disappoint and actually unveiled more than expected about their personal leadership journey and the struggles they face to this day.


Over 35 inspirational women took to the stage with me. I personally thank each and every one of them for their honesty and willingness to share not only their success stories but also the times when things haven’t gone to plan. Let’s face it, we’re not perfect and it’s refreshing to know that some of these women at the top of their game have been in the same place at some stage of their careers and life in general.


Ann Sherry AO, Former CEO and Chair of Carnival Australia opened the summit, which for me was a career highlight, and something that has been in the works for many years. Her speech really set the scene and cemented our theme for 2019, Take Action. She instilled in us all to not get caught up in the perfection trap, take risks, be active for change and use your voice to climb the ladder and pull other women up with you.


A popular speaker at all of our summits, Marnie Baker, Managing Director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank focused on influence and the shadow we cast as leaders. She reminded us that how we act, what we say, how we measure outcomes and what we prioritise all influences what gets done, or doesn’t, and most importantly how people respond to us.


Angela Mentis, CEO of BNZ challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and to actually find a way to embrace it. From now on we all need to put our hands up whether we’re ready or not, set the narrative to eliminate assumptions and be consistent to gain trust.


I really enjoyed Erica Berchtold, CEO of The Iconic, who opened with the fact that the phrase “women can have it all but not at once” irritates her, I feel the same. As a working mum, her advice to create your own normal is something that has really stuck with me since the conference and I hope it has with all of our attendees. Let’s let go of the guilt of being a working mum and remember that our normal will become their normal.


Confidence, collaboration and conviction is what helped Kendra Banks, Managing Director of SEEK along the way. While Susan Martin, Managing Director from Johnson & Johnson Medical inspired us all to think about our monologue and what it’s telling us and to move to constructive dialogue. We all have that inner voice that seems to try and sabotage us at the worst possible time, its only us who can change it and actually hear it, so it’s time to stop.


I could write a book based on the stories, tips and advice our amazing speakers shared. If you missed out on joining us this year, don’t worry we’ll be back in 2020. To close out the year it’s not too late to book tickets for our Executive Leadership Summit being held from the 26-29 November. Key speakers include, Mark Bouris, Todd Sampson, Kendra Banks and Suzy Nicoletti to name a few. See the full program, line-up and secure your seats here.


Rewriting the Playbook: Meet Australia’s Power Businesswomen

Announcing The Empowered Woman 2020’s Speakers

Chosen for their ability to drive change, the women speaking at The Empowered Woman 2020 represent the diversity within Australia’s business landscape – disruptive entrepreneurs and high-level executives, as well as those transforming legacy businesses.

Regardless of their backgrounds, these women are defying stereotypes and changing the way business is played. Presenting the key speakers of The Empowered Woman 2020.



Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton started Sass & Bide as a stall on London’s Portobello Road Market. Growing the brand into an iconic Australian fashion label meant that Sarah-Jane needed to raise her game as a leader. Her presentation will focus on leadership strategies to develop empowered, high-performing teams for a fast-growing business.



Sandra tackles social problems that collide with business interests as a global executive. The gender pay gap is one such problem that when solved can create a win-win situation across the board. Her keynote focuses on addressing this issue by teaching women how to determine their value and negotiate a fair deal.



Business maverick and book author Justine Troy knows all about building a brand that makes the world sit up and take notice. Her talk will center on the power of resilience in business – learning how you can power through doors being shut in your face and come out swinging!



Pippa belongs to the third generation of Baché women to hold the position of CEO at Elle Baché. The company has bold beginnings when Madame Elle Baché dared to wax her legs in one of Australia’s most loved stores, David Jones, to get her product stocked. Since then the company has grown to 150 franchise locations. Pippa will be discussing the benefits of being bold and finding your authentic self.



Eliza took over leadership of All Saints Wine after the unexpected passing of her father (the previous CEO). She was three months pregnant, had no real understanding of how to do the bookkeeping and was surrounded by people doubting her ability to keep the organisation afloat. She experienced a steep learning curve and now successfully runs the company. She’ll be talking about this journey and how you thrive when thrown in the deep end.

Power Discussions

The Empowered Woman 2020 will also feature power women executives who are transforming organisations with their unique brand of leadership in a lively panel discussion.



Reserve your spot for The Empowered Woman 2020 to ignite your passion for business in all its forms and acquire the skills to achieve your dream career.


My Leadership Journey – Dana Lightbody

If I put a dollar in my savings account for every time someone asked me when my leadership journey began, I’d be driving my dream car by now – a Tesla 4×4 for anyone who’s interested!


My undergrad degree was Psychology, so given my interest in the motivation and drive of others I should have known that one’s leadership journey starts much before you are ever bestowed the title by your organisation and handed a team to lead. I believe there is a major misconception that you are only a leader when you’re at the top of your game or have succeeded in becoming the head of a global organisation. Reality is, we all have the ability to be leaders, no matter what stage of life you are at or what your job title is.


For me, leadership is about being authentic and remaining true to who you are, all the time and I wish I had of known that younger when I was trying to be everything I thought my superiors wanted from me. Authenticity for me translates into knowing my own strengths and being able to harness them to bring out the best in other people. In my business, leadership is about ensuring everyone knows where the company is going, they are clear on the mission, vision and values and how their role plays a significant part of the organisation as a whole. It’s about having difficult conversations which drive people to be more passionate, driven to be their best and to be accountable to themselves and others. As my hero Brené Brown says, ‘integrity is choosing courage over comfort.”


It’s not easy! As a Founder and Director, the hardest thing for me to learn about leadership was to step back from the day-to-day, something I think all business owners struggle with. I had to let go and allow the team to take care of the necessary tasks so I could focus on more important goals in terms of growth and scaling, whilst still holding the team accountable for delivery.


My proudest achievement along my journey would have to be the release of The Leadership Institute in 2017. A sub-brand of my parent company Konnect Learning, our mission was to really shake up what people think of when they think of conferences. Our institute stems from my belief that great leaders only learn from other great leaders, so our programs are strategically designed to be a place for great leaders to share their stories and educate the new generation.


Coming up in March 2020 we will be hosting The Empowered Woman, a one-day experience to ignite your passion for business in all its forms – so you have the skills to achieve your dream career. Be inspired by personal stories of success, learn from intimate tales of failure, harness your ambition to make it happen. Our headline speakers confirmed include Sarah-Jane Clarke, Justine Troy, Suzy Nicoletti and Van Le. Get in early and book your tickets now!


Steering the family business into the age of technology

Steering the family business into the age of tech

Sitting down with Pippa Hallas is a bit nerve racking. Pippa is not your average CEO. For a starter she’s the grandniece of the company’s founder and namesake, Ella Baché and she’s the third CEO in her family. That’s a lot of pressure. She laughingly says, “the first generation makes it, the second one maintains it and the third one blows it.” Having been at the helm of the 65-year-old family owned business for 10 years, clearly, she is far from blowing it.


But it hasn’t been an easy journey. Her entry into the company came after making a career for herself in marketing, both here and overseas, and it was while she was back in Australia after a stint overseas that a role in marketing opened within the family business. Her last name and her entry into the company made a lot of people nervous. That very famous last name, synonymous with the brand itself went against her. “It was probably the hardest few years in my life in terms of working. It completely went against me. I just created a lot of fear inside people for all sorts of reasons that wasn’t my intent, it was just my last name.”


A short three years later, Pippa was promoted to General Manager, a move which created even more discord within the company. She states it was a difficult time and credits surrounding herself with people who believed in her and her vision for the company as what got her through. “I created my own tribe as they say and brought my own people in and made sure people were aligned to me and believed in my vision, and believed in me.”


By the time she was promoted to CEO, just a year after the General Manager appointment, she concedes it wasn’t other people who held her back. The board had placed complete faith in her. It was her own sense of self-doubt, her own incarnation of imposter syndrome. “I was really comfortable with the head of marketing title that I wore. But as soon as you said CEO, I just felt like an imposter so it probably took me a good three to four years to really feel confident that I could wear that title without being an imposter.”


As I listen, I think about how confident, down to earth she is and how accomplished she is in her own right, there’s nothing about her that would lead me to think she’s ever had a moment of self-doubt. Here is a woman that took the helm of a family legacy and steered it confidently into a sea of change and did it with conviction, to me it looks as though any sign of self-doubt has been firmly left in the past.


“I just felt like an imposter so it probably took me a good three to four years to really feel confident that I could wear that title”


Ella Baché was established back in the 30’s by its namesake Ella and Pippa’s grandmother Edith in a time when women didn’t work, let alone get university educations and start skincare businesses in foreign countries. Being bold and taking risks is clearly etched into Hallas’ DNA. She speaks of both women reverently, with respect tinged with awe at their achievement in a time when women were ‘homemakers’ long after the children left home. “Ella and Edith (are my inspiration) because they were so ahead of their times. Ella, for example, went to university. She wanted to be a doctor, at a time where no females were allowed to be doctors, so her fate took her down the pharmaceutical route and graduated as one of the only women, back in the turn of the century. She had an arranged marriage which she ran away from, so she constantly had to keep re-inventing herself. If you talk about empowerment, she empowered herself to live here and design her in life, which was very rare for someone of that ilk.”


Coming from beauty industry royalty, and a family dynasty that dates back 65 years, might lend itself to laziness and entitlement, but clearly Hallas has felt none of this. “I think growing up in a family where work and hard work is one of your values, I just think that you don’t even think about it, it’s in your DNA.”


Hallas is no stranger to hard work. The beauty industry in 2019 is a different beast to what it was 20 even just 10 years ago. Competition is fierce and the pace of technology rapid and pervasive. The pressure to look younger is ever present for women. “Innovation is probably how I spend half of my time, whether it’s working with different people on new treatment innovation, new techniques to treat the skin, new products, new ingredients, new ways of doing things, new ways of communicating, new ways of teaching people because we run a college. So, we’re constantly looking on our future.”


“I think growing up in a family where work and hard work is one of your values… you don’t even think about it, it’s in your DNA.”


Hallas’ vision doesn’t just stay focused on her work. Creativity and thinking out of the box are clearly what her years in marketing has brought out in her. There is no clearer example of her vision than her support and encouragement for a then 16-year-old Jessica Watson, the youngest woman to sail solo around the world.  The company, her peers and contemporaries all discouraged the idea, but Hallas stuck to her gun and sponsored Jessica and her boat, aptly named Ella’s Pink Lady on her journey. “At the time everyone thought she was mad, and we were mad. I fortunately saw something in Jessica, which people who didn’t know her so well just didn’t understand. I knew, the good Aussie tradition that someone deserves to be backed and have a go. That’s the approach we took and before she even started, I had the media and everyone ringing me, telling me how stupid we were. But that moment when I was seated on a boat when she sailed back into Sydney Harbor and the whole world was watching her, it was awesome, and that was a risk that paid off.”


“One of my greatest lessons was learning to say no… if it’s not an amazing yes, then it’s a hard no.”


I wonder what it would have felt like to give a young girl her dream and to really boost her accomplishments in the world. It reminds me that Hallas herself is a mother to two young children, 7 and 4. I bring the conversation back around to how she balances the pressure of being a CEO with the demands of a young family. It is no surprise that she, like every parent, struggles to balance the two. “I don’t prescribe to work-life balance because I think it’s a lifestyle that we choose to do. One of my greatest lessons was learning to say no. I’m one of these people that suffer bad fomo. I’m always like, yeah, I want to be involved, but I’ve really had to learn if it’s not an amazing yes, then it’s a hard no, and there’s nothing in between because my diary’s so important and if I’m not here, doing things that really matter than I should be with my kids.” I am impressed that Hallas has dispensed with the idea of balance because I feel the term implies that there can be separation of both in order to have contentment, satisfaction and success in both. The more we talk the more I feel she is a truly modern leader.


Hallas also knows that to survive in her industry and indeed to thrive in it, she needs to be at the forefront of both leadership and technological change and it’s not just a matter of automating process and that’s it, she also knows she needs to be an adaptive leader. “You, as a leader have got to be able to constantly learn about these new areas, whether it’s artificial intelligence, or machine learning or whatever… you’ve got to pick the right things for your business, and know where to automate. And then on the flip side you need to get the best people around you that can do the stuff that computers can’t do… being a good leader and getting the best out of very different people and building a great team.”


It’s hard not to be impressed with someone who understands that the most important part of technological advancement is to lead people through it and to bring them along the journey. It’s clear her emotional intelligence levels are high. When asked she explains she thinks that this is the advantage of being a woman in the workplace, the years of being encouraged to use and express emotional intelligence rather than to shy away from it.


“I think women have an advantage in a way because a lot of it is emotional intelligence and the ability to work with so many different people. I heard very recently that for the first time there’s four generations in the workplace, so we have to be able to adapt to all different types of people, to engage them and influence them and bring them along the journey. So, I think only emotional intelligence is going to get you there.”


I know that I have only just scraped the surface of her journey and her story, and I look forward to exploring more of her thoughts, and the thoughts of other great female leaders, at The Empowered Woman 2020.



Written by Dana Lightbody, Executive Director, The Leadership Institute

What is the difference between a manager and a leader


Many of us think we are leaders but are we really just managers, juggling a million balls at once?


Managing a team, family or even your circle of friends can be a challenge in itself, however, leading them is a totally different story. A great leader is also a coach, a mentor and a sponsor, and as they say it doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right training and skills it will happen.


Ask yourself these questions…


Do you feel that you regularly share your knowledge and expertise with your staff and peers?

Do you think the people around you feel empowered by you?

Are you the go-to when there is a problem or tricky situation?


If you answered yes to all of the above, then I’m pretty sure you’re already leading your own tribe without knowing it. By taking your leadership qualities and approach from an informal relationship to a more formal approach, you will not only take your own career to the next level but will also inspire those around you to climb the corporate ladder with you.


So, what’s the difference between coaching, mentoring and sponsorship you ask?


Coaching is bespoke and generally a one-on-one tailored program developed for an individual for a defined period of time, with specific business goals in mind.


Mentoring can be both informal and formal. It’s flexible in the fact that as the needs of the mentee changes, so can the guidance and knowledge provided. In short, it’s a supportive relationship designed to develop the mentee to their fullest potential.


Sponsorship on the other hand, is using one’s power to influence others and in turn support the growth of the employee or individuals in situations where a little weight is needed.

  1. Create a space where ideas and input are valued; if you had all the answers to all the questions you would be god and not a good leader. Input is essential.
  2. Don’t tell. Ask questions, ask for input about why someone is executing a task a certain way and what they hope to achieve – most of the time they know the answer they just need confirmation;
  3. Be open about the vision and bring your team along with you; often I am surprised that they team are just as excited to reach goals as I am. There’s no I in team but there is in win.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your leadership journey and empower others to do the same, then join us in Sydney this month at the Women in Leadership Summit with Nell Wilson, from Nell Wilson Executive Coaching, for our workshop on Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsoring Women. Tickets available here.




Why work/life balance is a myth


Guest written by Ellenor Cox

Do you think a man would ever be asked in a job interview when he was planning to have children or how he’s coping with his work/life balance?


The fact that these questions are still commonplace in the workplace to have our female C-Suite leaders rolling their eyes with frustration, and our aspiring female leaders shaking their heads in quiet desperation.


From an early age, young women are told that we can have it all – a successful and rewarding career and a loving partnership and family.


Often this perception is accentuated by women leaders who portray themselves as being able to achieve this balance whilst masking a reality that has them only just holding on by the tips of their fingernails and stretched far too thinly across too many expectations…expectations that are often self-imposed.


In an attempt to play like a man in a predominately male world of leadership, women often compromise on their inherent values and leadership styles in an attempt to fit in or be seen as capable.


There needs to be franker and more authentic conversations taking place by women, with women and for women on uncovering these unhelpful myths and normalising strategies that can cultivate more authentic leadership styles and more heartfelt and open discussions around the work/life balance conundrum.


In the lead up to this year’s 4th Women In Leadership Summit in Sydney, some of the keynote speakers recognised this need for authenticity and offered their thoughts ahead of time.




Claire Rogers, CEO of World Vision, was blunt in her assessment. ‘’Balance’ is an unhelpful word. It conjures up life and work as two separate things we have placed on a set of scales that we’re constantly trying to keep in equilibrium. It doesn’t work like that,” she said.


Similarly, Chelsea Bonner, Founder of Bella Management says: “This whole idea of balance makes me laugh. It’s the golden carrot hung in front of you to supposedly keep you motivated. I live in the real world and all I want is a happy productive life yet human life is a messy, crazy, happy, terrifying ride. As they say, the only constant in life is change.”


Marnie Baker, MD of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, takes it a step further.


“I was told that women could have it all, a successful and rewarding career, a loving marriage/partnership and family, and a working environment that encouraged this balance. The fact is, we can’t have it all. It is an unfair expectation that is placed on women.”


Rather than there being a universal set of foolproof strategies, what becomes apparent is the importance that these C-Suite women have all placed on being clear with both themselves and those around them; focusing on what’s important to them personally and then giving themselves the permission to dedicate their attention to these matters.


This doesn’t result in a perfect balance but if you love what you do and your career aligns with your values then as Marnie puts it, “your work becomes a very different experience and is one part of your life that connects with and supports the other parts.”


Ann Sherry, Chairperson of Carnival Australia, sums up the main gist of this conversation by succinctly stating that the “trade-offs always have to be made”.


The thing to keep in mind here is to never trade off what you value and love, as the balance you may find will be nothing more than a temporary (and hollow) victory.


Where the opportunities do lie instead are in fostering the skills around mastering honest and direct communications, embracing the vulnerability that comes with the uncertainty of initiating these challenging conversations, and ultimately, holding firm on value-related boundaries.


So let’s ditch the work-life balance question and instead be asking in interviews: How do you nourish yourself as a person and not just as a worker?


This concept and many other great topics will be explored in detail at The Women in Leadership Summit in late September. Click here for more details.