On the eve before Australians celebrate Father’s Day, I wanted to pay tribute and honour roles men have played in shaping my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the male champions of change in my life.
The day, I went public with my business, I received a phone call from an ex-boss, Grahame.
During the years I had worked for him, he advocated for me. He pushed me to think bigger and to take leaps when I wasn’t ready. I still remember the day, he told me I was getting promoted. He told me there were people more qualified than me, who had worked longer than me but he was giving me the opportunity because he knew what I could do with it.
He called me that day to offer me a job. He said, while he knew I wasn’t going to take it, it was reassurance that I would make it on my own. That act gave me so much confidence and propelled me in my new journey.
For seeing the potential in me, I am eternally grateful.
In a small coffee shop, I sat with Nick.
He wasn’t my mentor at the time, just a businessman I met at charity function which when we spoke, we hit it off. He asked me what frustrated me. I was working as an executive recruiter and saw first hand how little female representation on the top.
As we started talking, his questions pierced me as I realised that I was hitting my own glass ceiling. He journeyed with me as I lay the foundations of my business. As a mentor, he provided me with the unbiased point of view, the questions that only a thought provoking mentor would ask. He was instrumental in my personal development. He taught me how to question, think outside the lines. He helped me draw out what was already there; he helped me find my voice.
With Nick, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today.
Twenty plus years ago, my father started a Church in Perth. He has brought his passion, his business acumen and his heart to serve the community.
Today, he speaks around the world, has two campuses, a Chinese ministry and a community focused role. Over the years, he has always been there for me as a Father and more recently as my coach.
Recently after one of my speeches I was approached and asked: “Where did you train?” They had been attending Toastmasters for years and had been taught to count the number of ums in a speech.
I was horrified. I’ve never thought about umming before! “How many did I do?” I nervously asked….
None. She was blown away that I didn’t have formal training.
But I did, for twenty plus years, I’ve heard my father preach just about every Sunday. Every time I have a speech, he coaches me. And that’s not all, from the legalities of starting a business, to how to best serve the community I’m passionate about, my father has been my coach.
I am equipped to do what I do today because of him.
Seventeen years ago, I met a guy who changed my life, utterly and completely.
Over the years, we have journeyed together through life’s ups and downs. When I’ve fallen, he has been there to help me up. He has stood by my side, every single day. He has loved me well and helped me be the woman I am.
On days I’m not the best mommy, he makes sure he puts out extra love for our girl. On day’s I’m rushing around hitting deadlines, and he picks up the slack. One of our friends always jokes, why he can’t commit in advance to a fishing trip and his response, I never know what Phebe’s schedule is like. I’ll work around her commitments.
For those who haven’t picked their partner in life. Make sure you pick well because, with the right one, you can do almost anything.
My husband enables me to be the woman I am.
These are the amazing men in my life who have helped me in my career and now my business. There are equally women who have helped shaped who I am today, but that is a story for another day.
Today, I wanted to say, to achieve diversity we need to include both genders.
I believe in the power of human potential. All around us are people who are genuinely willing to help you. Your task is to identify them and connect with them. Sometimes it may be in a formal setting, through a company sponsorship or mentorship program. Sometimes you may connect with a business or career coach.
Whatever it may be, seize the opportunity, but promise one thing…. You will do the same in return. You will use your skills, your experiences, your strengths to help empower and enable someone else.
Pay it forward and help change someone elses world.