So this comment from Grace made me think about whether my decisions at work (including the job choices I have made) have cast this shadow beyond the corporate world and into my family home; and whether this has had a positive or negative impact on my three children. It is something I’m sure many parents, explicitly or not, would have thought about.
The issue is parents have such a profound engagement with their children there is a deep, abiding fear of disrupting the status quo by taking on a big promotion that involves relocating or requires frequent travel away from home. And there are few female role models from whom women can learn.
Yet when I asked Grace about this, she told me that the times our family had relocated for my work had taught her to be confident and take risks herself. She told me that relocating challenged her status quo. She told me she now knows you have to seek out new and different opportunities - and you will be successful if there is good planning and support behind you.
And even better than that, it is clear she has no doubts she herself will be successful. She passionately believes talent and ability are gender neutral (despite what she sees in the public eye). It’s great to see her creative determination, motivated by being shown how to dream big.
Hannah, her 16 year old sister also has big ambitions. She has seen my career has flourished with hard work and commitment. She too demonstrates hard work and commitment in her approach to her studies, sport and her well-articulated aspirations for herself.
Personally, the experiences of being a career woman, making the transition to a stay-at-home Mum, to re-entering the workforce part time, back to being a career woman again has been an evolution for our family that has worked. Why? Because we approached each change with good communication and 'buy-in' and I think we work as a team to ensure everyone in the family – my daughters, my 12 year old Thomas. My husband - is successful and happy.
It’s this approach that helped give us the courage to back ourselves to relocate out of Sydney, to regional NSW, then to Mildura and then Melbourne, as well as take on my current role as chief of staff to our CEO Mike Smith where I travel extensively.
I took to heart Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick’s advice on being a role model for others and demonstrating how it can be done.