1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello, it's so great to meet you all online! I'm a change and leadership consultant, career coach, speaker and facilitator for people and businesses going through turbulent times. It's really easy to remember my name - Theresa, because it's like Mother Teresa.
You know I actually used to get teased about that when I was younger and if you were to meet me in person you might notice how calm I am in a crisis or people will tell me how soothing my voice is. I think it's part of the reason why I'm very effective at what I do, and how I help people overcome their challenges in being made redundant, finding their dream job, discovering their purpose or becoming the kinds of leaders who inspire those around them and live in alignment with their values.
I was never a likely candidate for leadership, speaking or success. Born on tiny Christmas Island during a cyclone and the closure of the phosphate mine (the island’s main industry) my mum will say that of her four kids, I had the toughest childhood. Experiencing physical and sexual abuse, bullying and isolation in school, the death of my best friend, anxiety and low self-esteem I was a quiet, shy and depressed child.
When I was 15, I left my family home and moved to Perth, Australia. From growing up on a remote island with a small town mentality to moving to 'the big city' on my own, was a huge adjustment. The collective impact of these experiences and many others allowed me to develop qualities of resilience, adaptability and drive. I believe it’s so important for us to live outside our comfort zones, to be brave and do things we’re afraid of or have never done before. This is how we grow and develop our ability to live with passion and purpose, to contribute back and discover more of who we are. Life is an incredible gift!
2. What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first job was at a fish and chips shop on Christmas Island! I remember it well, I was 11 years old and wanted to earn some pocket money so I could go to the movies and buy some snacks! I walked up to the owner and talked my way into a job and negotiated a $6 per hour as my wage (which was $1 more than the shop assistants were getting across the road hehe). The owner paid cash in hand but sometimes was a little dodgy and would try to 'forget' to pay me, or would tell me that it was quiet so he only wanted to pay me half for those times, or that he had no money and would have to pay me next time! It was a really good lesson in standing up for myself and asking for my worth.
3. How did you decide and get to your career today?
I studied Journalism at Curtin University in Western Australia but then switched degrees and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion. Over the course of my career, I continued to learn; Project Management from the Australian Institute of Management, a Certificate IV in Mental Health, a certification in Educational Activities from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. I love love love discovering and developing my ability to be an ordinary person achieving extraordinary results and helping others do the same! I've been fortunate enough to be thrown into the deep end in a range of diverse projects with government, non-government, not-for profit, social and commercial businesses. From working with prisoners and ex-prisoners, blood-born viruses, eHealth to education programs, Aboriginal Health, education and consulting, training and facilitating, marketing and sales and hospitality and events.
Over the course of my career I've faced redundancy four times - going from anxiety and fear to learning to thrive and appreciate the opportunity inherent in challenges. I've also faced some of the toughest challenges in leading and managing teams and discovered what it really takes to achieve seemingly impossible targets. What do you do when you start to lead a team of people, none of whom trust each other, through the establishment phase of a new company? What happens when people aren’t showing up and failing to get their work done? When you’re faced with high turnover, burn-out, redundancies, lack of trust and poor communication? I've lead groups of people with all those issues and more and created committed, fun and purpose driven teams, who have shown up even when they had been made redundant and out-performed on targets at every quarter.
Having been through all of these experiences and seeing how easily people - myself included, can forget to treat each other kindly, respectfully and as fellow human beings led me to start my own business. My mission is to help grow leaders who lead with their hearts and use their heads- not necessarily with intelligence but with wisdom to create better, kinder and fun work environments which supports high performance and achievement.
4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?
I would tell my younger self to invest in yourself and do it early. Buy the program if it's a match! Also always make sure you get a return on your investment, track your progress, reflect often and set big goals for yourself, your relationships, your life and get to know yourself deeply and well. That way you know what you bring to the table, where your weaknesses lie and you develop your skills and mastery in trust, leadership and communication early- which are essential life skills.
5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?
I believe that as human beings we are limitless so I'm going to dream BIG!! In 5 years time, my goals are to be self-made millionaire, best selling author, to be speaking on stages all around the world and living and working in other countries. Regardless of how my external world changes, internally in 5 years time I will be kind and loving, surrounded by loved ones, staying humble, doing the work and whatever it takes and always be in the practice of contributing back and doing meaningful work I love.
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