KYLEE STONE'S CALL TO ACTION FOR WOMEN
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WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ABOVE, or read the transcript below to see Kylee's amazing words of wisdom.
So my name in Kylee Stone. I'm a Wakka Wakka Woman and a descendant of the Stolen Generation.
So, my work. I am the founder of a not-for-profit organisation called Team Women Australia.
I started that about four years ago out of conflict between my own personal life and my career.
Struggled with the return to work, and just tried to focus on mentoring myself back into a transition and how was I gonna' take the next step, and while I was doing that there was other women around me who were going through the same thing.
And so I just kind of was helping them and mentoring them and next thing I know there's 55 women in this mentoring group and just one thing led to another really.
There was a definite lack of support for women who were juggling children's senior leadership positions.
And we didn't have anything in the workplace at that point to support women going back into the work force not just from a parental perspective but also from mentoring.
How do you manage that juggle effectively?
I didn't wanna' lose my job. I loved my job, but there was no flexible options.
You either had to work full-time, or you didn't do it at all. So for me, that didn't work for me. So within a few months I was very bitter and frustrated about it. And decided I've gotta' take charge of this.
So I did, and you know I reinvented myself. I'd been a coach for about ten years at that point.
So, I just decided "Well, it's time to coach myself through that."
And yeah, it just grew organically. I remember talking to one woman who very similar. She wanted to, she was a Senior Executive, had children, wanted to go "Right, I walk and talk on stage." And she was too scared. I was like "Well, let's just organise an event." So we did.
And it was a massive success.
And then we just said "Well that was great. Let's do another one.
And that was great, let's do another one."
And that's kind of how that evolved. So, for me it's a real purpose-driven initiative, because I really am out to make sure that women have access to the kind of resources that they need in order to get themselves back into the workforce, live an empowered life, but have balance as well. Take care of your health. You know, be fulfilled.
Not like the old driven kind of high-demand high-pressure lifestyle.
I coach specifically women. Women who are looking to advance as leaders.
My big commitment is to ensure that women have the opportunity to be leaders. There's work in the corporate environment that goes on around balancing women, but there's actually no one behind the scenes actually enabling the women, per se.
It really is driven around the organisation itself. So, my intention is to make sure that women are doing the work around their own personal values. Their purpose, actually doing the discovery around that for themselves. Because when they do that, what they decide to do with their life can often vary from what they were traditionally doing in their career.
What do you love about yourself?
Okay, so I'm a great mother. I never imagined myself to be a mother.
I was the daughter who was gonna' be raised, grow up, have a career, not have children. My mother was very surprised when I got married and had children. But I'm extraordinary as a mother. I'm an awesome mom.
I've got three children, and my relationship with them really for me is profound.
I am an awesome coach, and I do believe that for me as a leader, and I put them into the same bucket, being a leader and a coach for me really is the same thing, because for me it's about being a role-model.
So, I don't ever coach anyone on anything I've never really done or taken on for myself. But becoming a parent was really the best lesson for me in how to be a great coach.
So, it's no surprise to me that I'm an awesome mother and that makes me an awesome leader and an awesome coach in my ability to really bring out the best in other people. For them to truly tap into their authentic self. And that's a real strength.
How can we get to gender parity faster?
So, one of the biggest obstacles I think for us as women is we are in a generation, let's face it, where we're probably right in the middle we grew up, our parents were raised with that women had a place, and now we're at a place called;
"Well, let's change all of that."
So we are in the middle of the change game. So, especially for women in my generation, you know I'm in my 40s now, so I've come out of that one part of my career and I'm shifting into another. But what happens for us is because we're now confronted with what role do we play?
We still do fundamentally have a nurturing instinct.
You know, we do give birth. It is by default our normal state to be the one who worries about the children, and are the children getting fed?
And men are not naturally like that, so they naturally don't think about that. I do think it's important for us to be compassionate about that rather than righteous about that.
And I know even for myself and other women that are in my community we're constantly still dealing with that. Like not making the men wrong if they don't automatically pick up the dishes or they don't automatically come home at a certain time or not. Because they're not thinking from that perspective.
We don't have control over that in many respects.
Because we're still in that period where the wiring of our brains is still pretty much driven towards the way that we were raised and over generations.
So I think one of the biggest things that we can deal with at this point as women in this period is to prioritise self.
So no matter what position you're in, whether you choose to be at work, or whether you're in a career, or you're at home, or you're doing both.
Whatever your role is at home, is to make sure that you stop. And find time for yourself. Because it's too easy to get caught up in work and children, and then not find the room for yourself.
What do you think are the behaviours that hold women back?
Fundamentally, I think it's self-belief.
I think the conversations that we have with ourselves are self-destructive. And the view that we have that we're either we're not good enough, we can't do it, we should do something better, that rids us with guilt.
That internal doubt that we put on ourselves. I believe it starts with ourselves.
See, if we point the finger out there and going "Oh, we should be more inclusive." And then we sit over here and go, "You know, I don't really belong." That is not inclusive. So I think the one thing we've all got to do is realise that we are the community. We are society.
It doesn't exist out there. It happens here with us. And in every conversation and who we are for ourselves if we are not that I'm included and that I'm part of this. I can be really straight and say to you there are many times that I have invited women to share their story.
I've invited women to be at a table and be a contribution and they step back. That is not inclusive.
So, it's not okay to start saying "We gotta' be more inclusive." For women, or as a culture. When we as individuals are not willing to put ourselves in it and say "I'm inclusive."
When we reach gender equality in the world, what does that look like?
Human beings being decent with each other. I mean, I think this is another one of those things where we seem to put a label around something in order to control it. Because we've made some decision that gender equality looks like a certain thing.
Well, what does it look like?
Okay, so if we put 50% of women into board leadership roles is that gender equality?
Well, I don't know.
Is it? Does it mean that people are actually still gonna' shift the way they're behaving with each other?
No, doesn't necessarily mean that.
I mean and is gender equality about the numbers of people in something or is it about the way that we actually treat and respect each other?
Quite frankly, in my opinion, I think it's about the way we treat each other. Is it about the roles that we take on in life? No, I actually don't think it is.
I think it's about the opinions that we hold about each other, and whether we're decent human beings about how we treat each other.
I've got two boys. I've got a husband. I can be equally, we do everything equally, you know? We both work. We share. All the jobs in the house are shared. You know?
Do I get annoyed at times because I'm doing the washing and he's not doing the washing, and he's doing the stuff out in the yard.
Of course I do!
But that's not so okay, let's do everything fairly but I'm gonna' be really pissed-off at you if you don't do the...
Is that gender equality? No it's not. So, I think it's an illusion again that we kind of live in this world about...
No, I'm not saying that it's not important that we're not being equal and gender equality's not important. I mean, God-forbid, I run a women's organisation. I coach women! Because I want women to be brave enough to take themselves on and lead a life that they love. I mean, that's kind of fundamentally what it's about. I want them to have the freedom to choose. And I think that's what it comes down to.
What is your call to action for women?
Having the freedom to chose whatever you want to do. Be brave. Really, back yourself. Work out what you want. And then go for it. Just go for it.
You've got nothing to lose.