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Championing Kindness in Leadership with Kelly Hopkins

Posted on April 5, 2024 in eMpowered

🎙️ Ready to embark on a journey filled with laughs and wisdom? Join host Emma Herbert and her charming guest, Kelly Hopkins, on the latest episode of Empowered as they navigate life’s adventures, Slurpees and all! 💫

💼 With laughter as their compass and empathy as their superpower, Kelly and Emma tackle topics from career pride to societal pressures. From stories of mentors who taught them the value of kindness to reflections on past fashion fads, they remind us that imperfection is not a flaw but a badge of honour.

💬 Their banter isn’t just witty—it’s a call to embrace authenticity and self-acceptance. So, grab your sequined dress and dance along because in the world of “Empowered,” there’s no room for imposter syndrome—only room for the extraordinary! Join them on their podcast and remember, you’re amazing just as you are. ✨

#Empowered #AuthenticityWins #KindnessMatters #EmbraceImperfection #LaughAndLearn


Join us in this episode and be eMpowered! 💪🎧

      • 00:00 – Start 
      • 00:20 – Intro 
      • 03:30 – Introducing Kelly Hopkins 
      • 05:43 – Building Connections and Identity 
      • 07:15 – Embracing Authenticity in Leadership 
      • 10:52 – Embracing Authenticity and Overcoming Adversity 
      • 16:55 – Navigating Emotions in Professional Settings 
      • 24:11 – Empowerment and Independence 
      • 25:57 – Kindness and Empathy in Leadership 
      • 28:46 – Perfectionism and Societal Pressures 
      • 33:28 – Closing thoughts 


If you would like to discuss any of the topics discussed in this episode or if you would like to be a guest on the show, please get in touch either via our website, [email protected], or through any of the links below.





Thanks for watching!

You are amazing and you are loved!


You can find the full transcript below!


Emma (00:19):

Welcome to Empowered here at Redd, we acknowledge and pay respect to our past, present, and future traditional custodians and elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual, and educational practises of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We further acknowledge the land on which we work here at Red, and that is the land of the Torah and Yara Peoples obviously massive thanks to Red. I am the chief of happiness here. As you know, we have taken down the Brother podcast banners and we are here today recording another amazing podcast. My future state tells me that for empowered and the intention of Empowered as we sort of unpacked before is that we’ve all got a story to tell and we’ve all got a story that we need to hear and I can’t wait to hear all of yours. There may be a second rendition and a third and a fourth maybe some recorded, maybe not. Can we just

Kelly (01:17):

Start a series?

Emma (01:18):

Oh my God. Oh

Kelly (01:18):

My God. Stop.

Emma (01:20):

I can see it now. A name in lights. You mentioned before that you’ve been on TV hashtag goals. Anyway, we’ll unpack that soon. Your story will save a soul or make a soul shine. And for this Empowered was born, be it your career success, your fitness achievement, finding your personal balance with that elusive work life. There is a queen out there, unfortunately struggling to stay above water. If you had the cure to cancer, you would share it. And your cure is the story that you hold and the story that you need to share. Let’s save souls and let’s see Souls shine. And here we are at Empowered. Let’s just do that. Welcome to Empowered. I’m going to shut my lid now, but there’s two things that I’ve put down here as a bit of a note to come back to do the doing. And Kelly sits, welcome Kelly Hopkins. What? Another introduction.

Kelly (02:08):

Oh my God, I loved it. You said fitness goals and I’m like, I haven’t had those for decades

Emma (02:12):

That in my map we used to look, that’s probably speaks to my constant juggle being a mom, a dog owner, cat owner, an adult child owner. My husband here. I love red. But here the 60 hour weeks, there’s no gym, there’s no running, there’s no fitness. And that’s actually one of my personal, I don’t want to say goals because then if I’ve flunk, then I’m a failure. But I have to get that back this year for mental insert reasons here. And you just feel better. You

Kelly (02:47):

Do feel better. I don’t understand that though, because it’s so horrendous. It’s

Emma (02:52):

Like eating an apple. Why can’t that be a piece of chicken?

Kelly (02:55):

I dislocated my shoulder without knowing last year from, so I feel like see the devil. You’re right. And people talk about the pain barrier and I’m like, really? Because I see a barrier and I feel like it’s there for a reason. It’s a

Emma (03:06):

Warning. And I’ll stay

Kelly (03:07):

Away. Just stop. Yeah.

Emma (03:09):

People have died in gyms. Yeah, like a weight drop on it. See?

Kelly (03:13):

Oh, I’ve seen the videos.

Emma (03:14):

Oh, that’s morbid you on the dark web.

Kelly (03:17):

Cautionary tales.

Emma (03:19):

Darren Hopkins Cybersecurity. Your sister is the reason

Kelly (03:25):

I am the problem.

Emma (03:27):

The problem and the solution. We talk about that a lot. Look, I feel like I’ve already kind of introduced you. There is no wine here and I cannot speak. I’m overtired and I haven’t had coffee, so I’m sorry. Viewers and listeners. And Kelly, how do I introduce you? How do I put you into a little box and explain who Kelly Hopkins is. Maybe you

Kelly (03:45):

Could, if I could fit into a little box, stop it. Stop. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? It’d be a

Emma (03:49):

Beautiful box like Marilyn Monroe coming out of the cake.

Kelly (03:52):

It would be eccentric. Would it? Sequence? Yeah. Yeah.

Emma (03:55):

Feather. Okay,

Kelly (03:55):

Cool. Bedazzled.

Emma (03:56):

You be feathers. I’ll be sequins.

Kelly (03:58):

Amazing. Hashtag

Emma (03:59):

Besties. Anyway, I feel like we’re teenagers again. Tell me And the millions of viewers what can

Kelly (04:06):

Dream later.

Emma (04:06):

Thanks. Still. Hi Oprah. I will be on stage with you one day. That’s one of my goals, by the way. I will be on stage with Oprah Winfrey telling my story one day. I

Kelly (04:16):

Can see that though. Thank you.

Emma (04:18):

Could you bring her? Let her know. Oh,

Kelly (04:20):

The time. I’ll find her.

Emma (04:21):

I bet you

Kelly (04:22):

Would. I know a lot of people. It’s like, what are the Kevin Bacon? Someone’s got to know her.

Emma (04:27):

There you go. Kevin Bacon. That’s a weird name to bring her. That’s showing our age

Kelly (04:31):

Probably falls into our conversation we had before too, which we won’t speak about. We won’t

Emma (04:35):

Zipped lips. Okay. Anyway, let’s be serious. No, we won’t. Empowered is for non-serious superhuman, amazing stories. You are here because you are fricking amazing, adore you. Even though we physically met for the first time today, I feel like we’ve been besties, as I said forever. But I just spent an hour and a bit chatting, shooting the shit as we call it, and we just couldn’t stop. There was 47,000 browsers open and I wanted more. I’m hungry to get to know you more because you’ve just got what I love, the energy, the compassion, the willingness to share. We were talking before about networking connection and you and I just have that in droves. It’s just a natural thing, but it’s because it’s a bit selfish. I want people like you in my world and I want to share you with my people.

Kelly (05:24):

No, I agree with you, but I feel like that’s something you look for when you get older. And I call it you’re wanting to steal that special, which sounds a bit silly, but

Emma (05:32):

You can’t have it. But you can borrow it, right? You can it

Kelly (05:35):

And you can take it and make it your own. And I do. I look at both men and women. I go, oh, if I could do that.

Emma (05:42):

But you can. You can in your own way. Yeah,

Kelly (05:45):

A hundred percent. Do

Emma (05:45):

You know I fall in love with people every day, people at Woolworth’s. Chris is like my husband, executive general manager here. Can we go to Woolworths, Emma and not make friends? I’m like, how does that work? So you explain that to me. I love

Kelly (05:59):

People. Me too. And I love seeing people and I always compliment people because Same

Emma (06:04):


Kelly (06:05):

I can with you. No, but

Emma (06:07):

It’s just I can with you. I

Kelly (06:08):

Can with you.

Emma (06:09):

Okay. Okay. Done. I

Kelly (06:10):

Got a bit

Emma (06:10):


Kelly (06:12):

No, but I think it’s really important and I think that it’s just nice to have a human connection. And it’s really weird. My mom, there’s always a joke. She could go to a deserted island and we’d be related to someone or we would have this woman being anywhere on a train station platform. And the FBI, she’s picked up a stranger, knows everything about them. And all the conversations that I’ve had in my life with people that I would never know, I can actually genuinely say it’s probably made me a better person because it’s given me empathy or insight.

Emma (06:44):

You learn something from

Kelly (06:45):

Everyone. You learn something. And I think what a gift and I feel for people that don’t build that community around them because I’m like, it makes the world so small.

Emma (06:53):

I know it does. Oh whoa. It’s got dark. Bring it back up. Bring it back up.

Kelly (06:57):


Emma (06:58):

Do you think this is probably really selfish, me taking over again, but that’ll happen. I think I’m so passionate about it because I didn’t have it when I was younger. Growing up, predominantly male industries, fairly self-employed most of my career. Being a boss ass bitch, I had to pave my own way. I probably didn’t spend as much time on friendships back in the day because I was just so determined to do my thing and whatever that was and success and this, that and the other. But I also too, I can’t handle bitchy.

Kelly (07:32):


Emma (07:33):

I never hung around with girls at school and the girls thought I was a floozy. I’m like, no, I just can’t stand your shit. Can we just be friends? So I’ve been wanting that from a very young age, but I’ve never been able to find it until we hit menopause age. And then everybody’s like, actually let’s just love each other. It’s so much easier. Let’s be real.

Kelly (07:51):

I think though, I feel I grew up with bipolar from a perspective of my mom values confidence, right? Right.

Emma (07:59):


Kelly (08:00):

Yeah. So she put me and she knew that I was a leader, but I also had terrible confidence. So she purposely put me in so many different zones. I had to do dancing. She really pushed you a hundred percent God sport, anything she could have put me in to make me feel physically awkward. So I had so many different groups of friends from

Emma (08:19):

Goals taking note,

Kelly (08:21):

Oh wait, you got hit by a car biology exam tomorrow. How much

Emma (08:24):

Stronger you?

Kelly (08:26):

True story. So she purposely put me in all these avenues and I get it now. Hated her at the time because

Emma (08:33):

I was like, understand now. Yeah,

Kelly (08:35):

And it does. You actually have to then go. It was really hard for me. I was like, well, who am I as an identity? Am I a dancer? Super girly, but then am I climbing trees with the boys or I’m able to dig in a toilet at a scout camp? Where am I meant to be? Be pretty. I do it. I can lash together a kitchen. But at that time too, it was really hard then to choose a group of friends and every friend you felt like you had to be different. So

Emma (09:01):

I think it’s like acting

Kelly (09:03):

A hundred percent.

Emma (09:04):


Kelly (09:05):

Your authentic self?

Emma (09:07):

I kind of remember, it was years ago, maybe 20 years ago, I can’t remember where it was or who it was, but I remember a boss or somebody who I looked up to was quite influential, said, you dressed too loud, you laughed too much. Shouldn’t hug la, la, la, la la. And I put that away for a long time. I thought, oh, they’re successful. They’re doing it right. So if I emulate that person, probably shouldn’t do that. So I put that away and then I got to the point I was like, again, being older, crusty mom, don’t go out, have all these beautiful white label Nobu, all my beautiful clothing, and it’s sitting in my cupboard in my wardrobe. Why bring that shit to work? Bring the real version of you every day. Yes, I’m bright and colourful and loud, but that’s my brand and I can’t hide away from it. Now I’ve hid it in a box and it was like busting to come out for so long. And then unfortunately I think it busted out too much. And now I’ve turned it back again. It says me. Look at this. This is turned back. This is turned back.

Kelly (10:05):

I’m toe back. I look like a sack. No. Of

Emma (10:08):


Kelly (10:09):

That’s right. Thank you. No, but I said this and I was speaking to you before and I said, it was actually a female that said to me, oh, you look like that and speak like a man. So you’ll love this. I’ve got a friend, he’s an organisational psychologist and he always tries to shrink me and I’m laugh, I’m Teflon. And he was texting me yesterday, but I’d actually called him because when I was moving into more senior leadership roles, I thought I had to conform. And I was from that moment, I was like, am I allowed to be me? Am I allowed to change my hair every six weeks because I do and can I wear what I want and can I look like a cupcake? So I called and I said, this is where I have a problem. And I know it sounds stupid, but I don’t want to be a female leader and be mad from neighbours. I want to be myself.

Emma (10:59):

Again, showing your age, but you’re going to say blue healers are a country practise. Then

Kelly (11:04):

The highest crime rates are deaths in any small town in Australia.

Emma (11:08):

Move on. Thus board.

Kelly (11:10):

No, but that to me really freaked me out and out of all the things that freaked me out, then I had to go think about that. I was like, why does that make me so worse? Add that to your worry, Liz. Add that to the wild

Emma (11:20):

And trap water. So I think that’s

Kelly (11:22):

The cut free.

Emma (11:23):

Yeah, it’s out there. Look at it. It’s so happy. I think it’s a blessing and a curse. And I remember my mom saying a similar thing about, you just have to go through the shit and then you come out on the other side and it’s like constant reflection. Everything makes sense eventually. So what we’ve gone through in the past and we talk about having our toolkit and packing all of those success stories. You’re right, you conforming per se. We traditionally work in men’s world that absolutely changing, which I’m so grateful and proud to be a part of. As are you. I know, but I felt when I was younger, I remember my dad saying, I’m blind as a bat. Literally you should wear your glasses and you should probably tie your head brown. I’m like, why? He goes because bit bit bim bowey. Hey, I’m like, I love your dad, but he’s not one for words.


Really pretty face. But your thighs are a bit thick. It’s that sticks dad. Yeah, that hurts dad. Then you kind of go along, think you’ve constantly listened to these voices and the pins of other people, but you actually realised over the years that they wanted what we would. Now I’m free of all that bullshit. They’re trying to squash you to get you down to that level. That’s what bullies are. You’re not a bully. Dad love you, hashtag inheritance. But do you know what I mean? They think so little of themselves that they want to bring you down to that level. So people, you’re too loud, you dress la la, la. That’s because they want to do that, but they’re not confident enough. So if you come in beige in the corporate sea of grey, then we are all on the even keel in a baseline.


Because you imagine you’re seeing that gingham corporate grey CBD lifestyle and I’m dressed like this. Who are they going to going to be drawn to? Exactly. But for me, I went on a bit of a tangent going, okay, well I’ll come back to that girl. I’ll go grey for a little while. I’ll put that aside. But I want to have some meat on the bone. I’ve got a lot of meat on the bone now. But actually being able to walk into a room as I am knowing that I’m shit hot and I can do this whatever you think I am just a dumb bimbo. I’m not. And we talked about being on boards before one of my previous life with a different business crowd. Bloom for all your energy and cultural strategist needs was my first contract for that business was at the very, very start of covid I think it was.


And it was supporting a SaaS to actually get sales on the board, help them with their brand voice, become human in a tech world. And one of the first things the CEO said to me is, oh, I’ve actually got a pitch for some seed investing and I’m meeting with a room of potential investors next week. Could you come with me? I was like, heck yes. Dry cleaner. How’s my hot pink suit coming along? But I went and investigated and understood every single personality in that room. All men all crusty, all 60-year-old accountants all cashed up. So let’s go in there with the right attitude. I knew who I was going to sit next to. I knew he would be misogynistic and chauvinistic and look at me like your tits on legs or whatever. I had an unbuttoned shirt. I went in there human behaviour studies on.


I walked straight over to this crusty guy, shook his hand, I can still remember his hand was wet. I said, hi, I’m Emma Herbert. He goes, hi, my hand’s wet. I said, nice. Is that your full name? And I just gave it to him, locked eyes with him. I knew his personality type, I knew his success story. I’d researched him the wise, and I sat next to him and I was a bit Sharon Stone about it. Sorry, sex sell’s in the right environment and the presentation was here. And I had body language looking to him and only asked questions to him. And I answered that. And I just had him by we got that investment. And I’m like, there you go. So that pink suit had construct behind it and actually had knowledge, had maturity, had wisdom, had experience. But I walked in that room with confidence knowing this is who I am. Yes, I’ve got rose gold stilettos on may fall over, but I look good and I’m smart.

Kelly (15:27):

And that’s the thing though, I actually love it when people look at you and I know this sounds stupid, and they go, oh, you’re smart.

Emma (15:35):

Oh shit. She’s got big

Kelly (15:36):

Words. Yeah, she’s not afraid to talk

Emma (15:39):

Andy. Just establishment.

Kelly (15:42):

But it’s good. I like to be also accountable and then say to people what I’m not good at.

Emma (15:50):

So I actually like being the dumbest person in the room. My husband goes, ha, you always are here because these guys in tech come on. Oh yeah,

Kelly (15:57):

But you’re not putting together a bloody computer. You’ve got to do some things, but you don’t want to be this smartest

Emma (16:03):

Putting together computer.

Kelly (16:06):

Sorry guys. You can just

Emma (16:07):

Change your whole job scope something. Don’t you just turn shit off a non again every day and delete cookies.

Kelly (16:11):

Yeah. And there’s like a desk button under the laptop. Is there? There is. I’ll show you it later. So there’s like a hole and that resets it all

Emma (16:18):

Mate. Don’t go applying for any roles here. Stick with

Kelly (16:22):

You. I’m practically service desk.

Emma (16:24):

I just gained some certifications.

Kelly (16:28):

No, but it’s a good thing. And you want to be the not smartest person in the room because then you learn and you just keep, and we’re talking about tools in your tool belt. And I say this to people all the time and when I’m managing, I’m like, they’ll look at a really extreme situation and they’ll be watching how you handle it and then the fallout. And I’ll be like, well, there’s another tool for the toolbar guide.

Emma (16:47):

Add that in for my next podcast with Emma.

Kelly (16:49):

And that’s it. Then I stopped talking about it because then it’s got to be done. So I love that.

Emma (16:55):

Have you ever struggled with being a female and having to be mindful of your emotions?

Kelly (17:02):

All the time. Yeah.

Emma (17:03):

How hard is that?

Kelly (17:05):

I think I had a conversation once early into my management career and we were having a disagreement and the gentleman that I was disagreeing with said, don’t get so emotional. And I went,

Emma (17:19):

Don’t guess like me,

Kelly (17:21):


Emma (17:22):

We’re emotional beings. We are supposed to be

Kelly (17:24):

Soft. Well, and I don’t like conflict like that. I prefer to have a discussion like a reasonable human. And we’re

Emma (17:30):

Okay with the hard stuff, right? Yeah,

Kelly (17:31):

A hundred percent all the time. But it’s in the, I just don’t need to be railroaded at that point to make a decision. I would prefer to get all the evidence, look at something and then come back. I can make decisions on the fly, but I won’t make decisions about other people and their future on a whim. And then just even at, so we actually had, I was at a manager’s meeting and there was a gentleman who made a presentation and after the presentation, do you want to ask a question? So I did. And then we had a Christmas party and a gentleman walks in and he said, why did you yell at him?

Emma (18:06):

What? I only have one volume.

Kelly (18:08):

How did I get away with yelling someone when there was like 50,000 other managers around? But I think it’s just we get some of the vernacular wrong. I asked a question, so therefore in your mind I’m challenging so I might be yelling.

Emma (18:20):

Correct? Absolutely. And why are you asking me that? Clearly I’ve told you that. Well, you’re not paying attention. Yeah. And I think with emotion comes a sense of fragility and inferred weakness or lack of knowledge or whatever it might be. So we just dissolve into tears. No mate,

Kelly (18:38):

I cry in the shower or I eat corno fall because you can’t leave two by themselves.

Emma (18:46):

Trapped water. Yeah,

Kelly (18:47):


Emma (18:47):

Lonely, trapped, pineo

Kelly (18:49):

Free the ice cream.

Emma (18:53):

How should I freaking it? What flavour? Corno.

Kelly (18:55):

Just plain vanilla keeping

Emma (18:56):

It. That’s boring. No, but

Kelly (18:57):

They’re really good. No, it’s

Emma (18:58):

Always two. Always two at a

Kelly (19:00):

Time. No, four. Because I start with one and then I’m like, well, I have to have two different,

Emma (19:06):

Even we need a psychologist friend back in in. You do.

Kelly (19:10):

No. Oh,

Emma (19:11):

You just like one of those.

Kelly (19:14):

So no. But anyway, that’s probably evolved too much. People are like,

Emma (19:19):

How am I supposed

Kelly (19:19):

To need to, what a good way to eat your feelings.

Emma (19:21):

I aspire to be Kelly Hopkins. She

Kelly (19:24):


Emma (19:24):

Normal. I’m normal. What’s normal? I say

Kelly (19:26):

Exactly. Okay.

Emma (19:27):


Kelly (19:28):

No to what you were saying, there’s only been one time I could say that I’ve, well maybe a few. But one time I can remember where I’ve actually, someone had said something to me and I went and said something to them.

Emma (19:40):

Not nice.

Kelly (19:41):

No. We were at a conference and I was on a panel and we were being shuffled over to the AV people to put our speakers on and the stage was a hundred metres away. The AV guys are being very quiet. That’s what they do because they whisper. It’s weird. And we were all whispering and being weird and there was this table to the corner and this gentleman kept looking at us going, I’m like, who are you? And then it got to the point where he stood up and told us to be quiet. This is an international women’s day function to be quiet because he can’t hear. And he paid to be there. We were lower than inside voices. So anyway, imagine his delight when we were then the next panel of speakers and I looked like a cupcake. Purple one.

Emma (20:28):

I need the photos. I’ll show

Kelly (20:29):

You them. Yep. Cool. So we did that. And then I would just ignore that. Normally I would

Emma (20:34):

Just stared and presented straight to that

Kelly (20:35):

Guy. Well, this was what I did. So I got out of afterwards and I just had the comment about being a female, but speaking like a man. And then I was revved up and we were in this hallway and there was networking drinks. And I went all the way down to where he was standing at the end and I just went and introduced myself. I went, hi, I’m Kelly. I’d just like to apologise because before when you were telling me to shush in front of a whole audience, I felt terrible that you felt like, and he was just like, what is going on

Emma (21:03):

Here? You’re Kelly Hopkins.

Kelly (21:04):

What is happening? And I went, so I’m just really sorry about that. But I really wanted to come over and do that in person. Obviously that made you feel uncomfortable.

Emma (21:11):

I was so facetious. Oh, it was

Kelly (21:12):

Good. And then he felt uncomfortable and I was like, oh, I would’ve never done this. So I’m like, well great to meet you. So then I trotted off and I was speaking to a CEO of a company and this is what ended it for me where I could walk away. I’m speaking to the ceo, we’ve been mates for years. We are just taken the piss out of each other. He stormed in, tries to get into our conversation and this gentleman turns around and goes, you can just wait. I’m talking to Kelly. And I went, if there was a mic that could have been dropped, I’ve never felt so Exactly.

Emma (21:39):

Oh, that’s so good.

Kelly (21:40):

And that for me, I just laughed. But I was like, it’s one of those afterthoughts where I went, oh, that could have not gone well.

Emma (21:46):

Yeah. Isn’t it funny? As independent women, we don’t need saving. We’ve got this. We’re confident we got it. But isn’t it so nice when other people, especially men, stand up for you and round other men? That’s really sexy.

Kelly (22:00):

I got more men as allies. Even recently I run a networking event and I’d met this senior gentleman. He said, so what do you do other than put up a sign and serve drinks? And I went, mate, I don’t even serve drinks. How disappointed must you be? Oh my

Emma (22:11):


Kelly (22:12):

But then one of my friends was there and he said he was standing up for me and I called him after and I went, I really appreciate that. It was a gesture that I didn’t need. I didn’t need it because that doesn’t bother me. But I’ve got as many male allies as I do female. And I think that’s how it

Emma (22:28):

Should be. Absolutely. We were talking before about feminism. We’re not getting into that. We’re

Kelly (22:33):

Not doing this

Emma (22:33):

Today. We’re just equalist. We just lack people fall in love with everything.

Kelly (22:38):

You fall in love with people that are kind and have a good spirit. They’re the people that you want to call. It has nothing to do with gender and it doesn’t have anything to do with saying, I have to have this support. I just think you attract that into your life. And if you get them, you keep them. You’re a

Emma (22:52):

Mirror. You’re lucky. Absolutely. Yeah. You’re fucked you mind forever. Now you know that

Kelly (22:56):

I’m okay.

Emma (22:57):

And all your people around are also, do you want to just let them know?

Kelly (23:00):

Yeah, I’ll just send out. I’ll be like Your family member,

Emma (23:03):

The white Oprah said white. Can I have a bank account? No, just kidding.

Kelly (23:08):

I’m looking forward to the Christmas gifts you send me. You’re going to do that, right? You get

Emma (23:12):

Metech. You get me critique. Have you seen that? Sorry. That’s a tech. Anyway, being mindful of time because you and I will talk under wet cement forever. Forever. There’ll be many iterations of this podcast. But tell me about the proudest moment in your career and explain who you are as well. So obviously you are Kelly Hopkins, you’re amazing, but who you are, where you’ve climbed to, what your experience is and what you’re doing now. Bit of background as well, but something that you are proud of in your career. Not that we are only working bees, but it is part of who we are. And I feel like it’s your identity. Like my identity too. I actually love working. Me too. What else would we do? And this is work. No, something you’re proud of. And tell us your background in history.

Kelly (24:01):

A little plug. I’ll be quick. So I lies.

Emma (24:05):

You sit on a throne of lies. I know.

Kelly (24:06):

I was going to say Cliff notes. No, I’m going to give the quick roundup. So I’ve changed careers. I work in recruitment as my full-time job, but running a defence division. And then I sit on a defence board or a national security board and I run a networking event. And you were

Emma (24:28):

So downplaying all of this. Kelly?

Kelly (24:30):

I do with a thousand things. Well, no, I think she’s

Emma (24:32):

Fabulous. Make sure you follow her.

Kelly (24:34):

I’m a collector.

Emma (24:35):

You’re a hoarder.

Kelly (24:36):

I’m a hoarder, but I’m a hoarder of projects and people. I said at the end of last year, I’m not going to do as much, but things will come into my sphere and I’ll be like, that’s amazing because every time I want to learn. So I got into a leadership role and I think you were speaking about what you’re most proud of. I feel that at this level, the thing I’m most proud of is I’m kind and I genuinely want to help people. I collect projects and people, but it becomes about them. And if I can do things for people, and I know it can sound a bit naff, but you were talking about dopamine hits before and that’s what makes me feel good about my career and the paying it forward and just being mindful that not everyone is in the same position of you. Not everyone comes from that. And everything that you do counts. That’s what I’m really proud of. Do we

Emma (25:28):

Have tissues? Are we going to cry? Not crying. Not crying. We’re not crying, not crying. We’re good. Not weak. I’m unpacking that. Did you learn that kindness as I hate soft skills. It’s not soft. They’re so hard. And we’ve had to learn them and unpack and unlearn things to get to where we are. Was that kindness something that was emulated to you in a leader that you saw or the opposite that you wanted to both learn from somebody? It’s like that nature versus nurture. You grew up with an asshole around you so you don’t become an asshole.

Kelly (26:02):

So I think obviously my family environment, but there’s a moment that I can remember. I had a manager and he was only in for a short term and one of my early jobs and his name was John, he’s passed away now. But

Emma (26:14):

He IP John,

Kelly (26:16):

He brought us in a Slurpee and he had a bottle of vodka hidden in his pocket. We loved John. We loved John. But before that I had a leader and it was a female and she was really forceful and she was really fearful. And she led from a position of,

Emma (26:30):

Oh, that’s internal turmoil.

Kelly (26:32):

So when we got John, I’d never seen the alcohol. He didn’t drink, he just gave it to us.


He didn’t even offer us to drive us home. He was beautiful. And I saw a leader that was outwardly kind and that didn’t say it was a weakness. And I went, oh, that’s that Swan likability fair always considered. And I went, I want to be like you. And I don’t know what happened to that resident. And obviously I wasn’t. I was up and down like a bloody rollercoaster because it’s your career. One second. But I was like every time in my life that I think of a situation and I remember one of my bosses said, oh, you’ve got an unnatural tolerance for stress. I try to remain level headed, but always be kind. And I said, on my plaque at my funeral, I want, she was kind,

Emma (27:26):

I’ll put

Kelly (27:26):

It in there, write it down. Thank you. Kelly

Emma (27:28):

Sits. She was kind. She

Kelly (27:29):

Was kind. But I think it proud. I think it’s something to be proud of. And I don’t think people now, even if they look at leaders, they go, oh, she was powerful. And I’m mouthy and I’ll say what I think. And I always say to people, you’ll never die wondering what I’m thinking. But I’m like, why can’t we celebrate things like kindness or people that are empathetic? Which to my, it’s a superpower to be empathetic.

Emma (27:51):

It’s annoying. It is. It’s hard work. It’s so

Kelly (27:54):

Good. It’s amazing because it’s thinking about other people. So I’m like, why can’t we take the qualities that make people really good humans and celebrate them and our leaders. We don’t have to be tough. We don’t have to be anything other than our authentic self come in every day and go, you know what guys? I couldn’t tie my shoe this morning and sometimes I can’t. And I would come in and flats or thongs. I’m like, but what’s wrong with that?

Emma (28:17):

Nothing. Nothing at

Kelly (28:18):

All. So that’s what I want and that’s what I feel like I want to be known as a leader. Well

Emma (28:22):

You are definitely. Thank you. Yeah. And you’re not trying to do that. It’s just a natural, it’s not a talent, it’s just who you are.

Kelly (28:29):

And I think

Emma (28:30):

She was kind. She was

Kelly (28:31):


Emma (28:31):

She is kind.

Kelly (28:32):

Try to be kind. I know. I’ve got to save water.

Emma (28:35):

Oh stop. Am I wrapping it up there? We can’t keep talking about water and I can’t feel guilty about, no. Before we wrap up this iteration of empowered, there’ll be more. Anything that you thought of coming in today that you wanted to share with someone? Another queen who needs to hear some words from you that are going to help him or her?

Kelly (28:59):

From what I’ve seen recently, my biggest concern about particularly well anyone, is the amount of pressure people are putting in themselves to something that they feel is perfection. And you and I would both know

Emma (29:09):

Social media,

Kelly (29:09):

It doesn’t exist. And I speak to so many people in business and the first thing, and we can joke about things like I look like I’m wearing a Hessian bag. You can take the piss out of yourself, but to think that you are not okay or that you are not perfect or you’re not meeting a standard makes me, it just kills me on the inside.

Emma (29:29):

Because we see others a way that they don’t

Kelly (29:33):

And for their brilliance. And I say people have superpowers and I a hundred percent your empathy would be a superpower and let’s celebrate the hell out of that. Absolutely. If you get one thing, you take that one thing and you put it out in the world. And how amazing would that world be? Emma

Emma (29:47):

Was empathetic.

Kelly (29:48):

Kelly was kind.

Emma (29:49):

Emma is empathetic.

Kelly (29:51):

Kelly is kind. Kelly is kind. But you know what I mean. For me, that would be the thing. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. We also

Emma (30:03):

Should be that for the younger generation too. Fuck, that makes me sound old.

Kelly (30:09):

Be that

Emma (30:09):

For the young ones,

Kelly (30:11):

We should be mentors. And I think,

Emma (30:13):

Do you reckon we had us back in the day? I don’t think we did. We, we’ve come out of a generation of women who had to claw their way out of

Kelly (30:20):


Emma (30:20):

Percent having to have their husband to sign off on a check at the bank. And

Kelly (30:25):

We’ve taken on every single role parenting careers. It is exhausting. Why can’t people just go, I’m exhausted that Chris.

Emma (30:34):

It’s exhausting. It’s

Kelly (30:34):

Exhausting. And we set

Emma (30:37):

Aside the mental load a hundred percent, 15 board members.

Kelly (30:40):

And you’ve always trying to be a good role model, be this, and it is exhausting. So I feel like we gave the next generation high waisted jeans. You’re welcome. I

Emma (30:50):


Kelly (30:51):

And now they’re changing it. Why

Emma (30:53):

It’s sucks. And now we’re allowed to not wear makeup and things like that. I love wearing makeup,

Kelly (30:58):


Emma (30:58):

Social media and comparison artists has a lot to blame. That got very Karen

Kelly (31:02):

Very quick. But we had cocaine models.

Emma (31:06):

Kate Mos,

Kelly (31:06):

Right? We had Dolly doctor.

Emma (31:09):

We did Cleo.

Kelly (31:11):

Cleo. So every generation has their thing, but I think it’s

Emma (31:15):

Size zero era.

Kelly (31:16):

Yeah. When I had the hip bones, your bumps to leave, I bumps jeans. It’s really

Emma (31:20):

Hot to look skeletal, right? Yeah. I used to smoke instead of eat. That was my diet trick.

Kelly (31:25):

It was smoking, caffeine and alcohol and dancing. That helped. Just like when you actually went to nightclub and danced.

Emma (31:32):

Yeah. That’s good.

Kelly (31:34):

That was my cardio.

Emma (31:34):

Wow. And I could never fit into Soie jeans and S by, and I’ve been this tall since I was 10.

Kelly (31:41):

We were packing out my mom’s garage the other day and I held up a dress and my brother-in-law went, is that what they call like an inspirational outfit? Oh, stop. And I went, I wore this. And my sister goes, you were so tiny. I was like, oh, inspirational.

Emma (31:54):

Thanks mate. Just really come here for the confidence. I

Kelly (31:56):

Kept it because it’s all sequence.

Emma (31:59):

I was like,

Kelly (31:59):

Gorgeous. I need to wear this again one day, but

Emma (32:02):

Make it a scarf. When we take up running, you can give it

Kelly (32:08):

Running. But that’s what I would say it would be to stop thinking there’s perfect. And if you want to be perfect, explain to me what perfect is. If you can do that, I will let you have all your insecurities.

Emma (32:18):

Same thing. Imposter syndrome. Why should I be here? I’m not successful. Everyone is a hundred percent. Your success is your own. And it looks different to everyone.

Kelly (32:27):

To everyone.

Emma (32:27):

But if we compare and benchmark mine to yours, it’s not healthy.

Kelly (32:33):

No. It’s fucked your win. If I ran 200 metres today,

Emma (32:38):

Okay, we’re running.

Kelly (32:39):

No, but I’m just saying my whole world would know about it. I would be so proud of myself. And it sounds so silly, but I would do a blast. It would probably be in a news headline. Viral. Tell Oprah. Yep. And that to me would be a win. And then there’s those assholes having midlife crisis going, doing a bloody marathon. Oh, I’ve just done my 250 Ks because this my life. I’m like,

Emma (32:59):

But good on them. Good, good on them. But same. We have a wine for them in their honour.

Kelly (33:03):

I ran 200 metres.

Emma (33:05):

I ran to the door for the Uber Eats.

Kelly (33:07):

Fitness is my passion.

Emma (33:10):

We need to call it eight. We need to rub. We need to stop. Thank you. You’re amazing. I feel like this could just continue forever. I’m grateful you’re in my life physically now. Instead of just on podcasts and online and seeing your meeting rooms and whatever else. It’s so

Kelly (33:24):


Emma (33:25):

Besties for life. I am future state. Grateful for what we’re going to do and build and achieve too, because we’ve got so many similarities in that plight and that give back and creation and connection.

Kelly (33:38):

The empire, we’ll call it. I stole that from Haley Pyre. Yeah, we are saying it’s an empire.

Emma (33:44):

You’re the pyre. I’m the M. No, that

Kelly (33:46):

Doesn’t work. That doesn’t work. Okay. That sounded like maths Pi real. Three

Emma (33:50):

Four, recurring.

Kelly (33:52):

3.17. I don’t know.

Emma (33:54):

3.14 recurring.

Kelly (33:55):

Can we cut this out, Karen? Yeah,

Emma (33:58):

No, she’ll highlight it and she’ll have that meme with the calculating girl.

Kelly (34:02):

Two people go the matrix stuff in front of

Emma (34:04):

This. Yeah, with theology. Put that in. Alright, let’s wrap it up. Thank you for joining another episode of Empowered. I’ve loved it. I don’t want to go, but I’m busting because I keep drinking water and I’m hungry and it’s lunchtime and my next meds are due. So you’re amazing. You’re incredible. Thank you. You’re mine forever. And thank you for everything that you do for Red. Thank you for everything you do in your space. Thank you. Kelly sits. She’s kind. I’m so grateful you are here today.

Kelly (34:32):

Oh, thanks em. I’m so grateful to be on an M That is empathetic.

Emma (34:35):

Oh, cute. I should put that on there. Thank you for joining us on another episode of Empowered Put Away Your Imposter Syndrome and contact me if you’d like to be a guest on one of the upcoming edits or series words in insert words here. If you want to join me, be a guest here. Put the imposter syndrome away because you have a story that you need to share and somebody out there needs to hear it. Thank you very much for joining me for Empowered, and until next time, you’re amazing.


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