Stitches to Strategies: Lisa’s Leap from Mending to Mending Lives
🎙️In this episode of eMpowered, we dive into an enlightening conversation between Emma and Lisa where they traverse the challenges of working in a male-centric industry and emphasize the power of community and support.
✨ Lisa bares her soul sharing her journey from surviving domestic violence to finding her footing in Australia, mending shoes, and later navigating the murky waters of a questionable insurance workplace. Listen as she recalls her hardships and triumphs, highlighting the importance of trust in business relationships and being a beacon of stoic leadership amidst problems.
💡 The duo reflects on societal issues, noting the inherited nature of racism and homophobia, and urging understanding for those molded by different times.
🌟 Emma champions individuality and praises initiatives like Women in Technology and Women in Digital. They remind us of the necessity of elevating others, with Lisa’s poignant advice: “Help others be happy by propping them up, not knocking them down.”
#Empowered #BreakingBarriers #SurvivorToLeader #InclusiveLeadership #ChampioningCommunity
• 00:00 – Get started
• 01:54 – Meet Lisa
• 09:03 – Lisa’s Australian Odyssey
• 09:59 – Battling Workplace Harassment
• 14:19 – Lisa’s Gems of Wisdom
• 18:54 – Lisa’s Engagement Role
• 24:07 – Embracing Mistakes for Growth
• 28:14 – Trust in Business
• 30:20 – Navigating a “Man’s World”
• 31:48 – Lisa’s Brave Story as a Domestic Violence Survivor
• 36:28 – Lisa’s Sydney Beginnings
• 37:23 – Amplifying Women
• 40:41 – Sign off
Join us in this episode and be eMpowered! 💪🎧
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.
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You are amazing and you are loved!
You can find the full transcript below!
Welcome to Empowered. Before we kick off, I would like to pay my respects and acknowledgement to the past, present, and future traditional custodians and elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual, and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We further acknowledge the land on which we work here at REDD, and that is the land of the Turrbal and Yuggera peoples. Thank you for being here and welcome to Empowered the Struggle that you have overcome might be the struggle a Queen is currently sinking in. We all have a story and I believe we need to share that story. Welcome to Empowered here. You’ll be surrounded by a community of queens who have conquered their own. I’m blessed to have an incredible village of people in my corner who lead with love, share their success tips, and this is a platform for just those stories.
If you had the cure to cancer, you would want to share it. And I believe that your cure is someone hearing someone’s story and sharing your story. Your story will help save a soul, and this world needs way more of that. The intention for these poddies is to host guests with topics and tricks shared with the listener that’s you, to help them live a life full of love, happiness, and success. So come on in. Be surrounded by Queens who have walked your path and resonate with their stories. What do you know now that has helped your journey that you would love for the younger version of yourself to have in your toolbox? Welcome to Empowered Speaking of Queens. Today’s Queen is the infamous, I believe, Lisa Kenwright. Thank you so much for being here. You’re an absolute gem for want of an introduction as to how you have come here today.
You volunteered, but I believe you kind of were voluntold. Get your butt in here, Lisa, and do a podcast with me. Lisa and I have sons in the same football team. We do, and they’re just adorable. Rafael was very excited that you were coming in today. I said, bless scribbles. Mum’s coming in today. Scribbles, I love that nickname. And they’re just gorgeous souls and I over the years because it is like that with footy families. Loved getting to know yourself and obviously Scribbles or Lachlan and your beautiful wife Susan. Thank you. And quite often when I’m not doing ground marshal or some sort of volunteer job on the football field, we are on the sidelines having a good old chinwag. We are. And the topic, yeah, it’s so good. It’s that community and village and it’s amazing. But on one of our chin wags, I mentioned about my podcasts and the series that I was recording. And as I said, I dunno whether you were volunteered or voluntold to come in, but I like to think it was voluntold vol volunteered.
Whoops. Either or brought in
Matter. But I, I’ve, as I said over the years, I’ve just loved listening to your stories. And to be fair, probably we’ve gotten closer with those stories over time because it’s one of those things you sort of need to spend some time to get to know each other on a different level. And some of the topics that we were speaking of certainly in the last sort of four to six weeks really resonated. And I wanted to share on this platform to help save somebody else and share your stories. So we were just speaking about some suggestions around topics. I’d love to unpack your career and that chronological journey to success and who Lisa is today. I’d like to hear some realness in that chronological timeline as well because I know it’s not been easy. You are a kick ass woman in technology, but I know that the woman I see in front of me now is not necessarily who you were in the past and you’ve overcome some struggles in the past that you’ve shared with me. And yeah, let’s just have a good old laugh and enjoy the ride. But speaking of timeline, you’ve brought in a beautiful clipping. Yes. I always love that you don’t sit still, you like to tinker and love all your hobbies and your interests. I thought this was a hobby, but you’ve just shared with me that it was one of your career pivots or starting out
It, it taught me a lot.
That’s good. Do you want to start there? Because this was 1999. Yeah. So you a wee little one. I
And where was this?
So this picture that we’re looking at now is a clipping from a newspaper probably before the internet was being Yeah, that’s true. So that’s how we got all our information. Basically what that was is I had many career pivots. I started when I left school in 19 85, 86, 86, sorry. I was 15. And everybody in my family had a trade and we were very blue collar. And I got told that he had to have a trade. So I went and did hairdressing. Right. So I did my hairdressing apprenticeship, got that. But the problem was with me is that because of life circumstances, I always had to earn a bit more than what that role paid. And hairdressing is notoriously bad, but it gave me a good foundation in the value of the customer and what you can bring as somebody who provides a service to a
True. That’s true actually. And so I’d like to think that all these pivots that I’ve done over the years have taught me more about customer and how you can work with people to get the best out of them and also learn along the way. And do you know it’s good for the company, it’s good for you, it’s good for the customer. Those three most, those are the most important things in my mind.
Agree. And so I did hair dressing and then I did a bit of factory work and I moved away to another part of the country. And I did retail for many, many years. And now I worked in a boutique, a
Boutique Laar darling. It was called
Etam in England. And that stood for everything that attracts men so bad. Yeah, I know, right? Tell me it’s
Around. No. Oh, those were the dark years of my life. I hated that job. And when we talk about you want who you want to be, you look for mentors in your life and heroes in your life. And I had a lot of anti-heroes at that time. And there were people that I just did not aspire to be like, wow. The leadership, the communication style.
And you recognized that back then when you were so young. Oh, absolutely.
So good. People were awful. I worked with one woman that used to walk in and say, and instead saying Good morning, she’d say, bring me a cup of tea now. Oh,
It was disgusting. And so I learned very quickly that I didn’t want to be those people. And so eventually what happened, how I pivoted into, and this picture is me in my business, which was a shoe repair. Shoemakers
Amazing. At 27.
At 27, that was my first business. I’ve had a few since then. But basically I got a job in a hardware store from my boutique. So
Everything that attracts men and then hardware.
Hardware and then hardware, right? Yeah. Big pivot. And I had to work in the hardware shop and as part of the hardware shop, I cut keys. Right, right. And I’m quite good with my hands. Cause I was a
Hairdresser. I’ve seen your
Woodwork. And I did a lot of stuff like that and it was there. So I had that horrible lady and I was like, I’m leaving because of this person. She was the owner of the business. And so fish rots
From the head.
And so I saw this heel bar had opened up and I was like, oh, well I can cut keys. And he said, that’s fine, you can cut keys, but if you want to work here you have to. Also men’s shoes. And I was just like, Ugh.
Dirty people’s shoes. But there’s a certain meditative synchronicity around when you are working with your hands and you’re doing things and it follows a process. And I actually found it extremely relaxing. And I ended up running a shop and eventually I was approached by this gentleman here called Les who needed a hand with his business. And so I agreed to go in with Les and we specialized in all the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. So we used to do a lot of orthopedic work. We used to strip shoes down, riding boots, all the really expensive. That’s
Cool. You found your niche.
And we used to have people who used to drive for hours to come and see us because what we did was special. Oh, special covered. Specialized in what we did. Good. And that was fine and going. And I always to never imagined myself doing anything different, but over the years I had an emerging interest in it. And basically what happened is I met somebody who was coming to live over here and I couldn’t imagine myself not being in their life. I was getting towards 30 at that time. And I thought to myself, well, I had the business. What? There’s got to be more to life. I didn’t want to be a person that had a shop
And that’s it.
And had that shop for 30 years and didn’t experience anything else or do anything else. So I packed my little bag in my case and I came over to Australia and I was only meant to be here for a year.
We hooked you in.
I got a job working in town hall station and I mending shoes and it was shit. Oh really? And I worked there for as long as I could under my visa conditions, but I worked with two Italian guys and one Greek guy who spoke fluent Italian. So that’s confusing. And he was, oh god, it was like sexist and city. It was awful. And I’d experienced things in the past as well. I’d had guys slap my ass. You didn’t. Things like that. And I’ve always been pretty good at standing up for myself. Good. And I said, look, if you do that again, it won’t go well for you. Good. And this guy, there was no work conditions. It was just casual. There used to be porn magazines lying around. Were you
Out and proud then? No, I wasn’t.
I was still two employers. I was still firmly in the closet. And then they used to get this guy hitting the me all the time. I
Was like, oh, this is bad.
But anyway, I left. I’m sorry, you had to explain. I left there and got a job selling insurance, which was, I wanted to get out of manual work, dirty work, work that made me wash my hair at the end of the day. And the water was black, it was dirty, dirty work. And I wanted to get out of that. So I started working with this insurance company selling dodgy insurance policies to people. And I did that for a while. But then I went home and at the same time I met my partner in Brisbane. And so I came back to Brisbane and enrolled in a TAFE course. And I thought, oh, I can surf the internet. How hard is it? Bless. Pretty bloody hard. Yeah. And so I got my TAFE course, my TAFE qualifications, my diploma worked in. And this is the story that yes, worked in a few call centers, did a lot of first level support. How can I help you? Is there anything else I can help? My printer
My printer is broken. And then I got a job working for a company. And I’m not going to mention their name. Respect. You’re very Respect. Respect. The names have been protected to not make a big deal out of who these people are, but they are pretty big. Let me
Tell you, you’re very kind because you
Really should be saying that. No, I should be saying that. No. And I worked with a group of men and I was the only woman there and I did 24 7 network support. So I’d be on my own in this great big office building in the middle of the night, rebuilding databases, keeping things moving so that the business could continue. And I don’t really want to say what the business are. Okay. Because if I did, then it would be obviously
Clearly they needed 24 7.
One of the things that happened to me there, they used to think it was fun to share pornography videos.
I still can’t fathom.
Yeah, I know, right? And I was sat there one day doing my work, answering my calls, doing my first second level support. I heard this noise of a cackle, a sex noise, a sexy, sexy noise, like the groans and things. And I turned around and I was like, what on earth? And it was a rather filthy video of two women. And I was like, are you serious? Yeah. Are you really serious? And there would’ve been other words thrown in with that. Yeah, good. Where did this come from? So they said, oh, they said no. Who did this come from? And they gave me this person’s name and I approached this person and this person, if you’re listening, shame on you, but you probably won’t be because you’re a misogynist pig. I love you. And I approached this person and I sent them an email and I said, I know what you’re doing and it needs to stop. Good. And then we had this conversation. Anyway, this guy was six foot tall and six foot wide. He was a bouncer in his spare time. And I had it out with him. I said, this isn’t appropriate. You shouldn’t be doing this. And to be frank, at that time I thought if I report that all it’s going to do is turn the entire group of men against me.
So basically I had it out with a guy. I let the other guy know who was talking and show watching that it wasn’t appropriate and you really shouldn’t do that. But it was a boys’ club and I was very, so basically I went from one boys’ club to another boys’ club. And that didn’t really change until I got a job on the help desk at Brisbane City Council. And that was oh, early two, 2005 maybe. And they all changed there. And then I got to realize that women, yes, women do work in it and people are civilized and things like that. Shit, that should never happen. Good. So basically what I wanted to say is that from a girl who started off in her dressing retail, you can be whatever you want to be, preach and you can follow a path. And if you set yourself some aspirations and goals. And so when I got to Prima city Council, they said, oh, we’ve got all these courses you can do. And I was in my early thirties, I was like, sweet, I’m working at play. I got to do
More. They’re going to pay me to learn
More things. So I did project management courses and they pay for me to do a cert form and a diploma and things like that. And that was really great. And then I got a job in state government and I was there for 15 years or so. And I saw a lot of personality types there. And the thing is about when you work for government is it is by nature of government, highly political. And there are some political movers and shakers and some political players. And again, I got to realize I didn’t want to be like those people. It’s not in me to tread over bodies to get to the top of where I want to be. And it’s also not in with me to kind of strike up relationships with people for your own gain. Yuck. I worked with one person who was highly senior and I was a director at this time. Whenever you went to meet with this person, you had to take them a bar of chocolate. What? I’m not kidding you. Shame on you. And I hope you are listening to it. Yeah. Also got some of course. Go. She’s staring
Straight down the camera.
But why would you do that? Why would you aspire to be that type of person? Actually,
In a way, I feel sorry for that person because it’s an outward projection of some serious trauma or something they’re trying to bully you with. But I know, sorry, again, you had to
Experience, so if you had bad news, you had to take this person and borrow chocolate. What the actual good
You’re allowed to say
Again, fuck another anti-hero. Somebody who I didn’t want to be. But over those 15 years, I got a really good grounding and a really good knowledge about government, government departments. I’d done local i’d done state, I’d also done federals at federal go government as well. So I had a really good grounding of how government works, but I didn’t actually want to be in government anymore. I felt like I’d done my time. And at the worst time, and this is an important point to note, that all of you long-term public servants who have more to give. At that point I couldn’t imagine myself not being in the public service. I was a career public servant and
Almost institutionalized in a way.
Maybe Stockholm syndrome. Yeah, I dunno. I
Say that with all the love and respect in my heart because it has been likened to that from other people who’ve joined our team or my father worked until the day he retired in government and still could not fathom that Chris and I wanted to be self-employed and be working on a Sunday afternoon. He just couldn’t see any other way. And I said to him one time, and we sort of unpacked it and he said, it is like being institutionalized because it’s safe and it’s at a certain pace. It suits some people. I couldn’t fathom you working in government to be honest. I think you’ve got so much more to give and you’re so powerful and confident and got so many ideas. Sometimes they get squashed over the years too. Thank you. But this is not a boycott against the government. No, it’s absolutely organizations.
We need them. And I learned so much. I made it up to the lofty, lofty levels of director. Not very lofty, but enough. At one point I had a team of 40 people and I loved that job, but there was a restructure. Things changed. I thought I’d tried different department and it didn’t go well for me. And I went back to government and I ended up back in a manager’s role, not a director’s role. And then my card was marked. Since then you’ve left, there’s going to be nothing for you here. This is your role. This is all you ever will be. Nobody ever said that to my face. But you felt that. That’s how I felt. And so I was bored. What can I do? And I know I’ll study for an mba, how far can it be? Never been to university. Left school at 15. How far can it be? I’ll give an a crack
Yep. So I did the mba. Oh, you’re amazing. And towards the end of the mba, I actually realized there was nothing else that department could give me. And I wouldn’t go anywhere and I’d never go anywhere. And so I left and worked for another company, which you we’ve spoken about. And that experience wasn’t very great. But now I’m at this really great company. Oh, that’s so good. And I’m doing well. I’m a engagement manager, which I like to think is kind of like a project manager with cuddles.
Yeah. That’s so
It is because I really get to know the customers and how we can work best with them, what we can bring. It’s not a sales role, it’s a project role, but really getting to understand their business problems and what I’d say to that girl, working back in retail, I’d say you’ve got a great ground in of customers, how to work with them, how to serve them, not to over service them, because that’s a very different thing. And that can get messy.
Remember, it’s always billable. Yeah.
It’s always almost always better. So you’ve got a really good ground of a customer. What can you do? And have the confidence to back yourself. Yeah. That’s so good. Because so often I didn’t back myself and I thought it was me. No, it wasn’t you. It’s
Not. But how hard. I love that so wise to reframe all those shitty experiences to say, look how wonderful it is that I’ve come out on the other side and all the experience. That’s really cool. But I think there’s very rare times where a mid 20 year old will have this wisdom sitting in this
Absolutely. So you kind of almost have to go through many rebirth and yeah, learn. And that’s why I mentioned in the intro, it’s like packing a toolbox. Sometimes you have to completely empty that toolbox and start again. And it seems as though you perhaps have done that on multiple occasions with your pivots and you literally had hardware into box. And then you’ve more so learned the EQ qualities and the emotional skills. And I hate calling them soft skills because they’re anything, but you clearly learned that in your career and it’s so cool. Yeah. Very, very rewarding. But you should be very proud. Thank
You. I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years and played a role where I’ve not guided them, but unpacked things with them. Okay, have you thought about this? Have you thought, because it’s never my job to tell people what to do. No. It’s my job as I get further along in my career is to help people, give them the skills to mentor them. But I’ve always had a view that when I’ve worked with big teams is they never work for me. I work for them. Oh
Job. It is servant leadership 1 0 1. I love that.
It’s my job to work with that team to get the best out of them. And if I’m not doing that, then I’m not doing my job properly.
When can you start at red?
I love that. That is servant leadership to the core. And you’re right, we sink or swim together. And if a leader has that mentality, the team will succeed here at red without seeming like a promotion or a plug. We have a mentality that it’s a safe space to fail and a safe space to absolutely ask, especially in it. I’m the least technical person here, but I’ve always been surrounded by Chris and we’ve had businesses in technology forever. So I can speak to and understand it enough, couldn’t fix it or do the work. But I understand how, especially a lot of our engineers get stuck on the thing and that you can get stuck in this rabbit hole of trying to fix or resolve without putting your hand up saying, I’m sinking here. I need help because I should know how to do this. So with a leader like yourself, that’s just phenomenal to hear that, especially as a woman, to be a mentor. I think I love women in technology because we’ve almost got almost women. We’ve got that disarming calmness to conversations or situations. So yeah, I would’ve loved to work with you over the years.
And the secret is to know your team. And that doesn’t mean micromanaging. No. That’s what your managers are there for. Let them manage. But the secret is to know people, not on a deeply personal level, but to be able to read them well and know when they’re having a bad day. See
That energy shift. And
So to know when Frank, for instance, is stuck in a problem, he’s struggling in this space and to kind of bring people around them who have the skills to bring them out of that, to let them look around and actually look at the situation as a whole, not this one little piece that’s causing the issue. Because there could be some other influencing factors over here.
For me it because youre stuck here because
You’re stuck there and people who work in it, they have the ability to hyperfocus, which is what they do best, which
Is why they work in it. We need Yes, exactly.
But sometimes there’s a trade off with that. And when you can’t see anything else around you because she’s so blinking on this problem that you’re trying to solve.
And do you, because I had this conversation with one of our female team members who you are, if you’re watching this, she’s incredibly smart and we’re so grateful for her. She’s sort of in that escalations point. And sometimes we do need to say, guys, this staff member is your security blanket. She’s there to help, but also to figure it out first before you constantly lean on them. But they missed one tiny little thing yesterday in a project, and she’s still kicking herself today, beating herself up. And I understand that that’s an engineer’s trait and almost that mentality of having to resolve and be at peace with the, it’s like a timeline of grieving of that mistake or that thing that they did. But having that, again, that kindness factor and understanding. And I could tell, even though she wasn’t in the office, I could tell that something wasn’t okay. And I just pinned a message in teams. I said, no one died. It’s okay. And no one is mad at you. And I pinned it at the top of the teams message. I said, I want you to reread that until you truly believe it. Because it’s okay. It’s
Okay to stuff up. It’s part of learning. And I’m my worst critic too. And I’ve like had meltdowns in the past in my career, left jobs,
It’s high performers do,
Because I had high expectations of myself and I didn’t want to let anybody down
With that lens expecting a lot from yourself because you are a high performer. How do you go to your seniors with a problem? Are you confident enough or do you see that you need to be stoic and figure it out? Or do you preach what you lead?
I think there’s a point right where I, I’ll never go to my boss, my leader or whoever, and say, I’ve got this problem then this is a good bit of a vice for people climbing up the tree. You never go to them with the problem, go to them with the problem and tell them what you’ve done so far. But the trick is not to waste lots of time on it. Give yourself a limit. Okay, I’ve got this problem. I’ll give myself an afternoon or a day. Brilliant to pull together some things and I’ll come up with some suggestions. Because sometimes you don’t always have the culpability to be able to solve that problem. Sometimes it needs to go to a more senior level to solve that problem. But here’s the problem, here’s the background,
What I’ve tried, here’s three things
That I’ve tried. Here’s what I think will fix the problem. What would you suggest?
It’s funny, over the years, like Chris, some of the major catastrophes with customers that we’ve resolved, he takes it quite personally too because his care is so high. I remember there was years ago, we had a customer who was in the protection of females leaving domestic violence relationships. And they were one of our most sacred customers because of what they did for the community. So our care factor for every customer is always high, but in particular for these, and something went wrong. I don’t know what, it was very technical, but Chris didn’t sleep for a week until he fixed whatever that thing was. And he was just such at a fight or flight moment in stress. And I just said to him, this will help you with the next time you uncover whatever this thing is. And at the time he was kind of like, Ugh, whatever.
But it’s funny, years later a similar issue came up and he said, bloody hell. You’re right. Yeah, I’ve got that in my knowledge, I’ve got that in my toolkit. And he went into it with a different mentality because that first instance, whatever that thing was, he was panicked and he wanted to solve it and he didn’t know how. And back then, that was another business ago, and he was the top of the tree. So he was the business owner and everything landed on him. So you’ve got to know that unless someone dies, it’s okay, you can put your hand up. But I understand in technology, it’s just so you know, it’s
Hard. But on the most part, I’m always honest with the customer. Oh good. And you can tell them that. You don’t have to tell them everything. No, you don’t have
To bend. But they don’t understand most
Of the time, don’t sorry, customer, but you know, can frame it in a certain way that you don’t even rev that trust. Cause trust is such a big thing when you working with customers and back here as a girl of what, oh what, 19, 20, 21. It was all there. All the skills were there, but it took years to refine. You’re always reshaping, refining. Could I have done that differently? What was the outcome? Could the outcome have been different? My head’s a very busy place.
Oh, me too. Diagnosed a D, adhd. No, I agree. But again, without that squirreling of words, we are our best friend and our worst enemy. Absolutely
Are. But I think unpacking and reassessing after every situational day or whatever it might be, you filling your toolkit and that’s what you’ve done, perhaps even without realizing over the last however many decades or years or whatnot. And I quite often think Oprah mentions, imagine yourself at the top of whatever success looks like. Being on stage, telling your story or stories. I like to think that I’m a version of Oprah, similar bank accounts not. But to be able to unpack all of that and imagine it being a Ted Talk or a story or a book that’s just so powerful, but have overcome and at the other side, and you’ll continue to learn. But you’ve got the intent and the heart at your core for you to say that you wanted to learn and learn from and against your anti-heroes. And that’s you, that’s your heart. That’s your passion. Some people will never have that and they’ll never recognize that. So I think that’s incredibly important. Speaking of, and it perhaps comes back to the very beginning of the conversation around starting out in your career. You mentioned something before off mic about what you wanted to do, but you had to go into an industry that was a man’s world or Yeah, tell me about that.
So look, retail doesn’t pay that well. And there was this paid and there still is a paid disparity between males and females. Not great even now. But then it was even greater. And I have bills to pay. I had things to do. And so the only way I could see myself getting that at the time, leaving school at 15 and not having to be in university or any of that, was to do a man’s job. And the shoe mending and the shoe making was then classed as a man’s job. And I work with some blokes and they work me hard. There’s very physical parts of when you mend them and repair shoes. And one part is called benching or one part is called finishing. And so the benching part is when you prepare the shoe for repairs. So basically what you have to do is that you have to grind all the bits off it. You have to rip the soul off, you have to cut through leather, things like that. It’s
Thick rubber, isn’t it? And leather took
River Point. Yeah. These blokes used to put me on the benching. And so I used to do that day after day after day, and it was a really, really busy business. And to the point where my arms were just like, because it was really
Bicep for death.
I used to have huge muscular arms because I used to do all this hard work. But my point is, is that you deliver and you do better. I love that. And you have prove them
Drive. I’m also a DV survivor. And you don’t know that. I haven’t shared that with, I don’t share that with many people. I’m showing it now. But I want to say to anybody who’s in a DV situation and can’t see themselves, can’t see above that relationship. Not to mention the career, but change is possible and you can will pivot and you have a ground. And those lessons have stayed with me also. And they’re not great lessons. I wouldn’t want anybody to learn those lessons. But it can be possible and you can survive and you can come out of it. And at the time it feels like you can’t start, but you can.
Lisa, thank you. Wow. There’s tissues in this room for a reason. We have a brother podcast that is everything techy. And they always joke when I bring in a pack of tissues. Aw. Because this is the realness and the rawness that I talk about. And I’m very grateful that you feel safe enough to share that with me and potentially the world.
Yeah. Well look, just anybody out there in that situation, please get yourself out of it. Do what you need to do. There are support mechanisms and things out there, and although you think that you’ll never get out of it and things will never change, it will change. And you’ll be okay.
Thank you. Lisa, was that back home or in Australia? Oh no,
That was back home.
Well, that is in the past and it just,
Oh, it’s very much in the past. And a lot of stuff is horrible and awful. But
Please, you’re amazing. It gets better. Oh, you’re amazing. And we love you, Susan.
No, it’s not.
No, no. Just thinking of how amazing Susan is. And
She’s lovely up with a lot.
She does not. If you are courageous enough, can you talk to the timing of when you did feel proud enough to come out of the closet per se, and whereabouts in your career you were? Do you remember?
So I was 30.
Okay. In Australia?
Yeah, in England. Okay.
It was the
Year before I came to Australia and I was in this business with this guy with Les. He was 63, Les was 63. And you know what? He was such a gentleman was, he was a beautiful man. And he taught me that it’s okay to be happy when people are succeeding. So often people will be jealous or, oh, wish I had that. Why have they got that comparison? You know what? He taught me to be happy for people when they do well in life. Oh,
Love Liz. And it was such a valuable lesson. But on the other hand, he also taught me that he was very homophobic. Oh no. And didn’t like gay people. And the pivot in my career again, came one day when I was coming out and I wanted to tell him, but I couldn’t, of course. And I said to him, Les, what would you rather be dead or gay? And he said, Lisa, I’d rather be dead. Oh my
And I was like,
All right. Not telling you my news. No,
Not telling you my news. Got to go see you
Later, Liz. Oh wow.
But it’s no good disliking him for that. No. Or hating him for that.
It was, it’s a systemic, he was it. It’s almost, you can’t blame Les. You can blame what he learned that from, as we know, children are taught racism and homophobia. Yeah. Because it comes from us and our learnings and the mum guilt perpetually of have I said the right thing every day? And Willow now says, mummy, we don’t say fuck. I’m like, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Willow. Like our five year olds telling us. But it comes from parenting. And you imagine if absolutely, Les was 63 back in 1999. I, I’m not good with math, but you can imagine the age of which his parents like, yeah, that’s 1 0 1 homophobic era.
And you know what? If he knew now and he needs, I don’t think his, think he’s still alive. He’s in his nineties,
I’d say, wow.
Maybe he’d think differently about it. But at the time I came up to my family, my parents were wonderful, absolutely wonderful. But my other members of my family, and that kind of really made me question, what do you do when you’re not dealing with something? You move to the other side of the world.
I run far away.
And you start up a new life yourself. And that’s what I did.
Well, we’re glad you’re here. Selfishly. I’m glad you’re here.
I love Australia. I think that Australia is always the lucky country if you want to work hard and do a good job.
Yeah, I agree. So when you moved to Australia, you landed in Brisbane. First
Up Sydney. I spent a year in Sydney and that was crazy, crazy. Crazy year. One of the best years of
My life. I bet. I imagine. What were you doing then for work in Sydney? I
Was working on the ground mending shoes for a little while, and then I got the job in the dodgy insurance place.
Okay. So madam, if you fell down the stairs, this policy would pay you $200 a day. Oh my goodness.
Like wolf of Wall Street crap. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.
Well, and then I came up here and I started studying it, and that was when things changed for me. Again, another pivot.
That’s awesome. Awesome, awesome. I can’t thank you enough. I, I’ve learned a little bit more than I did about you. And as I said, I’m grateful that you’re safe enough to share some stories with me. I’ve, it’s one of those things, sometimes you just resonate with people and gravitate towards people. And I don’t know at what point that we just started speaking real, but I’m glad we did. And that community and the village mentality is just so powerful. It is
It, and as women, we should be helping each other if it crowns a bit tilted. So yeah, help somebody write it. Agree, agree. Don’t be that person that wants to step all over you to No, to get, don’t be that person. Especially, don’t be that woman.
It’s hard enough as it is, isn’t it? Without, it’s, it’s hard
As it is. I actually Please be kind. Yes, be agree, be kind. I really struggled when I was younger, forming good relationships with a lot of women because I’ve always been very tall, used to be slim and very loud. And I just felt that was so bitchy. They’d see me coming and think that I was going to steal their man or whatever. And always been very confident. So yeah, it had been a struggle over the years. But then you reframe it, right? And you find that you gravitate towards people and you build that community, you build that village. And I’m at peace with those who don’t join in.
That’s right. Me too. I have very lucky. I have a beautiful village. And you know what? Sometimes I don’t talk to my friends for a number of years, but then I talk to them again and it’s just like
I stood still. Oh, that’s so good.
And I’m so lucky for that. And I’m so blessed for that.
It was a hard time coming out. And community are, they’re just that. But I have some lovely married friends. I have all different types of friends from all different, but we’re all a little bit quirky. I love that about my friends.
Don’t be boring. No, you posted about that last week. Be really unique. We need, the world needs you unique. That’s what I mentioned in the beginning. Just be you. Be casual. The intention for these podcasts is almost like we’re just having a chat at a bar with a glass of wine or whatnot in front of us. And today has felt like that for me. I hope it was for you. I dare say in the future there might be another round two of this. Oh dear.
Back Lisa’s life. Yes. Oh my gosh. I love it.
Well, selfishly, I wish that you weren’t so happy in your current role because of course, from day one, I was like, please join the team. But of course that door is always open whenever you feel it. Thank you. But I’m so happy to hear that you are happy in your role. It’s certainly been a journey, not a, not a marathon. You’ve walked the path and learned along the way. Got the blisters. Yes. All good. But I love the leader you are, and I love the mentor that you are because we need way more of that’s especially being female and in technology as we know. Yeah. It can be a man’s club. I feel like the times are changing in that regard. And I’m very proud of organizations like Women in Technology and women in Digital who help revolutionize that they do. But you are doing transformation and change even when you’re not realizing it. You’ve got that attitude about you. So whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.
Don’t knock people over, prop them up. Help them be happy for them.
And that today is the essence of what you wanted to get out of you. You mentioned in the beginning that you wanted to help someone who feels that they’re pigeonholed purely, purely because they don’t have the skillset or the know-how or feel that they are female. And why me? But if you’ve got the determination, the world is your oyster. And you’ve certainly proven that in some of your stories today. Thank you. Thank you for being here, Lisa. That’s all right. Hope. Have fun. Thank you. Thank you. That now wraps up, I can’t remember what episode number, but I’m sure it’ll flash up on your screen now with episode number, insert number here. And thank you for being here. Whether it was with your eyes and or ears, we really appreciate you being here. If you too would like to share your story and help another soul heal, please contact me as we’d love to hear from you. And again, thank you. Lisa can write, you’re incredible and welcome to Empowered.