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Leading with Courage. Courage to Lead. 

How can we face those inevitable times in our careers and everyday life that are challenging and make us uncomfortable? When we see something that doesn’t sit with our core values? When we are faced with an exciting new opportunity or experience – a long-held dream – but that little voice in our head is saying ‘No Way’? At NAWO NSW’s recent Quick Bite event: ‘Leading with courage. Courage to lead‘, guests were privileged to hear from two inspiring speakers who shared their journey to harness their courage and confidence. Thanks to Heidi Dorman, Regional HR Manager – Officeworks, for providing the following overview of the event…

Officeworks Ltd recently had the privilege of hosting a forum focused on ‘Personal Courage and Confidence’, one of the key 5 learning priorities for the National Association of Women in Operations, NAWO. 

The event was held on behalf of NAWO at Officeworks’ State Support Office in North Rocks on the 30th August. 

Presenting on the day as Keynote Speakers were Pauline Kirk, Supply Chain Program Manager based out of the national team in Melbourne, Victoria, and Dean Williams, State Supply Chain Manager for the NSW Supply Chain Operations. 

The event kicked off with an opportunity for a tour of the Distribution Centre at North Rocks. This was led by Dean Williams and his leadership team and was a real opportunity for participants to spend some time understanding the complexities of the operation and the key role supply chain plays in great service delivery to the customer at Officeworks. Not just moving stock to the retail network within New South Wales and ACT but also to the business customer and personal shoppers who place their orders online. 

Dean Williams spoke with passion about the role his team plays in the Great Service Framework at Officeworks: ‘it’s not just about moving boxes, it is about our team making bigger things happen for our retail stores, our business customers who are either starting up or growing their own business, or for the personal shopper or home office where new ideas and innovation happens every day. It actually helps us create the link with our team on the work we perform and provide purpose to what we do.’ 

Next there was an opportunity to network over refreshments. There was no shortage of conversation or food as everyone really took the time to meet people within industry and learn a little more about their companies and their roles. 

Guests were then treated to Pauline Kirk and Dean Williams sharing their journeys, both professional and personal, providing stories of when they have been faced with certain challenges and how they have needed to lean in to be able to make their way through to reach great reward at the other side. They were candid and honest in sharing what worked and what did not, and how this has shaped them as leaders today. 

Pauline Kirk

Pauline Kirk

In Pauline Kirk’s presentation she spoke of ‘building a life in OZ’ after moving to Australia from the United Kingdom and really needing to start over. How when you are in a situation where you are at a fork in the road you need to draw on your own strength and confidence. Pauline shared 3 steps she has taken to help her at these times; 

  1. Self-Reflect: 
    • What have l achieved? 
    • Complete a SWOT Analysis
  2. Where do l want to go? 
    • Goal Setting 
    • Life Plan 
  3. Commit to your roadmap and celebrate your success  

In finishing, Pauline shared her ‘simple rules’ in life. One which resonated with many was the acronym ‘FAIL: First Attempt In Learning’ and a quote from Nora Roberts:

‘If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO.
If you never step forward, you will always be in the same place.
If you never go after what you want in life, you will never have it.’ 

Dean Williams preparing to lead the group tour.

In Dean William’s presentation he started off by sharing what Courage means to him: ‘courage is not always about what it takes to stand up and speak but also what it takes to sit down and listen.’ 

Dean shared his own leadership journey and how through challenging times in his career, at times with very challenging leaders, he often found himself with no choice but to face into certain situations. And while at the time not conscious of this, it came about for him because of his strong sense of what is right and what is wrong and stepping up or in when others were not willing or able. Dean described these as ‘crucible’ moments, or the times when you ‘need to have the confidence to take opportunity from adversity’. 

‘The courage taken to be different but not disruptive is a lesson l have learnt’ shared Dean, ‘but in my early leading years it was a lesson l took some time to learn and after many mistakes’. 

Dean shared his 3 simple rules on how he sustains Courage and Confidence in an environment and ever-changing business that moves at a ‘fast to act’ pace: 

  1. Consider others when applying courage and confidence in the world  
  1. Help others be confident and courageous
  1. Always be aware that sometimes you are ahead and sometimes you are beyond 

The event concluded with a Panel Discussion where the audience had an opportunity to ask further questions and consider how being your authentic self helps you at times of needing to find courage and confidence in both your professional and personal lives.  

To watch the full video of this event, click here.

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