“Only worry about what is in your circle of influence.”

Life at Talent
Life at Talent

For International Women’s Day, we chatted to Bonnie Lee, P&C Business Partner at Talent about her career journey.

Can you share a career milestone or significant challenge that has shaped your journey?

The first time I really stood for what I believed in, particularly when it was not the most popular opinion. It is so easy when you are early on in your career to stay quiet and just listen. You are probably the least experienced in the room and you are worried about ‘getting things wrong’ or ‘disagreeing with seniors’, but I think it is important to acknowledge that everyone in the room brings a differing and unique perspective to every discussion and project. The more that you believe in yours, the more that others will see that confidence and believe in yours too. Equally, it doesn’t matter if others don’t agree. Most importantly, it is about the ability to find the confidence to speak up and really stick by yourself and your expertise. I think that is a pivotal moment in anyone’s early career.

What does International Women's Day (IWD) mean to you?

IWD is all about acknowledging the challenges that women have and will continue to face. I feel fortunate enough to be living in a world where things have improved tremendously for women, however it is so important to understand that the repercussions of the past continue to be faced today and there is still a lot of work to do. This is why IWD for me is about a combination of acknowledgement, tangible action and ensuring that it is a focus beyond the one day.

What are the positive changes you’ve experienced for women in business over the years?

The evolution of maternity leave to parental leave is a huge one! I know that in the past this was a massive challenge for women to juggle; do they prioritise their career or being a parent? It didn’t feel like you could have both. However, we truly have taken a huge step in the right direction now. I’ve been fortunate enough to see very progressive initiatives across my career so far – longer periods of paid leave, flexibility in the workplace, more organisations opting to pay superannuation during parental leave and increasing paid parental leave for secondary carers (taking the burden off the primary carer, which is often the mother, being the “chosen” parent), just to name a few. These changes have supported with bridging the disadvantages women face in their careers because they chose to be a parent, the same way men choose to. I am not a parent myself but knowing that when I do choose to have children, there will be many options for both my partner and I to continue thriving in our careers whilst being great parents (hopefully!), feels like an incredible achievement that we should be acknowledging more and encouraging more organisations to follow in this direction.

If you could give your younger self career advice, what would it be?

Only worry about what is in your circle of influence, and comparison is the thief of joy. I truly think this is such a hard skill to master, and I won’t pretend that I am an expert at this either. However, I know how easy it is to get all caught up in the LinkedIn job updates or to catch up with friends and hear about their success and start wondering about what that means on your journey. We live in a technologically advanced world now where you can track down a person you met 7 years ago and see everything they have achieved in those last 7 years, with simply the click of a few buttons, I am sure we have all been there before. I would have loved to learn earlier on in my life to only focus on my circle of influence. Energy and time spent on anything else, is just wasted energy that could have been invested on yourself and what you can actually influence!

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