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Female Leaders Enacting Change in the Workplace

Hiam Sakakini & Monika Gisler are the co-founders of people and culture consulting agency, ThinkChangeGrow that was founded after twenty shared years of working at Google. They aim to empower organisations with their knowledge especially for those in the aged care and disability sectors of the Australian health industry.

What is ThinkChangeGrow?

Our time at Google taught us to challenge assumptions of what good leaders do, or who they are and to bring those learnings to other organisations.

We have taken a concept about positive workplace culture and turned it into something that shakes the status quo: we’re teaching businesses to think about their people and how people and culture are the backbone of a business.  We structured our business model around this idea, highlighting what ThinkChangeGrow is truly all about.

What was the catalyst for ThinkChangeGrow?

Still ultimately in love with our mission to bring positive change to teams large and small within Google with targeted and custom plans and strategies, we thought, “Well… why not do what we do for organisations outside of Google?”

We were inspired to start our own business over a glass of wine at a meet-up where the topic was “Do women really want the top jobs?” And we thought to ourselves… great question! It made us realise that we had blindly followed a career path that was not necessarily going in the direction either of us respectively wanted.

We care particularly about bringing our knowledge to the aged care and disability sectors of the Australian health industry where we not only help those who require care but we help those who provide the care. This is a shared passion that is very close to our hearts and want to create bright futures where long waiting times, lack of resources and so forth, do not become hindrances to the important work of aiding the vulnerable.

What has made you so passionate about supporting female leaders and how does it create change across industry?

It’s interesting isn’t it…sometimes where a man is seen as a strong leader a woman is seen as bossy when she exhibits the same behaviours. Or maybe where a man is seen to be more caring, he is seen as a quiet, thoughtful and emotionally intelligent leader whereas a woman displaying the same behaviours could be seen as too emotional or too caring.

Change comes from supporting each other rather than tearing each other apart. That’s how we can all win.

Women should be who they are naturally and unapologetically. One story that Hiam has was when a new female leader came to Google, letting everyone in her first email that she was “loud and likely to swear a lot.” She was letting everyone know what kind of person she was and what to expect. That allowed everyone and her to feel really comfortable with her authenticity. She did not have to pretend to be a different version of herself and use up her energy changing who she is.

If we are naturally bossy, let’s BE bossy. If we are naturally quiet and thoughtful, let’s BE quiet and thoughtful. Let’s make space for everyone to be who they naturally are. One way to make that happen is take time to introduce ourselves to new team members with a simple coffee etc. on what it’s like to work with you – and ask the same of them. Sometimes we forget this as we get caught up in our day-to-day work but that simple tip could be a game changer.

How can people get involved?

We are always on the look-out to work with like-minded people who want to use their talent to help the vulnerable. Whether you are a start-up or a seasoned leader, please contact jenny@thinkchangegrow.com to start the conversation with us and we will take things from there. Otherwise, keep an eye out on our social media for any upcoming event opportunities!

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