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January 25-27

What travelling abroad can teach us closer to home

March 25, 2020 by Women in Digital

Close your eyes and imagine you are in a world where you can’t travel…

One month ago, we would have said that was a ludicrous statement! Yet, one month after International Women’s Day, that reality has just been flipped on its head. For International Women’s Day 2020 a room full of Brisbane-ites enjoyed mimosas over breakfast, standing close together, networking. It doesn’t seem that long ago does it? Back then, discussing the lasting benefits of “Global Careers and Game Changing Moves” seemed like a rather normal theme for the Women In Digital Breakfast. Fast forward one month and our reality has drastically changed. When reflecting on the notes I took that day, there was a strong message from each of the panellist that can be applied to our current reality – without the need to get on a plane.

One word… resilience.

Each panellist explained how building resilience through their global careers was an outcome of their experience. Being outside the comforts of your known surrounds forces you to reach within and confront challenges. Forced to make new connections or adapting their communication styles helped these panellists because they  became more tolerant and understanding when faced with adversity.

When returning home from these global adventures, they accepted that changes were inevitable and that problems weren’t insurmountable. When they were at their lowest, they dug deep and found something inside, that little bit more that gave them the determination to keep on going. This is no different from what we are facing now.

We must adapt our communication style from face to face to online methods and consider alternative ways to move forward as individuals, companies and industries. This will give us another rung in our jungle gym to build resilience. We all know there is no straight easy way to the top.  Through reaching out and speaking with colleagues who we may not have engaged before, we will increase our diversity of thought. People with different backgrounds, cultures and experiences may help trigger the innovative solutions to our business problems that many are currently facing. This is particularly important when we are hiring new team members and leaders.

For right now, while we are isolated, let’s take this as an opportunity to connect with some of the people in our organisations or network that we may not have got to know before. Albeit remotely, now is the time to be learning about different ways to tackle this unchartered territory. It is ok not to know the answers or have the exact path mapped out. In fact, showcasing our vulnerability actually allows us to change the dialogue and get to know one another and find new ways to solve big problems.

Just before the Women In Digital event wrapped up for the morning, we were asked to close our eyes and think of one extra thing we could do per week to make a difference to someone in our community.  Now more than ever, I encourage you to close your eyes and think of who you can reach out to, someone who may offer a different perspective or someone who may need your help.

Thank you to the event facilitator Cara Cipollone Walsh, and panel members Laura Stokes, Indi Tansey, Jenna Fitch, Marie Mortimer for sharing your insights on the day. When you spoke with us, we really didn’t know what was around the corner but your lessons around resilience are applicable, now more than ever.

Words by: Julia Morton

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Women in Digital