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Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.


What is your name and title?


Kath Harris, Director, People & Culture at Destined 4 Pty Ltd.


Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.


I care and look after people. Importantly I help others to grow, by enabling and empowering people to realise their own potential and shine in their careers. I do this by developing relationships, sharing my skills, knowledge and experience to help make the organisation a great place to jump out of bed in the morning and come to - in person or now virtually!


How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.


One of my favourite career experiences was with 'birdsnest' based in the country town of Cooma in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. Each day I worked with up to 100 women who loved and supported each other to thrive in whatever their role was. Being aligned with an organisations values is a top priority for me. I was grateful for the opportunity to work with Jane Cay the founder and CEO. I really believe in what birdsnest stands for which is "We are focused on nurturing and inspiring you, our #birdsnestgirl, to be confident in the skin you are in, no matter what age or body shape." At birdsnest I felt I was accepted and loved by the team for who I was. It didn't matter where I came from or what I looked liked. I was embraced for the special qualities I brought to the team and this was a key attribute of the entire workplace culture. There was not one day that went by that I didn't receive a hug from someone at the nest!


In your opinion, what's the #1 decision or move you've made that has helped advance your career?


The decision to trust myself and the decisions I make at the time. Every decision I've made in my career has helped me to learn and understand more about myself, my strengths and my challenges. I've learnt to accept I have areas where I fall down sometimes and I make mistakes. It use to be a lot tougher to admit there were things I needed to change. Now I see it as an opportunity to learn more about myself and importantly to empathise and understand others.


What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?


It has been a tough and uncertain year for us all. What came to mind straight away was a quote surprisingly in one of my kids' favourite movies "Croods: A New Age." “Perhaps the window by which I view the world is flawed.” – Thunk


The most important lesson for me this year has been the self-awareness of what window I choose to view people, life and situations through. I've learnt that I need to be more conscious of the window I view others' through. That it's important to seek information, be more curious, ask questions and then consider all of those factors before making recommendations or forming a view. It's ok to be flexible, acknowledge when you haven't looked at all factors and then choose to look through another window.


What's the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?


The low percentage of women in key leadership positions. This impacts the workplace culture in many different ways, however especially bringing diversity in thinking and relating to others. I believe this significantly impacts decision making and innovation in the business. Women progressing in their careers are also looking for inspirational female role models in leadership positions to act as advocates, mentors and coaches for them.


Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?


Yes, I'm very grateful for the mentors I have now and have had throughout my career. For me time and active listening are the key qualities of an effective mentor. Having a mentor who listens without judgement, gives you their time and who is open in sharing their own experiences that you can learn from is invaluable. My mentors have greatly contributed to my growth not only in my career, but as a friend, wife and parent. And I would also say in helping to be kinder to myself.


What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?


To believe in yourself and the unique skills and qualities you bring to your chosen profession and organisation. I believe it's important not to compare yourself with others and not measure yourself against what other people have achieved. Hold true to your own values, goals and dreams. I also recommend making connections with people and establishing a diverse network. 80% of all my roles I've found not through job advertisements or recruitment agencies but through talking with my network and being open about my career goals and the workplace environment I want to be apart of.


What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?


Brene Brown talks about being clear is being kind. Be brave and provide feedback that is going to help women to grow and reflect on where they may be stumbling. I've found my greatest development has come from the feedback and insights I've received over the years from my managers or colleagues who've had the courage to tell me when my behaviour has hurt them or others. Have real conversations with women even when the message is tough.


What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?


My goal this year is to give more time to my family and friends, especially to my husband and two children, listening and being present with them. Relationships are a huge part of my work and ensuring I'm nurturing these at home is also so important. For me working from home has brought with it the challenge of having boundaries. It's really important to switch off from work and enjoy our time with the treasured people in our lives.


Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?


There are two organisations that I support in Australia. "Fitted for Work" and "Share The Dignity". Both these charities make a difference in the lives of women who may be experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough. They do this in different ways. Fitted for Work helps Australian women experiencing disadvantages get work, keep work and strive at work. Share the Dignity distributes period products to those in need and work to end period poverty here in Australia. Through my workplaces I've partnered and driven donation initiatives to help support both organisations to achieve their goals in helping women in need. At Fitted for Work, I've also been able to support mentoring and training initiatives for women experiencing difficulties getting back into the workplace.


When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?


Destined joined Pledge 1% three years ago. Our program means we have time and resources to help others and give back to our communities. We give back to our local communities by providing time through volunteering for group initiatives and we also importantly provide our knowledge, skills and expertise in Salesforce. Giving back by supporting not for profit organisations that are making a difference to people and our planet is really important to Destined as a Salesforce Partner.


What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?


I love being outdoors and active in the environment whether it's on the beach or amongst trees enjoying the mountains. Two of my favourite activities are mountain biking and hiking. Just before COVID lockdown in Australia I travelled to New Zealand and completed the "Kepler Track" in the Fiordland National Park. This was a huge achievement and really a bucket list item for me. The four day walk and scenery were beyond anything I could have ever imagined, however I'm grateful to the support of the seven women who inspired me to keep going when I questioned whether I had the courage to finish it.


Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!


'Bet on Talent' by Dee Ann Turner and 'Dare to Lead Podcast' with Brene Brown - both amazing women who I admire.


What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?


Keeping a routine has been really important especially working and managing two kids who had to home school for a short time. Getting dressed for work was also really important to help my mindset to separate work and home commitments. Lastly, as a person who loves time with people face to face, keeping connected with others was so important for my mental health. Daily video huddles and google chats have been great for me to feel I'm not losing contact with people.