60 Seconds on Australian property buying

I was speaking to a friend who was talking about her recent purchase of a home with her long-term partner. And it dawned on her. She had absolutely zero idea what needed to happen next and what it all financially meant for them, for her. It was the cliché “he took care of all of it” situation. Which can be great, but it is also important that women don’t rely on their partners to just “take care of” all things financial in their lives, and not have their own understanding of personal finances. This isn’t an uncommon scenario across women in all walks of life and professions, so if you fall in that camp I recommend checking out my post on Steps to being a financially independent woman. Meanwhile, I have highlighted some headline things you should definitely know a bit about when embarking on property buying, whether by yourself or with your partner.

“Must Dos” when preparing for an interview

I was recently asked for my thoughts on how to best prepare for an interview. It has been awhile since I last had a formal interview, so I reflected on what I have personally learnt from in the past, as well as things I have responded to positively as an interviewer sitting on the other side. There are a number of “must dos” in my opinion that go beyond preparation for the usual behavioural questions like “tell us about a time when you dealt with a difficult situation”, and give a bit more depth to you for the interviewer.

Women in Leadership Summit, Sydney 2017 - perspectives on leadership

At the end of 2017 I attended the Women in Leadership Summit in Sydney. The event ran over several days with a global selection of speakers from a variety of industries and professions. All shared their stories on – surprise, surprise – leadership, in particular from the female perspective. It’s important not to overanalyse and overwork the whole “what is good leadership” thing because everyone has different styles and approaches so you really can’t manufacture something that isn’t true to you.

5 tips for being a charming conversationalist

Execute a polite exit strategy if you’re feeling stuck talking to someone or simply want to move on to chat with someone else. There’s nothing wrong with “It was great chatting with you, I’m just going to have a wander and see who else is here tonight” followed by a friendly departure. Other options are “Excuse me, I’m just going to duck to the restroom” or “I’m sorry to interrupt, it was great to meet you, but I’m just going to try and catch [insert name] over there”. It might feel uncomfortable or impolite to do this at first, however I have observed many CEOs, senior leaders and managing partners slip away from a group in exactly such a way.  

Establishing your own personal board

It should go without saying that part of having a career plan for yourself is the need to regularly monitor, review and track your progress against the objectives. And whilst you may do an annual review and reflect upon your own performance, there’s nothing more valuable than obtaining constructive feedback from others. Just as many organisations have a board of directors overseeing the performance of a strategic plan, it is invaluable to have a personal “board” to at least loosely hold you to account for your plan and give you pointed feedback when needed. 

Investing in your career, Warren Buffett-style

I recently watched a documentary about Warren Buffett. It was a really insightful story that illustrated the key themes that underpin how Mr Buffett came to be the Oracle of Omaha. You don’t need to be a finance or investment professional to appreciate and understand these key principles on making good investment decisions. In fact, what I found incredibly useful was thinking about how three particularly Buffett-esque investment principles could have very clear and powerful application to how one should approach their career. Because put simply, you do need to invest in your career if you want it to grow. These foundations for investing highlighted by Warren Buffett provide a fairly good basic framework for how you should invest in yourself professionally to deliver value to yourself over the long term. 

Developing your own personal strategic plan

The strategic planning a business undertakes is done on a framework that is designed to identify anoverarching mission/vision, objectives to further that, and supporting activities and initiatives to achieve those objectives. Long-term planning for yourself at both a personal and professional level should also adopt this same formula, to provide a clear framework for how to go about achieving your goals.

Tricks to conquer your internal willpower battle

I recently read an interesting article about what the author described as “The Willpower Instinct” and it got me thinking about how it applies more broadly. I would describe it as us all experiencing an internal joust between our “now-self” and our “future-self” at various moments in our lives. This is in essence the nature of our struggle with willpower. Now-self is about #YOLO #FOMO and wants to experience things immediately, only do the fun and easy stuff, and not think about the consequences. Future-self is the level-headed long-term-thinking you that knows all about the consequences stemming from your now behaviours, and doesn’t want to misbehave for fear of those future ramifications. Put another way, willpower is really the measure of our ability to do something that’s good for and beneficial to us, but for whatever reason is difficult for us to do.


I have identified the four most common willpower battles that I know I am regularly drawn into. Sometimes I lose the fight, but I like to think I have built up some learned tricks in the arsenal so each time that same duel arises (which it certainly will), my future-self will have a better chance at conquest.  

How do you define success?

“I wouldn’t want to work for someone else my whole life, dedicating my energy to someone else’s cause. Regardless of how senior or revered I become or how great of an organisation it might be, that isn’t what I would personally see as success. I want to define and create my own path, and whatever output comes from that is what I can be truly proud of, look back on and say I have lived a full life working towards that.” 

My first bad working experience

One of my earliest work experiences was as a sales assistant at a fashionable womenswear brand during my university days. It was also in this job that I had one of my first terrible, astonishing, slap-in-the-face-awful working experiences. The job paid a wage of about $18 per hour, and I worked about 2-3 five hour shifts per week. On any given shift you would be working with 3-4 other girls. Each of us had an allocated sales target to try and reach during the shift. We didn’t get penalised for not reaching the target, nor did we receive commissions. The targets weren’t really there for any reason other than as a gentle stick to push you to make sales, which was really not hard if you just smiled and engaged in conversation with the shoppers that walked through the door. Anyhow, I had been working in this job for about three months and things were going swimmingly until the regional manager called me into the back office together with the store manager for a chat.

Using your professional skills, personally

My father was diagnosed a number of years ago with an extremely rare, degenerative, neurological disease called MERRF (Myoclonic Epilepsy with Ragged Red Fibres). It is a genetic disease that means his muscles will gradually weaken and deteriorate over time. Also symptomatic of MERRF are hearing loss and dementia. All of which my father is currently experiencing. He also has a life-long history of depression, and this has been exacerbated by the disease. However most problematic are the associated behavioural issues my father is going through – his irrational and rigid thinking, paranoia and irritability.

An introvert's take on networking

Some of us take a short-term and outcomes focused approach to networking, treating it as a means to gather work/industry intel and potentially open up job or professional opportunities in the future. And this outcome is often the main driver for us attending events to uncomfortably hold a glass of wine in one hand, skewer in another and smile at strangers politely. This superficial form of networking at events with strangers that you have no real connection with apart from bumping into them at the same conferences a few times a year, is understandably not appealing to most. There’s a net. And there’s work. How could that be appealing?

Tips from the Shoe Dog

I don’t describe myself as an entrepreneur, I don’t believe I have the fearlessness that a true entrepreneur has. Although I know a little of what it means to be a business owner and certainly the challenges faced by one both operationally and personally. In reading Shoe Dog, there were some learnings and experiences Mr Nike describes that really resonated with me and I think would with other business owners whether they be in the startup phase or are already established businesses.

4 mistakes holding you back from success at work

I was talking to one of my oldest and dearest friends recently and almost fell off my chair when she told me she turned down a promotion because she “wasn’t ready”.  She is smart, talented, capable and clearly her workplace agrees with these descriptions of her to offer the promotion. Yet she felt she needed more time working in her current role building up her knowledge of the organisation and job before she could handle greater responsibilities.

Steps to being a financially independent woman

“I like my money where I can see it, hanging in my closet”

Many women around the world remember the awe and wonder they felt over Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe (and that bankruptcy inducing shoe collection). What some of us may not remember is the brief conversation the four friends had around their approaches to their finances, and how apart from Miranda being the corporate lawyer and therefore the most financially savvy (a completely inaccurate stereotype in my humble opinion), the women did not appear to have any strong engagement with financial planning into the long-term future. The women of SATC were smart, independent, sophisticated individuals advocating the power of womanhood #girlpower. And yet they all appeared to spend quite frivolously on designer wardrobes and live extravagant lifestyles, without giving much airtime to how they did so in a financially responsible way.

Why we do the things we do

Raised by tiger parents who sought refuge in Australia from Cambodia over thirty years ago, I have always had it drilled into me the importance of having a good education and working hard in a chosen profession (and by chosen profession I mean one of the following options: doctor or lawyer). I went to law school and like every other Melbourne University law student, for one reason or another felt that the chosen path would obviously be to practice as a lawyer in a large law firm and become Harvey Spectre (actually I lie, Suits wasn’t even in production back then).

Signs your workplace is like an abusive relationship

Everyone will experience a time in their career when they feel unhappy in their job. Sometimes you can chalk it down to bad days. Other times, bad phases that you know will eventually pass. But there are occasions when it’s more than just an off day at work, or a lousy project you have to work on. These are the periods where every day is never ending and/or feelings of anxiety are relentless.

Chivalry is not dead - why you should open doors for others in the workplace

I attended a conference once where a highly regarded senior leader said to her room of avid listeners, “For every door that is opened for you, you should remember to open one for someone else”. She went on to describe how she had by happenstance come across remarkable and influential people who had been supportive of her development in her career, and if not for those people giving her opportunities to succeed, she would not have found the success she has today. 

What bad career advice sounds like

ears ago as a bright eyed and impressionable university student, I was fortunate enough to be selected for a one on one coaching session with a renown corporate career coach. And to this day one distinct piece of advice imparted upon me that day sticks out – “You have to pick a footy team”. This was after the coach asked me what AFL team I go for, to which I had responded “I don’t really like football”.