BALLARAT’S young professionals are in for a treat with former Ballarat resident, Rachael Robertson, coming to share her story at Commerce Ballarat’s Young Professionals Network evening event on Wednesday the 15th July.
Rachael was the 2nd female Antarctic expedition leader to Davis Station. She will share the lessons she learned as leader of a year-long expedition to the wilds of Antarctica. Leading eighteen strangers around the clock for a full year— through months of darkness and with no escape from the frigid cold, howling winds and each other. Rachael is a proven leader: having successfully led in the world’s toughest workplace. She is recognised internationally for her thought-leadership on what great leadership actually looks like.
She explores how great leaders build and invest in those around them and turn “moments into momentum” by paying attention to the little things. This is all about showing BIG leadership in SMALL moments.
The Miner recently spoke with Rachael and she was asked what she would be bringing to Ballarat’s young professionals that she had learnt from the expedition. “On a personal level I learnt that it’s better to regret what you did, than regret what you didn’t do, so the expedition gave me a self belief that I didn’t have before and the courage to have a go, which I didn’t have before and I think on a professional level it probably taught me about inspiring leadership, how to inspire people and the fact that people don’t remember what you say or do, they remember how you make them feel,” she said. “That was the feedback I got back from my expedition.” Rachael’s performance review was conducted by a third party, a psychologist who met one on one with her expedition team.
“They told the psychologist they found me inspiring and when I asked what it was, give me some examples what came back was that it wasn’t the big stuff, it wasn’t the fact that I managed the search and rescue for a plane crash or the fact that I delivered a $20million program. “What stood out for my team was that I knew the names of all the people who were on my station. Someone had mentioned their kid had a school concert and the next day I asked him how it had gone – its things like that.” Rachael said that taught her an important lesson to make people feel inspired you have to make them feel valued.
“I think probably the big lesson I will be bringing to Ballarat is respect trumps harmony,” she said. “I think in Australia we put a lot of emphasis on harmony, getting along and mate-ship and I think as our workplaces get more and more diverse we need to face the fact that we won’t see eye to eye. We’ll be working with very different people and that’s awesome, that’s great, that’s how we get innovation. “I think we need to get over the fact that we are all going to be best friends at work and rather than that, and that’s probably what I learnt from my team because we were all so different, really incredibly different, totally different backgrounds, gender, age, religion, sexuality, occupation, you name it, we didn’t all get along yet we had to live together for 24 hours a day for a year and it made me realize that it’s okay that we are not all best mates but we do have to act with respect and professional courtesy.”