Catherine

Innovation Consultant
Business

What did you want to be or do when you left school. How does this compare with where you are now?

When I left school, I thought I would become the next CFO. This idea failed fast! Now, I am finally living my purpose: as an innovation consultant, my everyday goal is to find ways to create value for the customers, and as a coach, I help people see their potential, be their best and kick their goals!

Are you able to provide information about your qualifications, this helps others seeking information about careers in your industry.

I have a Master of Economics, Finance and Banking from the University of Paris II, a Postgraduate Certificate in Marketing and Digital Communications from Monash, a Design Thinking Certification from Harvard Business Online and a Certificate IV in Workplace and Business Coaching.

What are some of the coolest things you like about working in your industry?

During my career, I worked in many different industries: finance, water, construction, IT and automotive. One of the most incredible experiences is seeing a desalination plant built from the ground up and working on innovative and ground-breaking projects using new tech. In my current role, I am future-looking and working on data and EVs to create tomorrow’s products, which I think is pretty cool.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

No two days are the same in innovation: we might have processes and tools in place, but the problems we are solving are always different, and so are our customers’ needs and wants. I enjoy the diversity of the issues we solve and knowing that our products create value for the customers and the organisation.

Wearing my other hat, as a leadership coach, I enjoy discovering my coachees’ challenges and working together towards achieving their goals. It is a gratifying process to see their mindset shift when they experience a breakthrough. The best part is when they share their wins with me: knowing they are thriving and becoming their best selves is the most gratifying feeling for a coach.

What successful strategies have you used that have helped you transition to working in a non-traditional industry?

I worked in many industries, including water, construction, accounting, IT, and automotive. Most of these industries are heavily male-dominated, with the odd female here and there. Honestly, it was hard most of the time, to have a voice at the table and be credible. I was also a somewhat reserved and shy office worker at the time, easily intimidated too: everyone was a competition!

The breakthrough moment for me came when I stopped seeing these people as competition but sought to understand what I could learn from them and started to triage people according to traits I wanted to develop and some I wanted to stop having.
I started to notice a pattern: apart from being incredibly smart, women who succeeded in the environment confidently owned their grounds. They stopped being pleasers; they knew their worth and spoke openly. But most importantly, they knew how to handle conflict, understood office politics, and had mentors.

By reframing my views of how I saw my peers, I could self-develop and navigate politics with more confidence. I also found multiple mentors to whom I could bounce ideas back. Not all of them knew they were, I think. Finding a mentor, a champion, or a sponsor is critical to your development in the workplace.

How did you get started in your career pathway and what helped you along your career journey?

After many years following opportunities that arose, I finally decided to get some coaching to help me understand my purpose. Once I learned what drove me every morning, I started exploring options more aligned with my core values. I purposely pursued self-development in my areas of interest: entrepreneurship, design thinking and coaching, and that’s how I landed my last roles in marketing and innovation.

What or who has influenced your career pathway?

I get inspiration from everyday people, especially migrants who come with their bare hands and manage to build something for their children as a legacy. I also admire entrepreneurs for their grit and resilience in living their passion.

In school what subjects did you enjoy most or were good at?

I enjoyed studying math and philosophy. These were subjects that made me think in new and different ways.

 

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