Women in Recruitment Virtual Event Recap
Imagine this, it’s 50 degrees celsius, broad daylight, and you’re flying a helicopter in the middle of the desert. You’re getting ready to land a helicopter of 18 troops into the middle of a war zone and the enemy strikes. Hard to relate, right? Maybe this is a scene from a movie or the beginning of a war novel? In fact it’s actually the opening story told at our Women In Recruitment Virtual Event last week by our special guest speaker, Kate Munari. Kate at her time of service, was the only Australian female helicopter pilot embedded in the British Royal Marine Commando’s Helicopter Force. Completing three tours of duty in Afghanistan, she captained missions day and night into some of the most hostile areas of the war torn country.
Bullhorn’s Women in Recruitment series aims to provide a forum for recruiters to openly discuss key challenges and opportunities that female recruiters regularly face. Our goal is to empower continuous improvements to the industry through this event. Running this initiative globally, the series enables us to hear the experiences of women around the world and share their key learnings. Our latest Sydney event was headlined by Kate and followed by mini workshop discussions which were facilitated by key industry leaders including; Tania Sinibaldi, Tracy Meskan, Suzie McInerney, Erin Evans, Jodie Rickett, Lee Whitaker, Lauren Thom and Rita Badin.
So what does a Navy helicopter pilot and a recruitment leader have in common you might ask? Plenty! As aircraft captain and formation commander, Kate led teams in some of the most challenging workplace conditions and was responsible for making tough decisions during very critical moments. Her presentation focused on the key themes of managing stress, resilience and adversity, leadership and gender diversity, all topics we can relate to in our industry, especially through the challenges we’ve all faced this year.
Kate began her presentation by relating her opening story of her first mission in Afghanistan with the importance of always being prepared and having sufficient training in order to be successful, minimise disruption and operate effectively. “The same rules apply for business” she explained, “Planning and preparation are essential for those successful outcomes”. She offered up a plethora of techniques on how to manage stress so you are always prepared to deal with any situation that is thrown at you, even suggesting ideas that you can use outside of work hours.
We can all agree that in the role of a recruiter, stress is not helpful to how we operate. Especially in tricky situations like a candidate pulling out of a role less than 24 hours before they are supposed to start on a clients critical project, or trying to find new business in the height of a pandemic in order to hit your quarterly target. It is always important to remember that you know yourself best, make sure you are recognising your signs of stress and how you can process it.
When outlining qualities of a successful leader, Kate discussed the importance of being a good communicator and knowing your team. This was a model she found really worked for her. She explained that it’s important to be “direct, honest and respectful”. She talked on the importance of knowing your team and detailed different ways to empower them to be the best they could be.
For the second half of the event we ran workshop style round table discussions. The topic of leadership was discussed by some groups at length. One workshop group, hosted by Lee Whitaker from Kyloe concluded that they felt the best leadership came from managers who provided a mix of emotional and problem solving support. In order to grow as an individual, the group discussed the importance of having a genuine leader to learn from within your business. Alternatively they recommended finding a mentor within your industry whether it be someone of higher seniority or someone of a similar level of experience. Having someone you can bounce ideas off or go to for advice will help you grow as an individual.
Mindset is key in overcoming challenges both in your career and in your life. After Kate’s presentation, herself and Rita Badin from Bullhorn sat down for a fireside chat. Rita asked Kate if she could offer up any advice on how to inspire resilience under pressure? Kate suggested that as a leader “if you’re the person who never takes a break, does the long hours, always takes work home, your setting examples to your team on what not to do”. Something many leaders are often guilty of.
During the roundtable discussions Tracey Meskan from Workpac’s group felt that a great way for leaders to build resilience within their teams was to trust people with more responsibility. Expose juniors to opportunities that will help them grow. Resilience doesn’t just have to be built in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to explore opportunities such as team building exercises and team sports to help build resilience within your teams.
Suzie McInerney from Six Degrees Executive’s roundtable group discussed the importance of being vulnerable when building resilience. It’s important to be vulnerable, share how you are feeling and ask for feedback. This will help manage your stresses and concerns and often results in highlighting you are doing better than you thought you were.
Kate’s experience in the Navy was slightly different to her colleagues. When she joined Commando Helicopter Force she was the only female in this role at her workplace. Some people were oblivious to her gender whilst others felt she “wouldn’t fit in”.
We’ve definitely started to see a shift in the recruitment industry, however it’s fair to say it’s still quite a male dominated industry. Kate detailed many ways to deal with the working climate that she was in and explained that she aligned herself “ towards people who were positive towards me being there, who didn’t have an issue with my gender and didn’t focus on it one way or another”.
Keep up to date with other events taking place at Bullhorn, check out our events page here.