What is your role at Chemistry and what does that entail?


As a Lead Consultant at Chemistry, I help clients differentiate and achieve sustainable success through people. Surrounded by awesome talent, together we blend the worlds of psychology, business, and technology to deliver award-winning methodologies. I also take the Chemistry brand to market through events, conferences and assisting to grow our presence in the US.


How did you celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day?


IWD to me is about celebrating individuality, authenticity, diversity and inclusion. It’s about celebrating all the amazing woman around you as well as celebrating yourself. This IWD, to celebrate individuality, I wore a sweater that visually represented ‘me’. To celebrate the woman who give me strength and are my foundation, I took the time to tell them what they mean to me. To celebrate, diversity and inclusion, together with some fabulously fierce women, I planned an event: ‘Diversity & Inclusion: It Pays Off!’ It’s going to be a great evening of discussion, sharing, and learning. One of my fave women, Carol Rosati OBE, Founder of the Inspire Network, is keynote speaker. Carol defines what it means to be a global champion of women. The Queen herself agrees, having awarded Carol an OBE for ‘Services to Women In Business’.


Has there ever been a time in your career where you felt being a woman has held you back?


Having specialized in my industry for 15 years in Australia, I came to the US having worked hard to earn, and command, respect in the most hardened ‘boys’ clubs’ in Australia; Financial Services and Sport. I was used to being treated as an equal in all respects. If someone referred to me as ‘wearing the pants’ it was because I did (far comfier, right, Hillary?). If men referred to me as strong, resilient, opinionated, or even bossy; it was because I am and they respected that. Then at the end of 2013, I moved to the United States. Arriving in NYC armed with only a passport, two suitcases and dreams to be realised, I was full of optimism, self-belief, and a blind faith in what Frankie said – ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!’ Very quickly I gained a newfound respect for ole blue-eye’s lyrics. Within twelve months, I had experienced more misogyny, and witnessed more dismissive behaviour toward women and diverse groups than I had in my entire career in Australia. Especially attitudes toward unmarried and gay woman, transgender people and people from minority backgrounds. That is why recent movements and uprisings across the United States have been far from surprising for this Aussie expat. They say ‘a match is nothing until it strikes resistance’, well until moving here I would’ve described myself as apolitical. And a feminist as one of those amazing 70’s trailblazers that opened the doors for my generation. Fast forward to 2018 and I am all in! Call me Hashtag Harry but #blacklivesmatter #loveislove #womansrightsarehumanrights #timesup #metoo #shepersisted #whiteribbon – the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, there is still much to be done in Australia too. Fun fact, apparently there are more men named Andrew running Australia’s top 100 companies than there are women running them in total. However, back home my experience was of a nation far more evolved in their attitude to women and diversity & inclusion. My experience was women held women back just as much as men. I guess you could say I felt greater equality even in our misogyny!



And on the flip side, has being a woman ever been an advantage for you in your role?


I wouldn’t say being a woman has ever been an advantage for me in my career. Certainly, there are enabling traits and behaviors that help to define what success looks like in our industry that are often misrepresented as ‘feminine’. Enablers that have been advantageous for me in my career; enablers that I see everyday in the fabulous women I work and play with. But I see the same enablers just as much in the men I work and play with. I don’t buy into gender stereotypes.



What advice would you give young women entering the world of work today?


I would first steal a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Be Yourself, everyone else is taken!” I would also say; don’t take no for an answer or be defined by gender stereotypes or biases; remember to be true to YOURself, YOUR dreams and YOUR goals; that femininity and feminism are mutually exclusive, you can be both, either, or neither (same goes for being maternal and a mother), and to keep growing and evolving in any direction you desire. To quote my power anthem below “I’m still an embryo, with a long, long way to go” . . . and I’ve been at it for nearly 20 years. Your career, like life, will be an amazing journey. Sometimes it’ll be a crazy roller coaster full of ups and downs and at other times it’ll make you feel like you can do anything. In the end, it’s your journey, so you do you: find your tribe, your rhythm and dance to your own beat! Hmmmm. . . . what else have I seen on a coffee mug lately? Oh, “You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé!” (Editor’s note: I’m still confused if that’s a motivating mantra or designed to crush spirits!).

“Within twelve months, I had experienced more misogyny, and witnessed more dismissive behaviour toward women and diverse groups than I had in my entire career in Australia.”

Lara Osbourne

What do you think is the single biggest issue currently facing women/ feminism?


Power. Power and the unfortunate need for women to fight for it, struggle to keep it, or apologise for having it. I think the election of a President who was caught on tape gloating about how fame allowed him to grab women sexually served as a metaphor for many: When a person leverages their positional power to take advantage without consequence. Then along came the Harvey Weinstein story to underscore that having power deemed him worthy of greater protection for habitually exposing himself than those women who had tried to expose him! Harvey, his pot plant escapades, and the many accounts of his grotesque power plays over women were a catalyst for others to speak up, be heard, and spark a movement. That kind of coercive, unwanted power over another person, whether sexual, physical, emotional, cultural, or financial is simply wrong. History demonstrates that in times of loss or oppression, the oppressed get angry and they mobilize. It is fabulous to see so many groups rising up!


If you were to start your career again what would you do differently?


Rethink the ‘wise words’ of wisdom I received from trusted mentors in the early 90’s that ‘Sports Psychology was no place for a young woman’. Life has so many sliding doors! Some I have been escorted, encouraged or pushed through. Some have been shut hard in my face. Some I’ve walked face first into, never seeing the glass, but for most part, I’d like to think the doors I saw as portals to opportunity and growth, I’ve grabbed firmly by the knob and sashayed through!



Who is a woman that inspires you and why?


My real-life Wonder Woman has always been my Mum – the strongest and most resilient woman I know. A teenage girl thrust into the role of family patriarch after her father passed. Forced to fight to be respected in a male dominated workplace because her outer beauty, youth, and womanhood blinded the men around her from seeing her intellect, ability and tenacity. Mum taught me everything I know about how to be a modern woman. She embodies what it means to be incredibly strong, yet gentle; have a voice, yet listen, and; stand by your values, yet never judge.



What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?


It is so great to see Diversity, Inclusion and the removal of unconscious bias become a CEO level issue in recent times. For too long it was on the HR agenda like a compliance program. Not only is this topic timely and relevant today, but evidence continues to build that diversity results in higher levels of innovation, trust and collaboration. My hope and vision for the future is that more and more governments organizations and communities will strive for a level ‘human’ playing field, drive equality in all its iterations, and thrive on having the right people for the right jobs, regardless of background, education, or gender. That woman, and other diverse groups, will be thriving in greater numbers, not just surviving. That a greater representation of kick-arse woman in leadership will encourage future generations to inspire rather than perspire! To the young girls of the next generation, I wish you much!


What is your go to girl power anthem?


Wow, so many come to mind but I’ll have to give a patriotic shout out to Aussie singer, actress and activist, Helen Reddy and her huge 1970’s international hit ‘I am Woman’. It’s 40+ years old, however the opening lyrics are as powerful and poignant today as they were then: “I am woman, hear me roar. In numbers too big to ignore. And I know too much to go back an’ pretend. ‘Cause I’ve heard it all before and I’ve been down there on the floor. No one’s ever gonna keep me down again” It’s 2018 – TIMESUP – we sure do know too much to go back an’ pretend!