What better way to continue celebrating International Women’s Day than with our next guest Bianca Bowron-Cuthill, Smokeball’s General Manager, who is an advocate for building inclusive workplace cultures and leadership.
Bianca is an award-winning global executive with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. She has led global and local teams in Australia with a passion for delivering world-class customer experiences, where teams under her leadership have won awards in both service and innovation.
"Think about why you want to lead? See yourself in the position and back it up with the skills. Be resilient, show tenacity and grit to succeed in leadership. Be prepared to get knocked back and try again."
Watch the video below to learn more about Bianca’s story and how building a genuinely inclusive culture supports all employees and creates a sense of belonging.
What has been a key asset to your success?
When I look back, I’ve had an extensive career and many unique experiences along the way. Each experience shapes you to become a better human, a better leader, a better person. These have become the building blocks of effective leadership.
In my 20’s, I would take all opportunities presented to me and say ‘yes’. Now, it is about finding purpose, direction, and what goals to reach. What I wanted to accomplish from each of those experiences has really helped me focus on what I wanted to achieve with new roles that now present themselves.
Have you been able to leverage a support network?
Yes, it is vital to invest in your personal growth and development. One of the phrases I came across a couple of years ago through working with other strong women in leadership is “Who are your personal board of directors?”. Who are the people you go to? Is it your family network, friends, managers, people who support you and will call you out (the truth sayers).
It is an interesting way to think about the situation when we are making important career decisions. For me, this has been key, and it is this group that has empowered me to grow the most.
What barriers have you come across in leadership?
We are all faced with many barriers. It’s never been easy to juggle a demanding career and a family with two kids. Successful women effectively manage their time to increase their quality of life while also managing responsibilities. The ‘clock in clock out’ stigma doesn’t exist anymore. If you’re trying to manage work and family simultaneously, it’s worth rethinking what “balance” means. While healthy habits can help you manage work and family, there’s no such thing as a perfect medium.
As new policies and employees are brought into an organisation, there may be those who are resistant to change. I work hard to ensure I don’t work in those environments and don’t create that culture for my team. As a senior leader, I can call that out and watch how people respond to that feedback, which helps me work through the process.
How do you build inclusive workplace cultures?
Looking back at my circle of trust, I’ve learnt many valuable techniques from a woman who inspired me and has walked the path. I learnt how to adapt those teachings into a leadership style that works for my organisation and me - role modelling and leading by example.
I look for diversity, inclusion, and women like me when I join new companies. Establishing gender balance and having an eclectic mix of thoughts, ideas, and experiences is what builds great cultures - not a vanilla team that ticks a box. It's essential to have an open mindset and learn from one another.
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