Aligned and Thriving Podcast | Strategies for Work Life Balance

The Defining Moment: when Head, Heart, and Body Align for Change with Kathie Elliott Scott

March 04, 2024 Judith Bowtell | Career Development for Achieving Work-Life Balance Episode 10
Aligned and Thriving Podcast | Strategies for Work Life Balance
The Defining Moment: when Head, Heart, and Body Align for Change with Kathie Elliott Scott
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In Episode 10 of "Aligned and Thriving," the hosts welcome Kathie Elliott Scott, founder and principal at Square Pegs Consulting, as the guest. The episode explores the intersection of work, wellness, and chronic pain, discussing the challenges and triumphs of achieving work-life balance. Kathie's extensive background in business development, marketing, and not-for-profit sectors adds a unique perspective to the conversation.

Podcast Episode Summary

  • The discussion highlights Kathie's recent decision to refocus on her passion for working with small to medium not-for-profits, emphasizing the importance of reflecting on personal values.
  • Kathie shares insights into her journey, including her disciplined upbringing in dance, the challenges of the corporate world, and the pivotal moment when she transitioned to the not-for-profit sector.
  • Kathie's decision to establish Square Pegs Consulting emerges from recognizing the gap in resources for smaller organizations and her commitment to making a meaningful difference.
  • Kathie shares insights into her recent decision to prioritize work-life balance, reflecting on the importance of aligning personal values with professional pursuits.
  • Transition from a partnership manager role to a consultant, fueled by a desire for flexibility and alignment with values.
  • Kathie emphasizes the importance of passion and purpose in her consultancy work, sharing insights from the TV for All campaign.
  • The role of values in Kathie's consultancy, the significance of aligning values with clients, and the impact on the quality of work.
  • Kathie's experience managing chronic illness throughout her life, her genetic disorder affecting collagen, and the importance of prioritizing herself.

Kathie Website: Square Pegs Consulting


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Episode 10 - The Defining Moment: when Head, Heart, and Body Align for Change

[00:00:00] Welcome everyone to episode 10 of Aligned and Thriving. Today we're going to be talking about work, wellness, and chronic pain, the triple threat of work life balance. And our guest today is Kathie Elliot Scott. So hello, Kathie.

[00:00:23] No, Judith, and happy birthday!

[00:00:26] Oh, thank you very much. Are you going to sing?

[00:00:29] No. I won't, I won't inflict that upon your listeners.

[00:00:33] I think that's very wise. Thank you for your good wishes. And thank you to everyone who's reached out on social media as well. I do appreciate it. And I'm having a great birthday because I get to coach. And I get to record this podcast. So in terms of work life balance and living by values, this day is all lined up. But it's not all work. I'm going away this weekend for a long weekend as well. So I'm getting that balance in for myself. But let's start off by finding out a bit more about Kathie Elliot Scott, who is the founder and principal at Square Pegs Consulting. So Kathie is a seasoned business development and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in diverse industries, such as transport and logistics, HR and recruitment, and the not for profit sector. And that's how I met Kathie. We worked together on a project in the not for profit sector. As a former professional dancer, she has had an enduring passion for the arts and a proven track record in fostering corporate and government partnerships, strategic planning, social impact, sponsorships, fundraising and advocacy campaigns. During her career, Kathie has secured over 15 million dollars in funding. And that doesn't just happen. That takes so much work. I know that. Our colleagues in the sector know that. So, big round of applause. And that has been for national and international projects. She's also managed diplomatic and corporate relationships. And profiled both the arts and disability sectors globally. That's not all. She's also served as a director on the boards of several organisations, such as Anywhere Theatre Festival, Australian Pain Management Association, the 1 3 9 Club and it's the Women's Support Center in Queensland. The Chronic Pain Australia and Chair of Super Cell Dance Festival. She's currently part of the Peer Assessor panel for the Australia Council for the Arts in 2023 Kathie was recognized by Fand P, which is the fundraising and Philanthropy magazine as one of Australasia's movers and shakers. We love him movers and shakers. Kathie's notable projects and achievements include securing funding and managing international collaborations, diplomatic and corporate involvement for Arts Access Australia's Artists with Disability project, flash workshops in Berlin. Creating successful public awareness and advocacy campaigns, such as the hashtag TV for all, which successfully brought funding for audio description to free to air television for the first time in Australian history. That was a massive achievement. She also ran the hashtag be that person, which assisted people who are blind or vision impaired through COVID in conjunction with the kindness pandemic. And she also created the inaugural Booktober campaign for WestWords, which is a literature development organisation in Western Sydney helping them win the Telstra NRL Best Small Business Competition in 2021, and the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence in 2020 and 2021. She's also Negotiated and launch several significant accessibility initiatives on behalf of Q Music, including an Australian first scholarship to be awarded annually to the Queensland musician with disability. So that is our amazing guest that we have with us today. And I kind of wish I had an open. Line at the moment, so you could all just ask Kathie questions, but maybe that's for another day. But yes, her company is called Square Pegs Consulting and we'll have all those details in the show notes. So if you are somebody looking for that sort of support, you can contact her directly. Or you can look up any of those organisations to find out about those projects. Okay. So Kathie, what have you done lately in all of that? What have you done lately to improve your work life balance?

[00:04:42] Well, I'm overwhelmed just listening to all of that. So part of what I've done actually is taken a little step back. So last year was a very, very busy year. I took on working part time for QMusic as the Director of Partnerships and Philanthropy which was fabulous. But there's always a but isn't there. But taking that on as well as trying to run SquarePegs, I quickly learned that I had over committed myself. And the type of person I am is I don't like to leave people in the lurch. So I just pushed through. And we had a really successful year as you talked about I'm really proud of the fact that there'll be a brand new scholarship starting at the Queensland Music Awards this year for a musician with disability. I created a lot of new access opportunities for both audiences and artists within Big Sound. Queensland Music Awards and Ballet Fiesta, but on top of that, I also did close to a million dollars worth in sponsorship for them and managed a number of government relationships as well. So over Christmas, I decided that I needed to take a direction, like what is it that I want to do? We're not getting any younger. And so it's like, that question about what matters to me, and I think it's a key question that I use in life with a lot of things. So when I'm talking to potential funders, when I'm talking to potential clients, like what matters to you? And I felt that it was time to reflect that question on myself. And what matters to me was a work life balance. It's great being busy. It's great being involved in things and unfortunately I think sometimes we have that little ego that loves all of that stuff. But I think sometimes we also have to go. You know what I don't have to be everything to everybody and so my passion has always lied in working with small to medium not for profits. And helping them develop income streams that are diversified and sustainable. And so that's what I'm going back to. So I'm almost back at square one, starting up again with looking for new clients. After having finished with QMusic at the end of January I am still working with Westworks and I have done for a number of years as one of my long term clients, which Judith actually referred me to. So that was amazing. And I already have a couple lined up that will be starting in the next week or two, so I don't seem to sit around for too long waiting. 

[00:07:16] That's great.. I love that you frame this reflection around what is most important to you. When I work with my clients, what gets you up in the morning? What is it that brings you most joy? What is it that, where you feel happiest and most confident in doing your work? And if you can spend 60 percent of your time at least doing that, you've probably got a close to ideal working life as you're ever going to get. So well done, well done on making that decision. I'm sure QMusic appreciates everything you've done for them and you've set them up in a much stronger position than they would have been. And now it's time to spread your magic somewhere else.

[00:07:52] Well, I actually still will be doing some consulting with Qmusic. So that's always really flattering, isn't it? When you say, look, I can't do this any longer. And then they're like, okay, well, how can we do this? So I said to the CEO and, you can cut this word if it's not allowed on your podcast, but I said, I make a shit employee, but I make a really excellent consultant and he tended to agree. So that's where we're back at now is that I'm just doing, some key things for them in a consulting capacity.

[00:08:22] Fantastic, fantastic. So let's just take a bit of a step back from where you are now. And can I ask you, where did it all begin for you? What did you learn as a child about work and life?

[00:08:36] That's a really interesting question. So, I grew up very disciplined in terms of dance classes almost every day. Because that was my key passion and luckily my mum supported me in that. So, for me, I guess, there was a lot of discipline, or, there's always been a lot of discipline in the dance world, and in particular in ballet, and I've seen that reflected in studies, I've seen that just anecdotally, talking to people, like, often. Often people that are trained dancers have really strong discipline. And so I think that coupled with seeing, my mum as a single mum, working to support my dreams, it really made me see that everything you do needs to matter. And it's like, even if the job that mum was doing wasn't something she was particularly, enthralled with, it mattered to her because it was supporting our dream for me to go on to be a professional dancer, which I did. So, I think that those are the key takeaways for me.

[00:09:38] Yeah, so doing something that matters. So even if what you're doing is perhaps, in itself it doesn't matter, but because it's fulfilling that other part of you. And I think that is a lot of people who are parents can resonate with that, that you're doing this work because of another outcome that's required. Michelle Hayes speaks of her parents getting up to run paper rounds early in the morning because they had. Four, five, a big family of children to be. That's in episode eight. And then our episode with Michael Nest, when he talks about, how he got to writing a novel. But it was against the background of having to do a nine to five job because his consultancy basically shut down during COVID. So he went in, become a nine to five worker. I think a bit like you, a bit of a shit employee, brilliant consultant. And so he had created something else, but he had to do that for a whole range of reasons which were family, relationship, et cetera. So I think that's something a lot of us can relate to that we do that. Right. And so how did that discipline and that focusing on what you matter, how did that support you when you were growing up and starting out in work?

[00:10:45] Just by giving me that basis of there was no option not to do something. And what I mean by that is you don't have the excuses getting in the way. So it's about making things happen. It's about delivering on what you say you're going to do. And so I think that comes again from that dancing background where it's about practice, practice, practice. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't practice and you don't learn those technical skills, then you're not going to reach to the level that you want to reach to. So it's combining those things of yes, you might be really talented at something, but if you don't practice it and you don't work hard at it, you're not going to get there. So for me, I guess, jumping ahead of when I finished dancing professionally because of an accident. I had to actually get a real job, which I was kind of like, what do I do? You know, I'd left school to dance and I traveled the world dancing and being in a circus. And then in my mid twenties, I was thrown a curve ball of, okay, what do I do now? And so I think it's like I took that discipline, that work ethic that I had from dancing into the next roles that I had and so that was really about the no excuses I mean, it's probably quite harsh really when I look at it and in today's society . But it worked for me and it meant that I was generally successful at most things I did but the byproduct of that interestingly is, I thought that that's what was important at that time, was to be successful, to be the best salesperson, to be the best whatever it is that I was doing. At not thinking about the cost to me in terms of my life as a whole so striving to have that really great title, striving to win these awards and actually not really delving deep into who I am, and whether that actually is serving my needs.

[00:12:42] So 

[00:12:42] Yeah, so this was in when you were doing your HR work, your recruitment. work these experiences where you

[00:12:50] probably prior to that, so when I finished dancing I then stumbled upon working in the transport industry. And the funny story about why that is, is because I thought, oh, I like traveling, so I think I might become a flight attendant. So, therefore, in my strange way of thinking, I thought working for ANSET couriers would get me in as a flight attendant. Never did. But what it did get me in was the transport industry, and I worked my way up within that industry relatively quickly. And I was the very first woman in New Zealand to run a transport company by the age of 28. That was just purely through, as I say, hard work, dedication bloody mindiness, really, if that's in all honesty. I don't think, I was necessarily the best at anything, but I was probably the most persistent and the most tenacious. So it was like, I'm very results driven and I always have been, and I think again that comes from the dancing background. So that came from there. So I reached to that level and then moved, when I moved to Australia. In the early 2000s the transport industry in Australia was quite backward compared to New Zealand. And there was not really a space for me. They couldn't quite fathom I had the knowledge that I had. So I moved into recruitment, but so I was recruiting transport people and logistics people. And that's sort of where I made that move into recruitment in HR.

[00:14:19] Okay, right. So I think that's fascinating that New Zealand was a much more open opportunity in some ways for that time in your life where you really focus on your career, and this is quite common. I see it in my clients, I see it in myself, is that in your 20s, it really is a time you can just focus on your goals and what you want to achieve at work. And when we were growing up, that was often at the cost of our work life balance, but that was okay, because everyone was doing it, so there was no one to go out with anyway, because we were all sort of stuck in that mindset, if we were from that background. And then when it comes into your thirties, I guess that's when a lot of my colleagues and friends were starting to have babies and form families and buy houses and do that sort of stuff. So this is Gen X people speaking. And so the focus might shift a bit there into finding a bit more work-life balance because you've got family commitments, but it's still work. It's not like time for yourself is really a priority. And then we hit our forties and we go. Hang on. Hang on. Who am I? Why am I doing this? What do I need now? And often when my clients turn up at my door going, I think I want to do something else, but it's something else is sitting underneath there. And that's that other values are coming forward that need attention. Yeah. So

[00:15:38] 100%. Yeah, I think for me Judith, I stayed in that corporate world probably through to kind of mid 30s and then really did have that epiphany, I guess, of where it didn't align with my values and I was creating and hitting my targets and getting the results, but then I was like going, but all this is doing is, it's just filling up the coffers of a corporate and at that time where I was working, we had a wonderful program that we were working with the Smith family on, and I was sort of driving that from the corporate side, and then an opportunity came up. And Smith family said, well, we're going to try something new and we really want to try having corporate partnerships managers that actually come from a corporate background and go out to corporates to find alignment and find people to fund the programs that we do. So would you consider? Coming across to the dark side so to speak and I did that and never looked back. That was kind of my changing, changing sliding doors moment.

[00:16:39] Yeah. Oh, wow. Wow. So, yes, so be able to take all the knowledge and experience he had in the networks and bring it to something that you was it said at the beginning of the like things that matter, the things that matter for you and working with Smith family, which is an amazing organisation. So, yeah. Oh, how wonderful. How wonderful is that? What was some of the challenges, I guess that you had in making that change? Or maybe at that time in your career, what were some of the challenges? And then we'll move into the consulting world and see how that's worked out for you too. Yeah.

[00:17:13] So I think the biggest challenge with that was resourcing. So moving from a corporate to a not for profit was a little bit of a shell shock. In terms of the resourcing. Just being able to do anything. Everything was done on a shoestring. And also, I guess, moving into a situation where it's not actually a thing or a service that you're selling. Where we were before selling recruitment or previously selling space on a truck for transport . He was selling a dream he was selling a way that you can impact the future here is a way that you could sell that you could make your company a better corporate citizen. So that just upped the challenge in terms of how you story told how you created the motivation for them to get involved so needed to find patients, which I never had in my life. Definitely was not a strong suit of mine. And so they needed to learn patience because whilst that might be a high priority for me to get all these corporates on board supporting the program, as you can imagine in a corporate land, supporting a charity is probably very low on their to do list. So, it was having to come up with different ways to actually get them to commit, get them to move forward, so that really taught me a lot in terms of listening, finding the ways to actually make things happen, so, yeah, it was very interesting. And I think leading that through into where I got into consulting was I was with Smith family for a few, for a couple of years, then I moved to Mission Australia in a similar role. So both very, very large organisations their turnover is probably in the millions. And the budget for purely one person like myself on a full time role, I still needed to bring in like a million dollars, right in revenue. And I stopped and thought there's so many small to medium sized not for profits doing amazing things, but they don't have a me. They don't have someone able to help them create partnerships with corporates. They don't have someone able to write compelling grant applications. They don't have someone that can look at ways to do fundraising because quite clearly they're spending their time on actually doing what their mission is. So I saw that was a gap in the market. So that's pretty much where SquarePegs came from was like, okay. The first time I saw it, I guess was as I said before having these budgets of like a million dollars as a partnership manager for a large not for profit, and so going for grants that I would be going this is ridiculous. Like why is Mission Australia getting a 20, 000 grant or a 50, 000 grant that actually, in all fairness, they're going, Oh, that's great. But imagine back in the time when you're at Milk Crate Judith, like, you get 50, 000 there and it's like, oh my gosh, like, this is what we can do with it. And it's just life changing. It's not life changing to Mission Australia. No disrespect to them, but they're scaled up. So I was like, that's where the gap is. And I thought all those sort of smaller little bites could be going to much better use for both the partner and the recipient.

[00:20:34] wow. So this was a really values driven change in that it was again, doing something that really mattered and made a difference. To another layer or to an enhancement of that even further of looking at the need for the sort of services you're providing. And yes, having worked in those little organisations, having been on the board of them, having supported them through my government roles they can't afford a Kathie, they can't afford a full time highly skilled corporate partnership managers, strategist, et cetera, but they can sometimes pull together the money for a consultancy fee to do a project. And that is where Kathie and I met. We met I don't know how I got introduced to you or maybe I just, I don't know, but if I was Milk Crates Theatre I've been on the board and then they asked me to be the CEO while we were going through a bit of change. And yeah, she came in and got some amazing relationships happening and started some fundraising campaigns and changing the messaging and milk crates continued to work on that path measuring their impact and things like that. And so doing good habits around what they are what they do.

[00:21:40] Okay. So. Yeah.

[00:21:42] remember how, how that came about, Judith. So I commented on one of your LinkedIn posts and 'cause you said that you were looking for someone to do those things. And you were like, does anyone have any ideas on how we could do this? And I commented on it and said yes, I can help you. Let's have a chat. And we had a chat and I think you were also chatting to a much larger consultancy at the time and they had a fancy proposal. That listed all of these things and I remember I still remember this and I said to you I don't do fancy proposals it's like you and I chat and if we get on I think then we'll be able to make the magic happen but you know, there's no point me giving you this fancy proposal that is generic that goes to everybody.

[00:22:26] I'm going to be honest. I've no recollection of that, but that might explain my life at Milk Crate Theatre more than Kathie, but all I can remember is we did get along. I loved her honesty. I loved how there was no pretense and also her honesty about what it was going to take for us to start doing some of this work as well. And yes, I remember that fancy proposal, though, and going, yeah, maybe like. I really appreciated that. So, for anybody who's looking for a job, or anybody who's looking to try and get work, do not forget LinkedIn. Do make sure you're on it and active and making comments. And reaching out to people it's, I've got work through it. I've made raging relationships through it. I, this is not a plug for LinkedIn by any means, but this is why the podcast happened because my producer reached out to me, so it does work, doesn't work all the time, but it does work. As long as you're authentic.

[00:23:19] Absolutely. And yeah, that what you might remember too is I said a bit with that fancy proposal and I said to you, you don't need a fancy proposal, Judith. You just need to clone yourself. You just need another, you. You know what you need to do. You just don't have time to do it. So I can be another you. Do you remember that part?

[00:23:38] I do remember that part. I do absolutely remember that because I did know what we needed to do. Not to the nuance that Kathie does, but I did know that and I did need a clone because like most people running small not for profits, I'm not quite theatre for those you don't know. It's a fantastic theatre company that has been around for 20 old years based in. Redfern, Alexandria, area of Sydney, and it works with people with lived experience of homelessness and the underlying issues like that. So it works with people with disability, with mental health issues with caring responsibilities, all sorts of things. And it creates amazing artworks and performance works and so a bit of a niche. But also incredibly life changing for the people involved and telling that story needs somebody who gets it and then can translate it into people who maybe don't have a background of going to seeing contemporary performance or work with people experiencing homelessness. So you need. Somebody could do that, which is where Kathie came in. But yes, I was definitely in a work life crunch at that point in my life. And so, yeah, sometimes getting yourself cloned is really important. We'll have an episode coming up in the future about outsourcing. And we will cover some of those things. Anyway, so you became a consultant. Fantastic. Did you do that all in one jump or did you keep working part time? 

[00:25:03] So as with most things there's a defining moment, right? My defining moment was in 2013 when my mum was diagnosed with cancer. And so, I was working in a very high powered state manager type role, again, fancy title, all of that stuff, lots of money, blah blah. And so, I was with my mum at an oncologist appointment where we didn't get the best news. And I left that appointment, I was supposed to drive down to the Gold Coast for a meeting with the other managers in the business. And I rang and said, look, I'm sorry, I can't make it. We've just had devastating news. I need to be here with my mum. And the boss my immediate manager at the time said, well you need to be here. This is an important meeting. And I said, Well, I'm sorry. It's also really important for me to be with my mum. And he said, well, you need to get your priorities right. You need to be here. And I replied without even thinking. I replied and said, well, I do have my priorities right. And I quit.

[00:26:10] Oh.

[00:26:11] Defining moment. And then I had to sell the idea to my mum so that she didn't feel that I had quit to look after her which I guess that would have, that would have absolutely not been the right thing. So for the next eight months or something before she passed away, I was with her at all her hospital visits and all her treatments and all that stuff. And Square Pegs was formed then, but Square Pegs was very small and it was really just doing CVs for people and it started off in that sort of space, because I was thinking what can I do to create some form of income whilst I'm looking after my mum. Something that I don't actually need to be, there's not a certain time that I need to be anywhere, so I just needed to write. So that's where that came about. Fast forward to later in that year where unfortunately mum lost her battle with cancer, and then I went through the stuff that you do in terms of So, um, getting through that and managing her estate, and then I took on another partnership manager type role at another large charity. So that was with Bluecare because it was just like, well, that's clearly what I'm supposed to do. And within a few months, I went, oh, no, I don't like this. I don't like having to be here between X and 9 and 5, like this is what I have to do, I have to be here, there's no flexibility. No, this isn't aligning with my values, so within a few months I went to my manager who was wonderful, and I just said, look, this isn't working for me, I'm going to take a risk. I'm going to do this as a consultant and she said great can I be your first client?

[00:27:59] That's the answer you 

[00:28:00] They they transitioned to being a client and they were a client for a good six to months to a year whilst I got on my feet to getting more and more clients

[00:28:12] Fantastic. Well you obviously had the horror boss. I cannot even believe that happened and I'm so sorry that happened to you when your mum was diagnosed, but then to have a boss who gets it, who saw that they didn't want to lose the talent, but they just needed to shift the framework for how the working relationship and I would be great if more people could say that because some of us just aren't built to be employees. Some of us would rather do anything than attend a management meeting. After I left government, I had a job. In an interim management role, and there was a weekly managers meeting, but the CEO said, Oh, you're only here temporarily. You don't need to come to that. I'll tell you if there's anything important in it. And I went, Awesome. Thank you so much. Because these were like weekly two, three hour meetings. And she did, and she rarely told me anything really. So there wasn't that much. Some of my colleagues in other parts of that organisation would say, you don't get to go to those meetings, but then you're not going to find out about this, this and this. I went, well, I don't think this, this and this really influences anything we're doing. So I'm cool. I'm very cool. Then I got a director so that while I was in there, while they recruited a more senior role, they were creating a more senior role and they were recruiting someone for that. And she came in and she was terrific. But I remember coming out of one of those management meetings one day and going, why weren't you there? And I said, Oh, cause you know, I was told I didn't have to go. And she said, but everyone else at your level is there. And I went, well, you know, she's like, I have to see these things and you don't. Yeah, yeah, that's, that's kind of the arrangement we had. And I was like, do you want me to go? And she's going, oh God forbid, you'd have to go through it as well. So yeah, some of us are just not made to do that. Some people are, and good on them. 

[00:30:05] Defining moments. So your consultancy is going. So how do your values support you in your consultancy at the moment? And then maybe we'll have a chat about some of the challenges you face as well.

[00:30:15] Well, I think my values are 100 percent aligned to what I do. I'm very, very fortunate in that I've had enough experience to be able to pick and choose the work that I do. So, early on in my consulting time, I probably took on a couple of clients that where my values weren't 100 percent aligned. And then I had to do the unfortunate thing of firing those clients. And not in a nasty way at all. They were wonderful organisations. They just weren't aligned with where my passions lie. Within the sort of medical research, that sort of area. And it just didn't make my heart sing. It didn't make me excited when we had wins. Whereas for me working in the arts space, working in the disability space, working in social justice, those are all things that I'm just as excited as my clients when we receive funding, when we bring partnerships on board. Yeah, so I think that's the important thing for me because I love what I'm doing I think I do it better. When passion meets purpose, you've got a winning formula I think you can do really well with, purpose, you can do really well with passion, but when you get both of them together, then I think the magic happens.

[00:31:26] Yeah, and that TV for all campaign, I think I remember when you were working on that, how passionately you would speak about this as such an important access point for so many people with vision impairments, et cetera, and how we are one of the very, very few countries in the world that didn't have it. And I was sort of going, well, that's a huge thing to try and change, good luck to you over there. And sorry, a bit of, you know the cynicism of having worked in government for way too long. And he did it. And it's like this is the magic of passion and purpose. Yeah. And this is why I encourage my clients to find that passion point and also the deeper alignment with that value that just feels right. Doing these things feels right. And our brains are programmed to follow that. Our brains and our bodies. Yeah.

[00:32:15] And I think adding into that mix is also just having the right people around you like clearly I was not the only contributor to that TV for all campaign it was a team and that's the whole thing if you can get the whole team excited and the whole team working towards this common goal. Then you can make things happen and I think that's where unfortunately things go astray. If you can have one person that's really passionate about it, but if they're not actually keeping the rest of the group updated, they're not bringing them on for, I hate this word, but the journey then they're going to do it alone. And it's very challenging for anyone to make change alone. And that was the kind, that was the premise of TV for All. That was as simple as that. It was like, people don't know what they don't know. And so, I was one of the few sighted people within that organisation and they had been trying for many, many years to get that through. And I said to them, well, we need to get sighted people on board to support this because once they realize, nobody can unseen it, excuse the pun, but once people realize that this is happening, they're just going to be like, well, this is ridiculous. Like this should not be the case. And so that's what we went about doing, was educating the public about the fact that this didn't happen and getting the public on board signing letters, sending letters through to government, and then that's where that change happened.

[00:33:40] Mm. Yeah. Once you see it you can't unseen it. It's a paradigm shift when you realize, oh, I didn't know that that was a barrier. So as you're talking about, barriers to participation and barriers to access, and the topic of the day is about this triple threat of managing, not just work and life, but also chronic illness. Are you happy for us to start, maybe introduce what happened when you had to start managing in your own chronic illness into your working life?

[00:34:08] Absolutely, and you to be fair, I've managed it most of my life, and if you're still listening now, and you haven't fallen asleep with this chat you'll realize that it's not the first and foremost thing about me. I haven't even really spoken about chronic pain or my illness or my disability. And that's because I don't want that to be the first thing that you notice about me, I don't want to be congratulated for crossing the road so to speak I don't want people to go, Oh, wow, she's lives with this and she's done this. I want it around the other way. I want it that I've done these things. And, oh, by the way, I also have these challenges that I manage because we need to see the person first, not the disability. It's taken me a long time to be more open about that part of my life. I was probably quite ableist about myself and just tried to hide it or just tried to blame it on one off things, whereas it's not going away, unfortunately for me, it's I live with a genetic disorder that affects my collagen. It means that basically the stretchy stuff in my body doesn't work properly, so it's like having really long rubber band as ligaments for me, and they, it's stretched to its max, so that means constant dislocations and subluxations, it means issues with other parts of my body. It's something that, as I said, isn't going away, so therefore, like I do, I guess with anything I've done in my life, well, how do I manage this? How do I move forward? Because it's not going to change. So therefore, I need to make things happen in a way that suits me. So hence the nine to five working in an office doesn't suit me. Sometimes my best work is first thing in the morning at 6 a. m. Sometimes it might be on a Sunday afternoon sometimes at 11 o'clock on a Wednesday I might need to be lying down for two hours and not available to work. But by doing what I do, it means that whilst I still have deadlines to meet obviously I can set my timing around how I meet those deadlines

[00:36:17] Yeah, yeah. I work with quite a few clients who identify as disabled or with disability and a lot of them say when they can control their environment it makes life a lot easier for them. So, Would you say that that has shaped your approach to work life balance? Do you think it's positive or has strengthened your commitment to making time for yourself? Or has there been a barrier there as well?

[00:36:43] I don't know if it's shaped my work life balance. I feel that that defining moment I talked about before with my mum probably shaped my work life balance. And that when I just, without thinking, made that decision to walk away. I think from that moment on, I've been very conscious, and I think anyone that's lost someone close to them would understand, your priorities change, and I think you then start to realise. It's not about the fancy title or anything like that, it's about what you do in your life, it's about the relationships you have, and so prioritizing those is the most important thing.

[00:37:25] Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Kathie. So what does the future look like for you at the moment?

[00:37:31] So the future for me is continuing to work as a consultant in this space. Working with some great clients in arts and disability and social justice. I've been asked to write a short story to be part of an anthology around people with disability, so I need to put my creative hat on and get writing. And, yeah, I've got some great new clients that I'm working with coming up too.

[00:38:02] Fantastic. I'm looking forward to hearing what happens next for you in your ongoing journey with Square Pegs and everything else you've got going on in your life. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and we look forward to maybe hearing from you again at some point down the line on Aligned and Thriving.

[00:38:21] Thanks Kathie.

[00:38:23] Thanks, Judith. 

Kathie reflects on her busy year, career transitions, and the importance of work-life balance.
Discussion on reflecting on personal values and transitioning back to working with small to medium not-for-profits.
Reflecting on childhood influences, discipline from dance, and the importance of practice and hard work.
Transitioning through different life stages focusing on career goals, family commitments, and finding alignment with personal values.
Kathie discusses the significance of making intentional decisions that resonate with personal values and lead to a sense of purpose in work.
Kathie shares her defining moment on her career.
Kathie reflects on the importance of practice, dedication, and persistence in achieving success in various career transitions and life stages.
Kathie shares her chronic illness and her approach to work life balance.