Career Advice

The Women Who Shaped Me

Catherine Kennedy Posted by Catherine
min read
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As we mark International Women’s Day for 2018, I find myself reflecting on the women in my life who have shaped me and the gratitude I feel for having had the opportunity to know and learn from such amazing people.

My Mother

This woman is amazing.  She was a highly regarded and successful professional in her career as a psychologist and has always been a completely available, warm and devoted mother (and grandmother). She has great insight and wisdom and an ability to articulate and debate an idea in a way I can only envy. She instilled in me a great sense of social justice and shaped me to show empathy but never pity, for people less fortunate than me. She is also made of the strongest stuff and is my inspiration every day when things are getting tough. She has faced the absolute horror of losing a child and yet continues to choose life and tackle it, with optimism every day. She is the definition of strength.

My daughters

Being a mother to these two little girls is the greatest joy of my life. From them I have learnt a patience I never knew I had, a love so raw it hurts, and am more vulnerable than I have ever been before. The saying that having children is like wearing your heart on the outside is completely true. Being a mother has made me a better person. Every decision in my life is shaped by the impact it might have on these little people, and if it will make them proud. They are remarkable children, and will be remarkable adults. Becoming their Mum is the most defining moment of my life.

My Year 5 teacher Mrs Roberts

This lady only taught me for one term when I was about 11, but she is the teacher who had the most lasting impact on me. What made Mrs Roberts special is that she really connected with me, and gave me confidence to express my ideas (especially when they were not the consensus). Every morning, Mrs Roberts would read to us for 20 minutes, and then open a discussion about how the literature made us feel, and how it was relevant in our life. I found my voice in Mrs Roberts Year 5 class, and I am forever grateful for that. I wish I could track her down to let her know the impact she had on us.

Manda Milling

Manda hired me in 2006, really only giving me a go because I picked up the phone and convinced her I was worth it. We’ve now worked together for more than 12 years, with the slightly odd role reversal that I am now a Director of the company she founded (and is now an employee!). Manda taught me the ropes in my profession, and always gave me enough rope (but never too much) to learn from my mistakes. Manda always had great belief in me, and instilled in me the confidence to tackle tricky situations. She never once came over the top of me to ‘just handle it’ and this gentle push to face what made me uncomfortable, has been a great foundation for my career.

 My Girl Pack

I have a small, but tight group of women who are my forever friends. They have seen me absolutely at my worst, and continued to love me, believing I was better than I thought I was at the time, and gently returning me to confidence and happiness. They have also been my loudest cheer squad when things are going well! They are the family I choose, and I love them.

I feel very lucky to have these women, and many others in my life. On International Women’s Day, I am grateful for the opportunities I have and am optimistic about the world my daughters will live in as they grow up. Happy International Women’s Day!