The Daily Guru - an interview with Gemma Munro
Today we are thrilled to be sitting down with Gemma Munro. She is the CEO Of Inkling Women. Gemma has a PhD in performance psychology and many years of experience working with leaders to discover their purpose, maximise their strengths and build careers that are as enjoyable as they are successful.
THE BEST PART OF MY JOB IS…
I have three!
First and foremost, Inkling Women is driven by our belief that the world will be a much better place when 50 per cent of the most important decisions for our planet are made by women. Our mission is to inspire women to lead. Seeing this inspiration made visible on the faces of the women we work with is a delight.
Second, is writing. When I’m not speaking to groups, I get tremendous happiness from taking a day out to write about women in leadership and gender equity.
Finally, it’s leading the incredible Inkling Women team. We take a strengths-based approach to performance at Inkling — everyone in the team is in a role that they are fabulous at and adore doing. The energy, commitment, drive and passion that follow on from this is phenomenal. My team members make every working day a joy.
I CHOSE TO ENTER THIS FIELD OF WORK BECAUSE
As a management consultant, I kept speaking with women who were coming up the corporate ladder. They’d say to me, “You know, Gem, I see the women at the top of my organisation. And I see success, yes. But I don’t see balance, fun or authenticity. So I don’t think leadership is for me.”
I also kept speaking with female CEOs and GMs who would say to me, “You know, Gem, I’ve reached the top level and I’m generating results, yes. But I am exhausted. I feel like I have to push myself out of bed every morning. And somewhere along the way, I lost a sense of who I am and what I love.”
I was so disheartened by these comments and thought that surely, there must be a way for women to make it to the top and thrive. I made it my mission to make this a reality for women in business.
THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN MY CAREER HAS BEEN
For a number of years I was in a Management Consulting role that I was reasonably good at, but I really, really did not enjoy. It was in an exceptionally masculine and competitive environment. I responded by becoming —excuse the crass expression — an ‘approval whore’. Everything I did was for just a skerrick of recognition from my boss. It was draining and soul-destroying. I distinctly remember walking to the tram one Monday morning and searching for a comfortable bit of bitumen to lie on. I was beyond tired.
Then my daughter nearly died in utero, and I realised life was too short to not do what you love, in service of a better world.
Sidenote: my spunky, clever, generous-hearted daughter is now nearly five and doing wonderfully well.
THE FUNNIEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MY INDUSTRY/COMPANY/BRAND ARE….
That we sit around in our women’s leadership programs and drink champagne and talk about men all day (and maybe wear feather boas whilst doing so). Interestingly, this perception tends to come from men rather than women.
Nothing could be further from the truth (except for the champagne part. That we do, although at the end of the final day!)
Our leadership programs are deeply challenging, impactful, strategic, reflective and full of both fun and hard work. We help women to make deep and sustained shifts. And there are many more fruitful topics to discuss than men!
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN MY CAREER HAS BEEN…
Martha Beck. Her advice helped me to move past all fear of displeasing others and leap, with great faith, into doing what I loved to do — and what I was best at.
IF I COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF, IT WOULD BE….
Take as much time as you can to enjoy yourself. In 20 years, life will be filled to brimming with a business and babies, so make hay while you can. And, most importantly, everything will be OK.
MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT HAS BEEN…
Creating a growing, soul-centred, feminine and successful business that has a measurable impact on women around the world and creates careers that our team members take delight in and are extremely proud of.
THE GREATEST PERSONAL CHALLENGE I HAVE OVER COME IS…
Leaving a stable career to start a business — with a toddler, a baby, a husband who was overcoming depression and two mortgages.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY…
Many organisations and some leaders feel the need to be beige and boring.
I TRY TO RELAX BY…
Reading, gardening, singing, boxing and, lately, swing dancing!
MY BIGGEST FEAR IS…
Something happening to my children. I still check them during the night to make sure they’re OK.
I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…
Hugs. Sunshine. Friends. A cup of tea in the morning. Delightful cuddles with my family when I get home from work. A mission and a business I adore and believe in.
I REALLY WISH I HAD…
More time to write. I’m working on it.
THE GREATEST LESSON I HAVE LEARNT IS….
Go for Giant Outrageous Liberating Dreams (or GOLD), not Piddly Inoffensive Goals (or PIG). Coming up with these terms changed the course of my life.
IF I HAD ONE SUPER POWER, IT WOULD BE….
The ability to read minds and to teleport to fabulous locations.
IF I COULD INVITE FOUR PEOPLE TO A DINNER PARTY, THEY’D BE…
My four closest, dearest friends. What can I say? I’m an introvert!
As published on DailyGuru.com.au October 2016.