The phone call that probably and potentially will change and impact my life and career pathway! That UN phone call from the President of the Board of UN Women National Committee Aotearoa, New Zealand on the 18th July 2018 asking me if I could consider a role on the New Zealand Board with mentorship included. Further to that, to look at being elected onto the Board in the upcoming elections! I said Yes to the opportunity without hesitation!
Oh what a pleasant surprise! That was huge! That was unexpected. I was distracted. It was like the stars had aligned. It made my heart beat faster I swear. I was clamy and glowing literally. Never had I even considered a career opportunity and pathway with the UN. But I am embracing the opportunity and the challenge. I thought serving as a humanitarian in the role of an Internationbal Health Delegate with the New Zealand Red Cross was huge for me, yet this was even larger contributing on a voluntary role for the UN. What capacity would I be able to contribute to the Board I wondered? I revisited my CV and my business card-yes I can contribute with my international humanitarian experience with serving and advocating for the women and the children. Yes of course I’ll represent our Pacific Women’s voice on the NZ Board. My Business card reads: NZ Registered Comprehensive Nurse/Humanitarian/Independent Marriage Celebrant/Writer/Community Volunteer/Vanuatu Linguistics Consultant/Real Estate Investor/Entrepreneur with a tagline of “transforming Pasifika and Refugee Women Futures!”
I was very aware of the role of the UN in New Zealand, it’s powerful global intergovernmental status and it’s 17 global sustainable/developmental goals. It’s objectives included maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment and providing humanitarian aid during famines, natural disasters and armed conflict.
I had resigned from my Nursing position as a Senior Staff Nurse at a private Wellington Hospital and at the end of July 2018 will see the end of my 16 years Nursing Career and Service in New Zealand. I am taking that leap of faith. I will be paying my Nursing Services forward on that international scale instead-I am grateful to my mentors and my educators and consultants. I really do not know what tomorrow brings. Except what I know is that I will be serving the next 32 days on the borders (less than 2kms off from) of Myanmar and Bangladesh with the Finnish Red Cross as an Operating Theatre Nurse. This second mission (My first mission was with the Norwegian Red Cross in 2017) for me with the NZ Red Cross is of significance as I wanted to ground myself with the humanitarian work and be available and flexible for any upcoming international missions.
I have been immersing myself with thoughtful reflections and wanting a career change. The thought of greener pastures and a flood of questions ran through my head before taking that mighty plunge! But don’t get me wrong-I still want to serve in the health and medical sector as the demand and the need is so overwhelmingly great. A big part of me still wanted to no matter the circumstances. The questions of “what do I want to do now, what am I qualified to do and what are my options” kept flowing and circling around in my head. Bearing in mind that I don’t have any families-but instead I have an extensive supportive network of friends who have kept me afloat with advice-it was up to me to execute the information and the actions. That knowledge with execution is power!
I kept going back to my business card and thankfully I have built myself up in my entrepreneurial pursuits. I have options. Yes, like every other woman I have delved into my own motivations, fears and abilities. But it’s ok to take a break. Its ok to pause. Its ok to reflect and celebrate achievements. Its ok to put that entrepreneurial hat on-there are opportunities. Its ok to dive into development work in the rural areas anywhere in the world. Its ok.
I am entering a massive career change. Jenny Galluzzo the Co Founder of the Second Shift reminded women who are considering a career change to take these factors into consideration. Firstly, she advises to conduct an audit of yourself. Dive deep, be honest with yourself and maintain optimisim. What parts of the job do you want to take with you-what aspects of the job you want to leave behind? Take stock of your skillset and what sets you apart. Secondly, she emphasized the importance of setting up your intention. Chart the path to your goals. Do you have a vision board? I do. I am working towards publishing a Vanuatu Childrens Book! Its a great major distraction to helping me prepare for my international missions. Thirdly, she encourages us to remember to take deep breaths. Stay positive and learn how to breathe deeply and be confident of the outcome. Finally, she pushes us to do our homework. Prepare for your future success. Network. Do projects even if they are unpaid. It may feel like treading water but it is all beneficial in the long run as it adds up on your CV. The concluding advice has been to not allow fear or uncertainty to blind you to opportunities that present themselves along the way. But the best wise notes were from Michelle Obama who stated that the question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering.
Solange Lopes, the CEO and Founder of the Corporate Sister LLC similarly reminded us women of that transitioning from a corporate career to entrepreneurship can be scary but there are ways to approach it. She pushes us to start taking care of that mindset-to work on increasing your self-confidence through self care, positive mindset practices and challenging yourself to face your fears. Be financially prepared she stated. Remember to set money aside when you are still employed. This is an essential part of the transitioning as you will need to consider living below your means. Mind your emotions she cautioned. Show yourself a much needed compassion and learn to use your emotions to boost your entrepreneurial ventures despite the rollacoaster of unpredictable ups and downs. Have a realistic plan and but be flexible so you can execute them-this could be potentially impactful! Don’t forget your network-they are your support and the most effective ways you can succeed Lopes emphasized. Its this networks that you have built over the years that will most likely land your clients, deals and opportunities. More importantly make self-care a priority. There are times when self care needs to be your number one priority!
I have been reminded to be humble by my very good friend Brett Childs-that is so important and valid! Stay humble. I will remind you too. Humility is such a powerful trait in leadership. It is not low self-esteem. It isn’t thinking less of yourself. But it is thinking less about yourself. Genuine humility is about perceptiveness, self-awareness and kindness and makes people more candid, compassionate and charitable. It is important to know that humble leaders are honest on both their strengths and limitations. They are confident without being conceited; open minded without being obstinate, and supportive without being submissive as Aaron Orendorff noted in his article. The X factor of leadership is not personality, it is humility!
Humility listens. Humility tests. Humility admits. Think about these powerful traits of humility and practice them.