Celebrating International Women's Day
Introducing Meagan Mitchell Key Account Manager, Olivera Stojkoski Team Leader - both from FCM, and Carlita Glode FCM Meetings & Events' Live Events Leader. From nailing demanding full time work, being a caring mum and wife, managing large teams and events, blue-chip clients, volunteer work and professional singing - these three ladies are perfect examples of how women excel at home, in the office and on stage!
The theme of IWD for 2023 is #EmbracingEquity, what does this mean to you?
There’s a culture of embracing inclusivity that’s going around globally, but I think what’s most important is that next step of how we are implementing it. FCTG does this really well at a brand level, but we need to make sure that it’s maintained and carried through to all levels to show people they are accepted and celebrated.
Have you attended any really special IWD events?
A few years ago, Business Chicks hosted an event in Brisbane with Sam Bloom (the inspiration behind the book and film Penguin Bloom) as the speaker. Her story really resonated with me. Overcoming everything was a mindset piece for her first, before it was physical. Women can get so caught up in our own heads that it’s powerful to acknowledge that and navigate our way out.
When it comes to events, what unique qualities do women bring to the table?
Working in our industry, you always strive for perfection. But in reality, there’s no such thing as the perfect event or trip, so you have to learn to accept that. I think that’s about compassion; having compassion for yourself and everyone else involved. Women bring compassion into everything we do.
IWD is also focusing on the importance of access to technology and digital education for women. How important is this in your industry?
Pre-Covid we were aware of it and possibly doing the minimum. Since Covid, we have had to really embrace it. It’s now a major focus to make things more tech savvy for clients, delegates and our team. It’s essential that women recognise this and boost their skills any way they can.
This year’s IWD theme is #EmbracingEquity, what does this mean to you?
I really believe that what’s good for one person is good for all, so I treat people the same no matter what their circumstances. For example, flexibility in the workplace is important to every individual, not just parents. That’s what I love about my team; everyone makes things work or is happy to cover tasks if someone has to leave the office.
You look after a team of 20 full-time staff plus one of FCM’s biggest mining clients. What’s your secret to success?
We run two separate business models with a seven-day trade. The teams work from 6am to 11pm Monday to Friday. It can be challenging at times, but I’m proud to say that I do it and I do it well. It wouldn’t be possible without a great team and this is the best team I’ve ever had through my entire career. I’m such a people person and that’s paid off because I have earned their respect. But it’s not a one-way street; I get so much support and everyone brings amazing skills and knowledge to the table.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming female professionals?
Start with yourself. If you’re in a good place as a leader, you’ll set everyone up for success. I’ve learned that it’s ok to say no, it’s ok to take your time getting back to people instead of rushing. I’ve built trust in my people and always communicate what I’m doing, so they have trust in me. If you invest time in your people, develop them, reward them, it all comes back to you.
You’re a bit of a celebrity in Macedonia for your singing. How does this complement your professional life?
Singing is purely a hobby but I’m well respected in Macedonia and often invited to sing at major festivals or on TV. I think it helps to boost my confidence. When I get up on stage and sing, I don’t feel nervous because I know my stuff. I can bring that confident attitude into my professional life.
What does the IWD theme #EmbracingEquity mean to you?
Embracing Equity is about creating an inclusive world, about working collectively to create positive change and break the bias. It’s the message I always pass on to my children – treat others as you want to be treated. Equity means equal rights and opportunity for both men and women, and that’s one of the great things about FCTG; they don’t see gender, just the best person for that role. IWD is an opportunity for women to get together to celebrate their achievements, not just at work but as a mother, partner, sister and friend. When we celebrate collectively, we can be inspired to achieve so much more.
How do you think FCM and other Australian companies are bringing more equality into the workplace?
FCM has a huge focus on inclusion and diversity, and in my role I get to integrate large customers into our brand values. I’m working with them on their diversity programs, aligning goals and philosophies. FCM’s Come as You Are program is great for our people, creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. On a practical level, I’m seeing things like airline systems and suppliers looking to integrate non-binary options into bookings.
As well as working full-time and being the mum of two children, you also dedicate a lot of time to volunteer work. Why is that important to you?
After my daughter Aurora was born, she got incredibly sick. We almost lost her. After a lot of misdiagnoses, at seven weeks old she was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease, a rare inflammatory condition which can lead to acquired heart disease. I became a dedicated volunteer for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, was the president while living in Victoria and am now the state representative for Queensland. Thankfully, Aurora is now a healthy and happy five-year-old, but early diagnosis can be life changing. It’s so important to me to raise awareness and be a voice for KD here in Australia, and I put a lot of my time and energy into that.