International Women's Day 2022: Stacey O'Connor

International Women's Day 2022

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 we chatted to two amazing women from FCM Meetings & Events, who are making a difference to people’s lives and their local communities in their own unique ways.

Meet Stacey O’Connor

Business Development Manager for FCM Meetings & Events and new mum-to-be Stacey O’Connor believes in the power of women ‘raising each other up’ and people taking time out for themselves daily, to re-set and focus on what’s important for the day ahead.

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We hear that you’re ‘passionate about sustainability, health & wellbeing, started a business during COVID and are a new mum-to-be’. You sound like someone that’s driven and motivated. How do you balance the professional and the personal?

Boundaries and a little self-respect.

Some days I would say I am driven and other days I would say I am still. Honestly, without sounding too cliché, taking time to do yoga each day, resets my mind and body, and allows me the space to work out what’s important that day. It could be personal (perhaps a milestone event or it could be a pitch that is due and really needs some love). Regardless of what it is that’s on that day, I set time aside for me. Sometimes it’s for 10 mins, others, it’s for an hour. I listen to my body that day and decide. Without interruptions, your mind can start to declutter. Set aside time each day where you can be fully engrossed in an activity and make sure there are no distractions.

I started my yoga business during a time when I was on stand down and going through a long infertility journey. I had just completed a 500-hr teaching training diploma and wanted to do something to mark that course, as it pulled me out of some dark places that year. I didn’t set out with any goal other than to ensure what it represented, was a true reflection of my values and nothing else. It was not to make money. Some days I would create content for socials and then other times I would just let it sit for weeks. Life is messy and complicated and completely unpredictable, so I felt it was easier to have no plan (this coming from a planner!) than to feel guilty for not sticking to one. Do I have a to-do list written in my phone? Yes. Do I beat myself up if I don’t complete it? I used to. Now I simply change the date until the next day and accept that it is what it is.

When I came back to FCM M&E post COVID in April last year, I made a lifestyle decision to only work four days a week. While originally, I thought I would miss the extra cash, but what I gained, is priceless. That extra day is for filling my cup and helps me feel balanced. Now with a miracle of a little man on the way, my independent life as I know it will soon be no more and I hope to continue to take the time to just be in the present moment and take each day as it comes. Remove the pressures and accept that you aren’t in control. Once you accept that, everything seems a little easier.

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As someone who works in the event space have there been events that you’ve considered to be outstanding in terms of creating equality, opportunity and progress for women?

I have been lucky enough to run many incredible, pinch-yourself type events all over the world – from hosting a gala dinner in a Siem Reap temple in Cambodia, to coordinating a dinner under the stars in the heart of Kruger National Park, South Africa, surrounded by the ‘big five’. However, if I’m honest about the events where I felt the most inspired about the opportunity it represented for women - it would have to be the first Womenwise event I attended, run by our very own company!

I remember sitting there in a large room full of 300 other women, all with their own stories of struggle and triumph, cheering each other on to be better versions of themselves. Not only for their families but for the many other women out there who are still disadvantaged, still burdened by the gender gap. That was special and what life is truly about. Raising each other up.

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What advice do you have for young women or men growing up in terms of helping them to #BreakTheBias?

You don’t have to fit the mould. Try things out and take a risk with finding your version of what ‘everyday living’ should look like. Find companies that work with you, not against you. Feeling burnt-out and stressed all the time isn’t OK or acceptable. Find what brings you peace and include it in your everyday in life. This could be as simple as reading a book for half an hour, cooking dinner in silence (or with your favourite song pumping), going for a walk (ideally not on busy roads as noise pollution can trigger too many senses), it could even be binge watching a show … but binge watch with intention; leave your phone in another room and fully engage in the show. Whatever activity you choose, remove the distractions and just be. This is when the creative juices start flowing, those ‘ah ha’ moments come back and solutions to problems that have been bothering you become clear.

I can’t count how many times lying in savasana after a yoga session I have had those clear thoughts just appear. Find that peace and bring it into your life every day. Treat it as important as meeting a deadline for a client – it will change everything. Then following your passion or achieving your goal will happen naturally.

You don’t have to fit the mould. Try things out and take a risk with finding your version of what ‘everyday living’ should look like. Find companies that work with you, not against you. Feeling burnt-out and stressed all the time isn’t OK or acceptable.

Stacey O'Connor

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