Three Minute Squiz With… Andrea Clarke

Andrea Clarke, a journalist-turned-businesswoman, has been a great source of encouragement for The Squiz. If her name rings a bell it’s because we interviewed Andrea about the future of work as part of our Squiz’splains podcast series last year. We like to think we got the early scoop as she’s just published a book on the subject. Here she takes on the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
While I’m walking to my daily 7am Pilates class. Coffee in one hand, all I need to know in the other.

Your business CareerCEO is all about helping people get to the next stages of their career through effective communication. Why did you start CareerCEO?
The catalyst for CareerCEO was my own failure to communicate with authority. As a reporter, I had no issues communicating to an audience, but once I stepped off camera into a conversation with my boss, I totally lost my voice. I was constantly undermining my own authority, which left me feeling vulnerable and worthless. When I left my life in journalism, I was at the lowest point in my career through what I felt was no fault of my own. It took me 12 months to regroup emotionally from the experience. My response to the situation was to create a program that would empower others to communicate with authority in a way that’s authentic to them, and to help them realise their reputation capital in the marketplace. We now train 900 professionals every year.

CareerCEO started largely as a proposition for women. What have you found are the biggest challenges/hurdles that women specifically face in the workplace?
In the work we do both in Australia and internationally, two themes continue to arise:

1. We tend to underestimate the value of our reputation capital in their workplace, across our communities and industries at large.

2. We tend to undermine our authority in the moments that matter most – the ones where we need to speak with greater authority, and command influence. We’re failing daily auditions for leadership!

We work really closely with all executives on these challenges at CareerCEO, and we can see from the outcomes of our workshops that women accelerate rapidly when they recognise their true value, and master the art of communicating it with authenticity and authority.

What’s the one thing women tend to do that undermines their authority that’s easy to fix?
Note to self! Stop saying ‘sorry’ or any language that is self-diminishing or tentative. I’m ‘just’ here to run the meeting. It’s ‘only’ my opinion. We unconsciously undermine our authority every day. I believe that we get paid to have an opinion, so let’s express our view with natural authority and simple, plain language.

Over coffee, you’ve been quite candid with us about the realities of starting a business. You’re five years in now – what’s been the toughest part and is it getting any easier?
The hardest part was the initial two years, when I knew I had a concept that was relevant to the market, but was in between testing the concept and landing dates to deliver the workshops. With some major clients, it took 18 months from piloting the program to having it be a firm part of their learning and development strategy. At one stage, I was 24 hours away from declaring bankruptcy and handing back my apartment to the bank, so that’s when I had to make a call – do I go back to a traditional job for the security, or do I back myself (and not buy myself a coffee for another year!) When you know specifically what you want, decisions come more easily for sure and so will the work. Always play the long game.

Big congrats on your book, Future Fit. Give us the pitch…
Thank you! It’s a very simple proposition: the future of work is about talent, not technology. If we want to outrun the algorithm to stay relevant and competitive, we need to upgrade our capability in ‘human’ ways we may not have considered. I believe that by mastering eight core enterprise skills, we’ll be disproportionately relevant and competitive, right through to the 2030s.

In a past life, you lived and worked as a journalist in Washington DC – is American politics as nuts as it looks?
It’s bananas. Both in the volume of the content, and the pace of the political news cycle. If you like sleeping and looking after yourself, I don’t recommend it!

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman
Author of The Road to Character, David Brooks
QF32 Captain, Richard De Crespigny
Oxford Lecturer & Trust Expert, Rachel Botsman

Your favourite book/writer?
I’m currently obsessed with Yuval Noah Harari and his series, Sapiens, Homo Deus and now, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Also Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. My non-fiction pick is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

The best piece of advice your mother gave you?
Mum came out with a cracking line to her three young girls one day, “Why be the passenger when you can be the pilot?”.

What’s your worst and best habit?
Best habit: Walking 7km every day after Pilates.
Worst habit: Negating my best habit with chocolate croissants from ‘Staple,’ my favourite bakery in Sydney. High-end carbs are a gift to us all!

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
We have a mental health epidemic in this country and it should be triaged accordingly. We’ve come a long way as a community, but I’d love to see more coverage, more federal resources to regional communities, and more creative campaigns to encourage all Aussies to look after one another.

*Buy a book using the link provided and The Squiz may get a little commission. 


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