Your Brilliant Career Podcast
The go-to resource for getting the most out of your career
This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.
One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.
Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.
In this episode I have a conversation with my wonderful guests Ingrid Botha from Sandoz and Sophie Milloy from Worley. Both 2022 RISE alumni with great stories and experiences to share and such good humans. Both have taken ownership of their careers and shown great courage in the decisions they have made.
We also talk about future-proofing your career and four fundamental tools you should take into consideration.
Ingrid and Sophie also talk about who they experienced the RISE program - What was their motivation for signing up? Their experience during the program and their reflections post-program.
Links we talked about on the podcast include:
RISE Accelerate program: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/rise-accelerate
RISE Elite program: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/rise-elite
My free guide - How to say 'no' without compromising your reputation: https://www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/how-to-say-no
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Well, hello there and as always, I am so happy you’re here. Thank you for joining me. It is a very exciting time for us in our business because the doors are now open to our two new programs – RISE Elite and RISE Accelerate – and these doors will be open for the next two weeks and then that’s it!
So, don’t delay if you’re looking for support this year. If you feel like you need to get an edge or if you need clarity around your next move or you want the skills and confidence that is going to take you forward in your career.
Check it out… go to yourbrilliantcareer.com.au. Everything is there to lead you to the right places and all the information. There are also plenty of free things on that site. So, even if now is not the right time to really invest in a program, there’s still something there for you. So check it out!
Now, speaking of free things, I am running a free masterclass this week and next week. I feel like this masterclass is perfect for women who feel compressed with their workload right and they are just not sure how to get out of that rhythm, that busyness make their value more visible at work. Now, if you sense that you’re not progressing in the way that you desire and you’re just getting stuff done, perhaps not as thoughtfully or strategically as you would like, you feel like you’re the ‘go to’ person in other’s minds – “She’ll get it done. Leave it with her”, and you do. It’s that people-pleasing side that cannot say no, then this is the session for you. I am going to show you how you can increase your productivity, increase your confidence, say no, and I’m going to do a deep-dive into three very clear and actionable strategies.
Now, if you’ve attended one of my free masterclasses in the past, you’ll know that we have a lot of fun. I love the energy and the focus that we have in these sessions. They always attract a super group of women. For this masterclass, I have loads of tips, scripts, how-to pieces to help you get out of the ‘doing’ rut and get to leading and showcasing your value – without turning into someone you don’t like! So, I hope you’ll join us. The link to attend is below. You can also check things out on our socials – Instagram Gillian Fox Group – details will be there. I do hope you can come!
So, right now, we are going to jump in and have a conversation with our wonderful guests Ingrid Botha from Sandoz and Sophie Milloy from Worley. Both 2022 RISE alumni with great stories and experiences to share and such good humans. Let’s dive in!
Gillian Fox: Well, Sophie and Ingrid, welcome to the podcast. It is a pleasure to have you both here today.
Ingrid Botha: Fantastic. Thanks for having us.
Sophie Milloy: Thanks, Gillian.
Gillian Fox: I think a great place for us to start today is just to introduce yourself and just tell us what you do. Soph, maybe you'll kick off for us.
Sophie Milloy: I'm Sophie Milloy. I work for Worley, which is a global professional services provider in the energy, chemicals, and resources space. I'm the territory inside sales manager for our Australia/New Zealand region, managing around 30 proposal managers, as well as a remote team in India. I'm responsible for working closely with the business development, engineering, and advisory people to ensure that we craft compelling proposals that align with Worley's strategy, which is to deliver a sustainable world.
Gillian Fox: Beautiful summary, Soph, thank you. Thank you. Ingrid?
Ingrid Botha: My name's Ingrid Botha, I'm a senior quality assurance associate at Sandoz, which is a pharmaceutical company. Prior to that, I worked for about six months with a food company very early on in its complimentary health manufacturing journey, and then prior to that, I spent eight years with AstraZeneca, also a pharmaceutical company.
Gillian Fox: Well, I think you've just given me an excellent segue there, Ingrid, to talk about the last 12 months. I think the last 12 months has been very interesting for both of you, actually, because you've both experienced some very proactive career moves and transitions. So maybe, Ingrid, share your story with us and what was the catalyst in leaving a big global organisation after eight years, you were very respected and valued in that role. What was the thinking process that prompted you to go look for something else? And then you made another move. Tell us about your journey, because it has been a very interesting one.
Ingrid Botha: I'd been at AstraZeneca about eight years. I had deliberately chosen AstraZeneca as a place that I'd wanted to work. After about eight years, I was starting to feel a little bit stuck in the mud, and then we got some news that half the site was being made redundant. We have had redundancies before and it's never affected me, but I still remember my heart hitting the floor when I saw the organisational chart and my entire team was missing. In the end, it was a really positive experience, they treated us very well. We were given the opportunity to stay or go, but I made the choice to go. I spoke with my teammates, a lot of them had been through at least one site closure before and mass redundancies, and they really helped me reframe it as an opportunity to put some money on the mortgage, get a bit of stability in COVID, my husband's in the travel industry. It ended up being a really positive thing. So that reframing was really good.
But the role that I jumped to, I put my word out to my network and said, "Who's got something going? I can't afford to not have stability at the moment". Very quickly, I got offered a role and it was in a very different environment. It was with this company that was mainly manufacturing food and starting on complimentary health and I knew it was going to be a very different role and I felt the fear and did it anyway, and it a was fabulous experience. I'm so glad that I did. That all just came through people that I knew and being really quite clear about what I wanted from a role. As I'd been quite clear when I moved to AstraZeneca, moving away was, "How many boxes does this tick for me?" and it ticked a lot of boxes, so I jumped in. It was great.
Gillian Fox: And then what prompted the move beyond that to go back to a big global like Sandoz?
Ingrid Botha: Well, at the end of the day, you go from a company which, through the pandemic, had been delivering lifesaving medicines and really has that really core belief that we are doing good in the world, and then you move to a company that's doing protein shakes and is doing some great things for employment in the local region and it'll have a fabulous future, but I just thought, I just don't know that when I get out of bed in the morning, I've never really bought into that, oh, you've got to find your passion and purpose, but I was like, "I don't think my passion is here".
I was able to make influence locally and it was great and really acting early in a company is great for really setting it up for success and doing my part, but I was like, "Oh, but am I saving anyone's life here?" I know that sounds a bit funny to say that, but when you're getting out of bed in the morning to go, "You know what? Pharma is, for me, I think, my spiritual home". When I walked in through the doors in my current role, I went, "Yeah, this is it".
Gillian Fox: Thank you, Ingrid. Soph, tell us about yours, because yours is really fascinating, as well, because you changed roles in the most unexpected way, even though you were ready for change, it was something that, dare I say, wasn't on your radar, perhaps?
Sophie Milloy: My whole career, when I reflect back on it, has been really convoluted, it's never gone where I thought it was going to go. It started about 12 years ago, I was in a very, very specialised role as a geologist, and it's been such a convoluted journey since then, which has ended me up at Worley, which I won't go into today. But I've been at Worley for five years, my recent role changed into the sales team. I had a couple of global corporate roles at Worley where they really allowed me to learn a ton about the business and I built a really strong global network throughout the company. I was on a pretty good trajectory, but I was starting to just feel a bit stuck.
I'd had a lot of momentum, I had got to the point where I felt like I had a lot more to give, I had a lot more to show, and I needed a role that was going to allow me to grow, but I didn't really know exactly what that was. I'm pretty self-aware, I knew that I had a couple of skills gaps, as well. I wanted to build my commercial acumen, I needed a bit more business acumen. I knew that I needed to fill a couple of gaps in order to be able to progress elsewhere in the company. I'm lucky I had a really good mentor at the time and sales kept propping up into conversation. I think, Gill, like you and I might have talked a little bit about sales when I was trying to figure out what to do, as well, it was just one of those things that kept coming back to me. He actually helped me get a business development role in our London office.
I was stoked about the offer, but I just didn't want to move. I was really happy in Australia. COVID was still around, my life had been really disrupted, and I just felt like I really needed some stability. I said no to the role, which was a really big deal because I'd never said no to a role before, particularly a role that was a step up and it was in the exact space that I wanted to be in. But it just felt really important to me that I wanted to make sure that whatever my next move was was really important for me personally, as well as professionally. Worley's a global business, I thought, surely, I can do the same role in Australia, we've got an Australian sales team. I don't know anyone from the sales team in Australia, but I went on our website and I looked up the org chart, so I found out who the sales lead was for our region and I just set up a meeting with him out of the blue.
I don't know what came over me. I had no idea who he was, never met him before. I just said, "Look, I've been offered the sales role in London. I'm really keen to join the sales team, but I want to do it in Australia." He said, "Look, I'll get back to you in a couple of months. I'm making some changes to my team, I'll let you know". It just so happened that about a month after that, one of the key people in his team resigned, but it was a very different role. It was managing our proposals team, managing a team, and a lot more process-driven than customer-facing business development, but what I really wanted was to move into a people management role and start proving my people leadership skills. It really fit perfectly, because it was a double whammy of being able to learn about sales and manage a team. It's just worked really, really well. It's been hard, but it's been really rewarding.
Gillian Fox: Kudos to you, Soph. It was such a proactive move within the organisation, but you had the appetite and I think that job offer just ignited it a little bit more, which was beautiful, that allowed you to go and have that conversation. Honestly, what was the downside of having that conversation? If you have a good conversation, you're still going to leave a good impression, even if they say no, but it obviously landed all beautifully and you have achieved what you wanted, and that is people responsibility, a stretch role, a whole new learning experience that's going to set you up. I love it, Soph, I love it. Which brings me to the point and one of the things that I wanted to explore with you both, and it's this idea of future-proofing your career. I know the word future-proofing is used a lot, but to me, it's about owning your career and thinking forward, how do I stay relevant and contemporary in my business environment so the next gig or the next part of my development evolves?
You can see with both of the examples that you shared, you are incredibly thoughtful about your decisions. There was nothing flippant or just default in the steps that you took. I think of future-proofing a bit like this, but I also think future-proofing has four things that really define it. For me, it's around leadership, confidence, resilience, and relationships, there are four fundamental things. I'm sure there's others, but to me they're the heroes, if you like. I'd love to talk to you about these. Soph, I'll kick off with you, and this question relates to confidence. When you took that role, which was very different and a good step up, how did you know your value when you took that role? Now, I knew you could do it, but what I'm interested in is what was your thought processes? Because people can have a very interesting narrative at those moments, which can either push you forward or push you away from an opportunity. So what was it for you?
Sophie Milloy: I think in my core, I knew I could do it, but at the same time, if I'd saw that role advertised, there's no way I would have applied for it. It's an interesting one. I knew I was really ready to lead a team and I knew I wanted the exposure to sales. I know that I'm a quick learner, I know what I'm capable of, but I guess it was just the pressure of proving that to other people. I felt like when I got it, I was like, "You can't screw this up. Someone's taking a chance on you, you wanted this, you've pushed for this, you've got to deliver". It's worked out really well. I have definitely had big bouts of imposter syndrome. I've got a really supportive team and a really supportive manager, they give me great feedback, so that really helps. I guess depending on the day, sometimes I'm really confident, sometimes I'm not, I guess it depends. It's probably the same with everyone, I imagine.
Gillian Fox: Which I think is very, very, very normal, so I think it's very normal. There is a great explanation by Adam Grant, who I absolutely love, around imposter syndrome and it's like, "Of course, you're going to feel like an imposter if you're truly stretching yourself and doing something new, how can you not? Don't get all hung up that imposter syndrome is such a bad thing". I liked that whole reframing, because it's true right, if you are truly stretching yourself, it's only natural to wobble and maybe not act with the high level of certainties that you did in a more familiar role. I think when you look at it that way, you can go, "This is normal, this is all good, I'm doing okay".
Ingrid, I remember having some really interesting conversations with you about the importance about networking and building relationships. Tell us a little bit about that, what did you learn in that process?
Ingrid Botha: When we first met, I was feeling very stuck. I had a project that I thought was a really good one and everyone I spoke to said it's a really good project and it just wasn't going anywhere. What I came to understand through our conversations is that I hadn't done the networking that you need to do to lay those foundations. I'm a good networker on a very informal level and going around and just getting to know people, it's just the sort of person I am. I'm an open book, I chat to people because I'm nice and I think other people have value and I just want to have a chat with people and get to know people.
I came to understand through the process that all the problems that I had with the idea of networking and the ickiness of putting yourself out there because you want to brown nose to go and suck up to people to get promotions and that sort of thing, that sort of perspective was very naive, I think. Here, I had this great project and if I had managed to get into the room where the decisions are being made, that project, which was a really worthy one, would have had such a better future. Turning that around and going, "How do I network to be able to progress these things, rather than for putting myself out there and telling everybody how wonderful I am", but going, "These necessary things need to happen," or, "I need to be in that role, because I'm going to bring value to it", as opposed to, "Because I feel like I'm so important".
That was a really naive idea that I had to start with and seeing it in a very different way has really helped me understand how to bring value. In terms of networking, I have made a deliberate choice to understand that people, particularly in quality assurance, tend to stay within their own bubble. That's great, but where do you go then when you need to promote a project or ask technical help or offer technical help? In terms of relationship building, adding that element and going, "Well, what value do I bring, other than just saying hi to people and having a nice experience at work, where can I bring value?"
Gillian Fox: But it's such a different perspective, it's shifting from... I think the thing that you think it's icky is because we take things personally. We think it's such a personal thing, but really, it's about the business. It's no different than doing any other task in your business, it's about driving an outcome and how can you drive that outcome? What you are saying is, "I can add value", and I love that. How can I contribute and demonstrate my value and cultivate a trusting and credible relationship in business? If you get really practical about that, just get rid of all the other nonsense that sits around it, you can actually get quite focused and good at it.
Ingrid Botha: I go and seek out relationships and build those networks before you need them, understand who is likely to help me in the future and who can I help in the future? When you've got those moments when you are vulnerable and you need to go to somebody and say, "Look, I really need your help here", or, "I've mucked up here," or, "I can see something's not working and I'm getting really frustrated with this," how do you go and be vulnerable and say, "I need your help here?"
It works the other way, too. If you've got those good relationships fettered down, then somebody else can come and say, "Oh, Ingrid, I don't know what to do here". Instead of me getting cranky at them because something's not working, they feel like they can come and say, "Look, I'm open and honest and vulnerable here, how do I get out of this?" You can help and that makes you feel good that you've helped, it helps the business because the process is now working better, and it helps them because they've also been able to solve a problem. You can't do that without relationships.
Gillian Fox: You're a better leader as well, I love that. I love that. Soph, let's talk about what's important to you as a leader. How do you want to be experienced as a leader? What are your reflections?
Sophie Milloy: It's funny, as soon as you get put into these leadership positions, you immediately start thinking about all of the bad managers that you've had over your career. I honestly think I've learned more from what I don't want to do than what I do want to do. I think you learn a lot from bad managers and you learn a lot from really good managers and then there's a lot of ones in the middle. But I guess for me, personally, it's really important that I put people first and lead by example. I really love my job and I love working, but I also firmly believe in working to live, not living to work, and so it's important I try and model a really good work-life balance to my team, as well as the importance of prioritising yourself and your family and your hobbies, as well as your job.
We are all humans, we aren't robots, everyone has good days and bad days, everyone has emotions, sometimes we let them get the better of us. I read in Radical Candor by Kim Scott something that really stuck with me, is no one comes to work to do a bad job. I always remember that when something goes wrong or someone's might have made a mistake or whatever it is, no one intends to do a bad job, no one intends to make a mistake, everyone's doing the best they can on that day, in that moment. A lot of the time, if things happen, it's not because of that person's work environment, there's something else going on for them that's distracting. I think really bringing that whole person human piece and really leading with empathy is really, really important to me.
Gillian Fox: Yes, those bad past bosses, I always think of them as the little gifts that we are given along the way, even though they're horrendous experiences at the time, but it does give you clarity. Thank you to all the bad bosses out there.
Ingrid, any change process in my mind requires a bit of grit, a bit of courage. Where did you draw your resilience from at that time? Because when you get an announcement like you did, it was unexpected, it can rattle your cage, and now you need to be action-orientated, and you were. Where did you find that courage, that mental toughness, to make the right decisions?
Ingrid Botha: I see resilience as really being about understanding what resources you have and understanding what options that gives you. The first thing I did was talk to my teammates who were in the same situation who had been through it before, so that gave me a little bit of calm and gave me some space to think, and then just sitting down and looking what the resources are. I've been in the industry a while, so I know quite a few people, so someone's going to know if there's something going on in terms of jobs available. I know that I've got leadership experience, I know I've got experience in manufacturing, which is increasingly rare, so with those things and just having that courage and instead of going, "Oh no, I'm now in a situation where I'm going to have to scramble to find a job", go, "You know what? I've got some things in my toolkit," and to take those.
And then once you're at that situation, it just becomes a project like any others, laying down what the timeline is, what goals I need to meet, and who's around, and just being prepared that if you get a no, you can just keep going around to your network and finding out who else is around there. As it was, I got a yes very quickly, so that was fantastic and that was a really nice boost. That boost then becomes another thing you can put in your toolkit, so if this was to happen again, I've got this situation, I've been through this experience before.
Gillian Fox: Now, I have to ask you about RISE because that's how we are all connected, through our lovely RISE experience. This is probably going to require some deep memory focus here, what attracted you to join the RISE program? Soph, if I'm correct, it was your boyfriend, who I exercised with, that allowed you to find RISE? But tell us what attracted you to the actual program, even though he may have thrown that into the ring.
Sophie Milloy: It was my partner, Jack, who originally told me about you, Gill, and actually, I started following you on social media. I did a little bit of a stalk beforehand.
Gillian Fox: As you do.
Sophie Milloy: I really liked your approach and I looked up the RISE program. I knew I needed something to give me a bit of an edge. I think I'd lost a bit of confidence and a bit of momentum and I felt like I was in a bit of an echo chamber with everyone who was mentoring me, I worked at the same company and I just wanted a bit of an outside perspective. I just thought I'd take the plunge. I didn't really know what was going to come of it, but it's made such a change to my career. It is a bit of an investment, but the return on an investment for me personally has been absolutely huge. I feel a lot more confident in my career because of it, for sure.
Gillian Fox: That's lovely. I loved working with you, too, it was really nice. I'm really proud of everything that you've achieved, it's been great.
Sophie Milloy: Thanks.
Gillian Fox: It's been great. Ingrid, what about for you? I do remember some of our very initial phone conversations, you'd be surprised how much I remember, actually. Tell us your reason for joining RISE.
Ingrid Botha: Well, I'll echo Sophie in that I felt like I was losing momentum. I'm not necessarily interested in climbing up the ladder, but I was interested in broadening my experience and getting into juicy projects. I was just at that period with that project that was going nowhere and I took a breath and thought, I need to get a different perspective. I know that I'm missing something here, but I don't know what it is. I'd seen your newsletter, I think you've coached a friend of mine and she'd referred your newsletter to me. And then through that newsletter, I'd seen the material and when I saw the RISE program identified, I thought, you know what? That's what I need here, just to kick me along just to give me a bit of energy. It turned out to be much, much more useful than that, it gave me an absolute fresh perspective, so I'm so glad that I did it.
Gillian Fox: Well, I am too, Ingrid. I am too. I think it's really interesting, because you can go through parts of your career where you feel like you're flying or your bucket is full and you just feel really good, and then there are moments in your career where you really just feel like you're lacking energy. If everyone did a survey internally, it would tick all the boxes, you'd be tracking really well, but internally, you just don't feel like things are right. The high performers, they do have that thought process where, am I about to lose momentum? I don't like that, that's not who I am. I think attending a program like RISE can be that thing that ignites the inspiration and the focus again. You both did so well, I feel like you achieved so much, and you've done a great job of future-proofing your careers.
My next question is very future-focused, what are you really excited about in the year ahead? Thinking about 2023, what excites you the most?
Sophie Milloy: I definitely feel like 2023 is going to be a good year. I've really got my feet under the table in this role now, I'm feeling really comfortable and really confident in it and I know the ropes and know what I've got to do to move it forward. I guess as an industry, the energy industry has a lot of big challenges at the moment, and being in sales, we're really at the front end of that. It's really challenging us to think differently and that's something that I'm really excited about. It's a really big, pivotal moment for the industry and watching my team evolve and how we solve that as a company is really exciting.
Gillian Fox: Love it. What about you, Ingrid, what are you excited about?
Ingrid Botha: Our organisation is about to spin-off from the mother organisation, so it's going to be an incredible year of transition. To be in there and being able to influence things locally, and potentially regionally and globally, at a time that, it's just the sort of thing that really does ignite me to be able to be involved in projects that have so much energy. They're saying it'll be a year, I think the effects will be even longer than that, and it's going to be a really good one to get my teeth into.
Gillian Fox: Excellent, excellent. I love the energy for both of you. It's going to be a great year for both of you, which is fantastic.
I know it's been a very different kind of conversation than we normally have, but I love that you've been willing to share your insights and your perspective and some of your experiences and to talk about RISE, too, so thank you.
Ingrid Botha: Thanks. It's been a lot of fun.
Sophie Milloy: It's been fun.
Thank you for joining me today. I would love to give you something for free to help you with your career.
It’s my guide on How to say no at work. It’s perfect for the people-pleasers and if you like the idea of learning how to say no, gracefully and honestly and in a variety of work situations, then you’ll love this guide.
It includes 6 scripts on how to say no without compromising your reputation. This is the sort of thing you want to quietly put in your career development toolkit and pull it out when you need it. Click the link in the description or go to www.yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/how-to-say-no.