I am so many diverse and different things. I'm a creative working in a corporate pant-suited environment. I'm a lawyer, business executive, corporate blogger, fashion aficionado, director, entrepreneur, crazy dog lady and semi-feminist.
Jorden, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Blogger?
I aspire to achieve success as a business leader, CEO of a successful organisation to drive its growth, however, to do it in my way. My motto is style and intelligence do not have to be mutually exclusive. Just as feminine and corporate success are not mutually exclusive. This is what led to the start of my blog, aptly titled The Round Peg in Tweed. Sure you can't fit a square peg into a round hole, but you can work at how to be your round peg so you too can fit into that hole in your way.
Who is your inspiration in life Jorden? How do you keep inspired?
I am inspired by strong, brave and feminine leaders who aren't afraid to take a stand and be fearless. I always push myself to learn and continue to learn and educate myself to stay inspired and to remember the sheer volume of STUFF out there in the world that we don't all know about. It's important when you have that in perspective and certainly keeps me inspired.
We all make mistakes Jorden; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Blogger; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
One of the challenges I have faced has been what I believe to be an unconscious bias due to several factors combined: my age, gender and cultural ethnicity. One instance that stands out to me very vividly that I wish I had the approach in a different way is a conversation that occurred at a board meeting. It was one of the earlier meetings I attended as a newly appointed director, and at the time, I was the only person under the age of 35, one of only three females (in a board of 9), and one of only two individuals of non-anglo backgrounds. The discussion was focussed on clinical governance practice, and I had raised a question about whether a particular process was appropriate for managing and controlling a significant risk area. Being new to the board I was still learning about clinical governance in health, however much of my broader corporate governance and risk experience is directly applicable if not the same in application to a health services environment. The response to my query was atrocious. I caught an eye-roll, received a few heavy sighs and had another older, male director respond very dismissively â€“ so I left it and the conversation moved on. Sometime later, the same issue was raised by both the internal and external auditors and had become more significant. If I could revisit that boardroom conversation, I wish had the bravery to stand firm and ask management to review the process in detail and report back to the board on it whilst it has thankfully not caused a detriment to the organisation and patients and has since been fixed, it could have been something that was remedied earlier had I been more courageous in my voice and not felt so uncertain.
Jorden, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Blogger, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
This is about understanding how to prioritise and that comes from having a deep and true understanding of the needs of your client. It's as simple as that and ensuring open communication. I have worked with clients/stakeholders in my capacity as a lawyer, as a blogger, as a business owner and as a leader and ultimately as long as you maintain a respectful working relationship and truly understand the needs of your client then you will know how to ensure needs of clients are met with the right priority.
Please tell us, Jorden, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Blogger?
I am regularly required to be strategic in my everyday role as well as in my role as a blogger - the question for me and most bloggers is how do I gain reach to a bigger audience and how does that audience engage with my content. As a blogger, my blog is a product that I am essentially selling so in my mind I need to have a clear business plan for - what is my vision for the blog, what are my objectives for the blog, what are the strategic initiatives and activities I'm going to implement in order to achieve those objectives. And then I have to monitor this plan on how the blog is performing. My utilisation of different platforms to increase engagement with my blog, using promotional partners to promote my blog across their audience, and engaging with a variety of different organisations to promote my content has required strategic planning and thinking.
Jorden, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
My approach to challenges in the business is to understand the underlying reasonswhy the challenge exists genuinely. I find this detailed understanding then allows me to employstrategies to address each of the reasons by communicating openly and honestly withrelevant parties to together arrive at a positive outcome.One challenge I overcame was when I faced a difficult external stakeholder when implementing a complete re-write of our Constitution. The process took over 18 months before it was approved for the AGM; the re-write included somewhat controversial changesto our governing rules. At one point all but one stakeholder out of 25 had agreed to all thechanges. They dug their heels in and refused to negotiate at the stakeholder meetings. I met with each of the most senior heads of that organisation individually, to understand their concerns. Communicating outside of the formalised consultation process meant I could have richer discussions with those individuals and was able to get to the true reasons for their dissent. After running through the practical application of the Constitutionand scenario testing their concerns, they finally agreed to the amendments, and the Constitution was unanimously approved at the AGM.
Jorden, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Blogger. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
Being recognised as an AFR Young Executive of the Year two years ago. The process itselfwas a valuable learning and reflective exercise. It encompassed an application processsimilar to this one, and also an all-day filmed simulation where I acted as CEO of a largeorganisation combined with an intensive panel interview. The simulation tested mycapabilities as a leader across numerous traits and qualities and gave me great insight intomy drivers, motivations, strengths and weaknesses.The report on the simulation provided tools with which I could build and leverage uponstrengths I already had. Of particular value to me was learning that certain interactions withinthe simulation that I thought I excelled in, were identified as improvement opportunities. Anexample of this was my negotiation and influence skills. I thought I had achieved a positiveoutcome during the exercise when in fact the assessment showed that whilst I hadobjectively persuaded the other person to agree with my proposal, I hadn't achieved theiremotional buy-in because I had conveyed my points such that the other person had no roomto propose an alternative. I had argued my point respectfully, but the significant learning forme was that sometimes you have to give a little for the sake of achieving that buy-in, even if itmakes no commercial sense to.With these insights, I have over the following years keenly observed my CEO whom I believe isfantastic at achieving buy-in for all initiatives. She is a soft influencer, and I admire heras a trailblazing woman who is fearless in chasing a cause, whilst being supportive of othersalong the way. I have emulated her approaches in my interactions. Having her as a rolemodel to observe has helped me adapt and leverage my skills to more effectively drivechange, build influence and successfully negotiate outcomes.Further outputs of the award and the development I have had from it since have been thevalue in using it as a platform for raising awareness about industry issues and initiatives that Iam passionate about. I have been invited to speak at conferences and events, and haveused these opportunities to speak about the importance of leaders using their influence toeffect positive social change on issues such as diversity on Boards and in senior leadershippositions.
Jorden, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
The Round Peg in Tweed is, in fact, my way of expressing my creativity in a corporate environment. Difficult is the digital learning curve I am going on, but exciting is the ability to do this completely new project that engages my self and combines it with my corporate experience.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Blogger?
Create content that you love, not what everyone else is doing. There is no success in trying to copy someone else's success which can be a trap many aspiring bloggers fall into. Focus on your content, and your objectives and the followers will organically grow.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes, fashion talents and other creative corporates - there are many of us out there! Not to mention the many products, brands and services that cater to stylish, powerful corporate women.
Photographer: Lawrence Lam