YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU
I started my company at 21 and knew absolutely freaking nothing about everything! An expert in ignorant bliss, if you will. You can read out my confessions from the early days (where I even made up fake staff names so that my dining table operation appeared like a proper business). When I outgrew being a soloprenuer (because lets face it, my imaginary staff where just not cutting it), I had to start bringing (real life) people into the business. It was a very quick life lesson that I realized I was not a very good people manager. While I got by, I knew it was definitely not my strength and something i had to work on getting better at, and quick. And to be completely honest, I really struggled with it At that time, I thought people management was the only style of leadership, and I was failing miserably at it. ⠀
14 years into my career now, I have learnt there are many ways to lead… And you don’t have to have a business, to be a leader. ⠀
To me, a leader is someone who has empathy, patience and an attitude that automatically leans towards optimism. ⠀
A good leader is someone when everything is against them, they persist. ⠀
A good leader is the first to admit when they are wrong. ⠀
A good leader listens. ⠀
A leader shares information and experience. ⠀
You can be a leader in your daily exercise class, in your uni classroom, at work as Christmas casual on the retail floor. Its all about the integrity of energy you bring, and the approach you take.
A good leader empowers; I believe a good leaders success is defined by who how they invest time and interest into empowering others. ⠀
In business, once you find yourself in a management position, your success is not longer defined by your individual achievements, its actually quite the opposite, you almost have to take a back seat as it is defined by how your team performs, and how you nurture & grow individuals in to team to more senior positions. ⠀
I am so incredibly honoured to be featured in the @WhoMagazine Women Who Series, powered by @HoldenAustralia – and it is only because of the incredible team I am surrounded by that I am. While I am definitely better than I was 14 years ago I am the first to admit I am still pretty shit at people management… My leadership style is much more about information sharing, and my focus is to do so in a very real and vulnerable way. In terms of direct people management, I AM brilliant at surrounding myself with people who are experts at it!
I invite you to meet the incredible women of the @SamanthaWillsOfficial Senior Management Team below, as they share some of their insights on Leadership.
Thank you Who Magazine and Holden, for empowering Women In Business. – SWx
INTRODUCING: THE WOMEN OF THE SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Nadia Lotter, Brand Director
SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd
Being a caring leader to me is the ability to not just see the individual for who they are now in the workplace, but to see them in the future and who they are in their personal life. The ability to truly see the individual for who they are and inspire them to always take risks, make mistakes and fail but most of all to always be themselves.
I believe if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a successful leader.
As a brand we have an incredible focus on the conscious kindness effect. This effect in the SW world is about constantly embracing our WHY and giving back as often as we can.
We have the ability to talk to woman everyday and while we remain at large a product driven business, we also ensure we are always taking a step out of the cookie cutter business model to give back the community and the incredible network of woman who support the brand.
There’s not a day that goes by that someone in the office doesn’t do something amazing for either a customer, a friend or a work colleague.
Yvonne Rielly, Financial Controller,
SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd
To me, leadership means;
- Putting the team first, no matter what it is they need. Whether it’s advice, laughs, teaching them something new, hankies….!
- It’s like being a mother – caring, cajoling, critical for improvements sake and celebrating the wins. But also protecting them, they are my team, if there is an issue in the team, its my fault and I need to address it. Outwardly to the business, the buck stops with me.
- Staying calm and positive when things are crazy – no one needs a storm on top of a storm.
- Being honest and direct. Subtlety is not clear communication.
I think success as a leader has to be a constantly evolving thing because if you pinpoint your success on one thing, you’ll either never make it or you’ll stop once you have it. And if we’re not moving forward, then we’re going backwards because you cannot stay still in one place.
As a leader, when I look back on what we have achieved, we have had success. And as I look forward to what we are aiming to achieve, there is excitement at getting to those goals and whatever comes next.
What other brand likes to ‘surprise and delight’ their customers and staff!? Or create amazing new product for mothers day every year so we can donate 100% of the proceeds to charity?! At SAMANTHA WILLS, We have an amazing team who will talk openly and honestly about what has worked, not worked and make changes.
We are a team of (mainly) women inspiring each other every day to be the best version of ourselves.
Courtney Danks, Buying & Planning Director
SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd
Leadership means so much to me, as I believe in leading by example. If you treat your team with love, respect and honesty you will 99% of the time receive this back.
My father who is a wonderful leader in his own field used to always say ‘treat others the way you would want to be treated no matter who they are’ and I believe this rings true not only in life but in the workplace also. We are human and not robots after all, and being a leader that cares means that you understand your team for not only their strengths but also their weaknesses and can encourage and support them to achieve the best outcomes.
Success as a leader to me means motivation, happiness and pride in what we do; if I can bring this out in my team, that is what success means to me. Because let’s be honest, we are not always going to get it right, and there will be days that are tough and times where we feel like there is no end in sight. But through these tough times, if we can move through it with a great attitude and learn and grow from our mistakes, this is what success looks like to me.
A brand thinks differently from the top down, it starts with people. Not only internally but this flows down to the customer as well. My dear friend who is struggling with Cancer was in hospital before I had even started with the brand, Samantha and the team sent her a care package of beautiful Samantha Wills jewellery and a note of love and support to her hospital bed. This kind gesture brought so much hope and strength to my friend in this difficult time and she still talks about it to this day.
What I also love is the amazing recruitment process that focuses not only on a persons skills but on who they are as an individual. We take the time to get to know the person from their family to their life experiences and I think this is why we have such a strong team at SW HQ.
Lucinda Grice, Program and Partnerships Director
SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd
To me being a leader it is about support, transparency, empathy and trust.
It’s empowering your team, creating a supportive space for them to not only succeed but providing a safety net in which they can fail. (They truly are the best lessons!)
It’s being true to yourself and always looking for ways to be inclusive and transparent, ensuring the team is taken along the highs and lows of the journey with you.
It’s believing in each other and having empathy. We all have shitty days and that’s ok. It’s the plan we put in place and how we bounce back that matters most
It’s a mutual trust that we place in each other.
As a leader, success to me means two things; Firstly, the happiness and success of the wider team - collectively, but equally as individuals.Is there a shared vision? Are they motivated and inspired? Are they learning, growing, moving forward? Do they feel trusted? Empowered? Challenged? Valued? And secondly, being the most open and honest version of yourself. People see through you other wise and it’s impossible to earn trust and build meaningful relationships. And most of all, it’s owning your own mistakes but also being accountable for the actions of your team.
At SAMANTHA WILLS we think differently as brand due to our overall inclusiveness and supportive culture, I think thats what that sets us apart.
I think there is a real sincerity to this mindset that is felt within the team, but also by our customers. As a brand and especially as a work place we put a lot of emphasis on being inclusive, down to earth and accessible.
Not only is there a genuine love and care for our customers and team, but in particular a refreshing focus on women in business, again creating an inclusive and supportive environment for women to be inspired, and be inspiring!
Vanessa Carver, Marketing Director,
SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd
For me, it’s important to be a leader that can motivate my team, lift them up when they are feeling like the challenge ahead is too steep, to encourage them to try (even if they fail) and to celebrate each win – big or small. All of which really stems from one thing - being a caring leader. If you genuinely care for those you lead, they will care for you right back. And with care comes mutual respect, dedication, and an eagerness to please one another. The bones to a strong and successful team!
Success comes in all shapes and sizes. On a day-to-day I strive to see my team succeed in growing the Samantha Wills brand, continuing to create beautiful and meaningful campaigns that our customer can resonate and engage with. But on a much higher level, success as a leader is definitely defined by the state of my team - To ensure my team feel happy and safe in their workplace each and every day, that they feel confident to come to the table with any fun and crazy idea, to be able to nurture them and see them grow within the business into what they truly love and aspire to do – but most importantly, that we are doing things daily that make them feel proud to say they work for SAMANTHA WILLS.
Working for the SAMANTHA WILLS brand where ‘conscientious kindness’ and a dedication to ‘giving back’ comes from the top, is a rare find. It’s everything from the way we look after one-another as a team, to how we work with charities, support and drive the need for equality in our world and the way we adore our customers, that makes this brand truly special and unique.
WHO MAGAZINE IMAGE:
WHO Magazine - On sale nationally Thursday February 22nd, 2018
PHOTOGRAPHY: Peter Brew-Bevan
SAMANTHA'S HAIR + MAKEUP: Max May
STYLED BY: Michael Azzollini
POWERED BY: Holden