On Friday, 8 September 2023, Akyra held a special event that showcased its commitment to giving back to its clients and the community it relies on. This exclusive executive lunch was a chance to express appreciation to those who have been an integral part of Akyra’s journey.
The highlight of the day was a captivating fireside chat between Jacqueline Nagle and Jeanette Jifkins, prominent figures in the business world. The conversation covered a wide range of topics, from business and growth to personal values and recent HR changes.
Jeanette’s Unique Journey
Jeanette Jifkins shared her fascinating journey, which began with a childhood dream of becoming a vet but evolved into a successful career in business. She stressed the importance of being a good mentor as a business leader, emphasising that even when the conversation may not seem beneficial for oneself, it’s essential to prioritise the well-being of employees and the greater community.
One key question that resonated with the audience was when Jacqueline asked, “Who feels like they weren’t taught what they needed to know when they stepped into this minefield called business?” Jeanette’s response underscored the need for balance in leadership roles, where family and support networks play a crucial role in recognising when it’s time to take a break.
Jeanette also touched on the challenge of wearing multiple hats as a leader—balancing responsibilities as a business operator, spouse, board member, author, and more. Her advice was clear: decide which tasks are most important and celebrate your successes along the way, even if it’s just appreciating the feedback from others who value your contributions.
Navigating HR and Employment Law Changes
Jeanette shed light on the significant changes occurring in HR and employment law, emphasising that these changes are more significant than the introduction of the Fair Work Act. Small business owners often struggle to keep up with these changes, and there’s a lack of support for them compared to employees.
She highlighted the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace, advocating for mental health first aid training within teams. Jeanette stressed that understanding each other’s struggles is crucial, especially when employees don’t have a tight-knit team to rely on. She encouraged open, judgment-free conversations and the need for leaders with empathy to facilitate these discussions.
Parental Leave Legislation
A challenging topic discussed was parental leave legislation, which can be confusing for many. Jeanette delved into the differences between paid and unpaid parental leave and the criterial that applies. She raised concerns about the limitations in sharing parental leave and the complex scenarios that can arise, emphasising the need for clarity and fairness.
Lessons & Advice
Amidst the serious discussions, Jeanette shared some light-hearted moments from her journey. She mentioned that reading “The Four-Hour Workweek” had a profound impact on her career path, as it led her to explore new opportunities.
One standout piece of advice she offered, which she finds herself repeating often, is “It’s not about you.” She emphasised the importance of staying focused on objectives and not getting caught up in one’s ego or self-doubt. Her message was clear: keep your eye on the bigger picture.
The Power of Perseverance and Support
Jeanette shared the valuable influence her family had on her life and career. Her parents instilled in her the desire to learn and remain open to new ideas. She stressed the importance of perseverance and single-mindedness in achieving one’s goals.
Akyra’s executive lunch was not just another business event because it was a meaningful gathering of individuals who are passionate about business, growth, and making a difference. It provided valuable insights and fostered connections within the Akyra community.
As we move forward, may we all continue to support one another, learn from each other’s experiences, and strive to make a positive impact in the world of business and beyond.
In closing, Margaret, Akyra’s Director, left us with an impactful message: “It needs to be solutions focused and the right thing to do, it also needs to make a difference, and it needs to be fair.” Her words echoed the ethos that guides Akyra in its day-to-day dealings with clients.
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