PEOPLE: John Monash Scholar – Emma Garlett

Can you tell our readers what a normal day looks like for Emma Garlett? 

I love a good coffee, and I grab one every morning. Each day is different. What stays constant is the theme – which includes spending time with people discussing business, culture, and strategy. 

Working from home provides a productive environment when I need to limit distractions and focus on writing. Working from home is an interesting concept, where I find value in having a dual method of working which includes both office time and home time at a 60/40 ratio.

Most of my day is spend on people and relationships, lots of discussions, perspectives, and reassessing then addressing priorities. I find that face-to-face interactions are the best way to connect with people, inspire a shared vision, understand the situation, and to form an action plan. I am not afraid to challenge the narrative. As real leadership comes from when you innovate, think differently, and have the courage to speak up. 

It is important to create a culture that is productive and enjoyable. Each day brings a new opportunity for action, as well as a chance to think deeply and reflect.

How important is diversity to you and in the work that you do?

Diversity and inclusion in integral to the research I am conducting at Curtin Law School as we need an interdisciplinary approach to solve the world’s complex problems. We will not solve issues with only law reform, we need new technology, co-design of strategy, community participation in implementation, and most importantly, we need our people to feel a part of something, to feel a sense of belonging. 

Diversity of thought brings different perspectives, values and morals which allows critical thinking, innovation, and participation to allow for effective decisions to the benefit all stakeholders. It is not always about the policies you have or laws you follow, it is about the culture and the attitude of the people. The wrong attitude is a huge barrier, while an inclusive attitude fosters a shared vision.

Have you ever faced challenges in your professional career from others because of your identity and if so, how were you able to overcome that?

I am a First Nations women who is not afraid to use the power of words to effect change. I am also in my mid-twenties. I am often the youngest person in the room. 

I have experienced many challenges. Racism is real. Sexism is real. Ageism is real. It is important to continue your journey despite prejudice or misogyny. It is near impossible to change the mind of a developed adult who has established a mindset which is racist or sexist. It is not worth your energy to try to change someone. 

It is more important to educate our children to value diversity and celebrate their differences. We must encourage one another to share stories as we are all human and we have a desire to belong and connect to others, stories are relatable and foster a sense of community and vulnerability, which is important in developing relationships. 

We are at a turning point; many people are speaking up about their experiences and as a result, change is starting to happen. These days there are many people who champion inclusivity and diversity as a full-time position; this shows that the future of work is pivoting away from the age-old gentlemen clubs and private networking circles. 

I believe we will start to see more First Nations people in leadership roles, pathways created for neurodiverse people in employment, more opportunities for people with disabilities, and a surge in women in positions of power in the coming future. It is important that workplaces reflect society and the community in which we operate. 

I believe that we all face challenges no matter what our identity is, however, how you overcome the challenge is more important. There is strength in diversity, cultural differences, and life experience. It should be seen as an asset. 

ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH

Do not let the opinion of anyone stop you. Always believe in yourself. Take risks. 

Change is disruptive and change will always happen. When people must stop doing what they have always done, there are challenges involved. 

The more resilient you can become is an asset. You need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Want to follow and support ?

Add me on LinkedIn and follow my journey!LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmagarlett/