I first met Edith when I was training for a marathon with Can Too back in 2011. At this time, I was in the depths of my social work career. I was burnt out, tired and stressed. I ran along with Edith and chatted to her one day about what she does and formed a deep admiration. What she described to me sounds very attractive, (and still does). On a personal note, she is one of the few people who picks up the phone and calls me to see if I am okay when I write a deep dark blog post.
So, what does Edith do?
Edith is a woman of many talents, and one of the first people who made me think outside of the box in terms of my own career.
I don’t have to do one thing for the rest of my life. I can do a number of things.
Edith runs her own strategic and business consulting practice, works part time as head of operations for Mozaic Management Consulting, sits on the board for The Can Too Foundation and is a facilitator for Beyond Blue.
Did I mention that Edith finds the time to train for and run a marathon every year, between raising two girls and sustaining a successful marriage.
Oh and she works on projects with her husband too!
This sounds all a bit hectic on paper, but not when I speak to her about how it works.
Edith has struck a balance between raising a family, working for causes she is passionate about and helping businesses to grow and change. A 12 year history as a corporate project manager has given her the experience to design the way she works. With the learning gained from running her own consultancy she helps enable others to grow or start up their own business.
When having our coffee a few weeks ago, I realised this was someone who had found her balance. But she didn’t just stumble across it by accident. It was not handed to her on a silver platter. She had to redesign her life and the way she worked to get there.
Sitting inside one fine day when her babies were young, Edith was completing some consulting work while her children were playing outside with the nanny in the grass.
Something inside her mind shifted. She knew she had to get the balance better than this.
From that moment, Edith decided to make her business working for her the top priority, so she could put more of her efforts into raising ‘purposeful children’ as she puts it. Working out the balance between her and her husband by taking flexible yet fulfilling positions she was able to fit family life around her career.
I asked what she thinks about women having children AND having a purpose or calling.
Is it really possible to do both?
Absolutely. Edith says “there is a period of time which is challenging, but it does not go for ever.”
Not only living her own life with a social conscience but raising her daughters to have the same perspective to want to help others who are experiencing disadvantage has been important for Edith.
“It is the way I have been brought up – Dad sent me to an Aboriginal community at aged 14 for the school holidays… I have tried to do the same with my daughters and raise them as purposeful people.”
And that she has. Her daughters recently joined me on the track last September for their first half marathon program, raising money for The Can Too Foundation.
With the early years of motherhood behind her what is next for someone with such an impressive list of achievements already?
Edith tells me that would like to focus her energies on supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing, but isn’t quite sure how she will go about this just yet.
Something tells me she will do just fine.