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Dynamic Duos: Rebecca & Kylie

Is Adelaide a hub for queer women in leadership? The city has many incredible LGBTIQA+ women working hard to make their city a better place for their community and several of them are partners in life as well as partners in leadership!

For International Women's Day 2024 we talked to three dynamic duos in Adelaide who are inspiring inclusion in their work by leading the way as queer women.

Rebecca and Kylie

This duo moved to Adelaide from the UK just under 5 years ago, along with their four children. Rebecca is Thorne Harbour’s Director of SA and Kylie is the Lead Behaviour Support Practitioner for Crystel Care. Together they bring a wealth of knowledge and commitment to their leadership positions, whilst putting their children first and respecting each other’s professional journey.

Rebecca has been a leader for many years already, and isn’t afraid to be clear and direct, whilst remaining flexible and humble. Kylie is newer to leadership, but they both emphasize the need to teach and upskill their staff, providing foundations for their future success.

Since moving to Adelaide, they’ve found a strong sense of connection in LGBTIQA+ community spaces in the city. At times they’ve found it hard to find specialist services and safe spaces, so they’re both working to create more support for their community.

Balancing personal and professional life can be challenging. How do you manage this balance, especially as a couple?

R: Respectfully! We each have our own passions and journey. Lots of communication and juggling to ensure the children remain our priority while succeeding and enjoying work.

K: We also ensure that we have quality family time outside of work hours which include game nights, outings and holidays.

What challenges have you faced as women in leadership?

R: I’ve faced huge challenges as a woman - if you speak strong then you are perceived as direct and difficult, if you speak timid you are not heard and are perceived as weak.

K: Being a woman in leadership definitely has its challenges and I have personally faced some difficult individuals who have struggled to accept me in my leadership position. At times this has made it more difficult to share that I am in a same sex relationship as I have feared the discrimination that may follow. However, this has also made me more aware of differences within my team and the importance of a supportive environment.

Who are your LGBTIQA+ role models?

R: From as young as I can remember I have had total admiration for Lily Savage, inspired at a young age by someone who could embrace their passions and pull themselves from the grim streets of working-class Britain.

K: My beautiful wife, Rebecca. She always strives to bring out the best in people and provide the best services possible whilst still being an amazing wife and mother to our four children.

In what ways do you think your identities contribute to your leadership approach?

R: I have often left my authentic self at the door when entering the workplace and not mentioned my wife and children. Colleagues have not known that I am a queer woman until they attend my leaving gathering - on reflection this has prevented rapport building and connection.

K: Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has made me more aware of that feeling of not being accepted and how hard it can be to fit in. I feel that this has made me more aware of ensuring that my team feels comfortable, heard, and accepted.

What advice would you give to young LGBTIQA+ individuals?

R: Remain true to yourself and never jeopardise your integrity. Accept that the journey is hard and often you will be forced to make difficult choices. Once you accept the path will be hard it feels much easier.

K: Follow your dreams and don’t let anything hold you back. Use the supports around you if you ever feel overwhelmed and always be your authentic self.


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