Saturday, April 6, 2013

Meet Zoe Ferguson - Career mum and triathlete

Meet Zoe Ferguson! Zoe Ferguson is a working mum who has been competing in the National Triathlon World Championships Qualifiers in Australia. Zoe has been ranking 2nd nationally for her age and she came 7th overall in the World Championships in Auckland in 2012.

What do you do?
Strategic Sourcing Partner for NAB

How old are your children?
 Alyna (7), Molly (5)

Did you always have the intention of progressing your career after having your children?

It takes a village to raise a family. Who helps you to manage work and family?
 My husband and a company/manager that supports flexible working arrangement

Every parent should have a selfish pursuit or ‘not-negotiable’ that provides them with an opportunity to relax and re-charge their batteries every week. What is your ‘not-negotiable’?

Describe a typical day:
Three days a week up at 5am for swim session that lasts 1.5 hours, then to work feeling energised. I then try to squeeze in a lunchtime run around the Tan Track when work permits, then home for family time over dinner and story time for our 3 and 6 year old girls. The two days I don’t work involve school drop offs, and general focus on the kids with no training. Weekends will be 6-7 hour training blocks on the bike and running or actually competing in events. My husband also competes at a high level in triathlons so we battle for training times!!

You have a flexible working week that allows you to train for the 2012 Triathlon World Championship Series. How did you approach this?
I identified a future goal that was important to me so sat down separately with my husband and manager and worked out the way I could optimise my available time, involving the best fit for my training, family and work commitments, without letting any area be jeopardised. I am fortunate NAB is an employer of choice that supports flexible work arrangements, and also my manager and team are supportive of my approach.

What do you think people considering a flexible working arrangement could learn from your experience?
There is so much that can be achieved if you give yourself stretch targets both personally and professionally. Personal achievement can have such a positive impact on your working day. For example in 2010 I completed an Ironman event (3.8km swim, 180km ride, 42km run) in less than 11 hours which has given me so much confidence in all aspects of my life. I now approach work challenges thinking if I can do an Ironman then I can handle anything that work throws at me!

Have there been some difficult moments in your career with young children? What were they?
Yes absolutely - mainly dealing with the guilt e.g. when the children have been sick during a busy time at work. I have also been impacted (role redundant) 3 times in the last 12 months...I have tried to live by the mantra, "what is meant to be, is meant to be!!".

What advice would you give to parents who are about to return to work and resume their careers?
Don't be afraid to stretch yourself with goals outside of work.

What support measures should employers be offering to working parents?
Flexible working arrangements = higher engagement & productiveness

What is something you can’t survive the day without?
A kiss from the kids before they go to bed each night, and my husband’s constant supply of Cadbury chocolate (he works for them).
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
In life you get what you deserve: put your best effort in and you will get the results and accolades. Triathlon is the perfect example: if you start to skip training sessions and don’t have 100% commitment, you will undoubtedly be found out on race day. If you give it your all and leave nothing in the tank then you get results you deserve. There are no short cuts. This applies to work, family, sport…everything.

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