21.06.18 / AGDA QLD / Dames & Dumplings

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AGDA QLD Dames & Dumplings - Confidence, Thursday 21 June 2018

SpeakerTanja Hall (Director at JOLT), Jen Jeavons (Co-Founder and Creative Director at Pixel Palace) and Kelley Sheenan (Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Peppermint Magazine) – alongside our moderator and AGDA councilor Tia Queen (Co-Founder and Creative Director at Gangplank).
Location Fat Dumpling Restaurant, 2 King Street, Bowen Hills

Review by Lindsay Tucker, AGDA QLD Chair.

We had a full house at Fat Dumpling in Bowen Hills for Queensland’s inaugural Dames & Dumplings event – a gathering of creative ladies to celebrate and foster upcoming talent around the topic of confidence. We were joined by three guest dames – Tanja Hall (Director at JOLT), Jen Jeavons (Co-Founder and Creative Director at Pixel Palace) and Kelley Sheenan (Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Peppermint Magazine) – alongside our moderator and AGDA councilor Tia Queen (Co-Founder and Creative Director at Gangplank). We kicked off by asking, “Why confidence?.” I explained it’s not a topic we usually discuss, yet according to the media confidence is the biggest issue we face at work today. In the creative industry, only 22% of women are in senior management positions (Salary Survey, 2017). Why is this the case? Do our issues around confidence come from within, from myths we tell ourselves, or from the way we project ourselves? Can we become more confident?

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Pull quote: “There’s a difference between confidence and ego” – Jen Jeavons.

Tia began asking the tough questions, which were split into three areas: 1. Personal confidence; 2. Professional confidence; and, 3. Building confidence. As the wine flowed and the dumplings sizzled, our dames engaged the audience with pearls of wisdom and their own experiences around confidence throughout their lives and career. Jen reminded us that there’s a difference between confidence and ego. A simple statement but so true. We can be confident without thinking we’re better than others. Amen, sister! For Jen, confidence comes from knowing your ‘why?’ and a feeling of overwhelming purpose. Pushing yourself outside the comfort zone makes things more interesting, opens the door to new opportunities and leads to somewhere better in the long run. Jen also thinks of confidence like a muscle – you have to work and exercise it to grow it!

In contrast, Kelley focuses more on courage than confidence. As someone who was naturally shy, experiencing loss within the family made her realise she needed to pursue what she believed in and Peppermint Magazine was born. As the night drew on and the dumplings were served, we touched upon some interesting data from Cornell University that women tend to downplay their abilities and performance. So we asked the dames about imposter syndrome and if they’d ever suffered from this. Kelley remembers being referred to as ‘The Editor’ and having a ‘Who, Me?’ moment, revealing to herself that she had downplayed her own position. On the flip side she once walked into a studio and introduced herself as the new designer here for her first day – and it worked! Using confidence to create a job for herself at her dream studio was a bold move that paid off.

As someone who has run her own studio for 25 years, Tanja had some insights to share around professional confidence. “I realised that for me to empower my staff, I actually need to step away. The more present I am, the more I am relied upon and the less capable they realise they can be.” It’s interesting to note that many of us do become more confident when the boss is away as we’re forced to make decisions when we’d usually rely on others. Another insight Tanja shared was having the confidence to do things your own way. When the studio she worked for became stuck in the past and refused to embrace new technology, she decided to leave and do her own thing. 25 years later and JOLT is still going strong, proving that you have the power to implement change. Having confidence in yourself when you know something is true is important – despite what others think. Tanja also had an interesting way of shaking up traditional male hierarchy around the boardroom table. She ran a Design Thinking strategy workshop and was warned that only a select few were being heard at every meeting. So Tanja removed the boardroom table, which usually makes people feel important. All of the team were equally exposed and the ratio of contributions in the conversations completely flipped.

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“Find your tribe.” – A sentiment embraced by each of our dames

As the baskets of dumplings piled high, Tia ended the discussion by asking our dames about building confidence. All agreed that finding your tribe is key. Surrounding yourself with positive people that uplift and help to bolster your beliefs does wonders for your confidence. Life is too short to be around negativity or people who shake your confidence. Sometimes we need to be reminded of this and our first Dames & Dumplings event certainly delivered. We had some great feedback from ladies who told us it’s exactly what they needed to hear right now, and I felt that too. No matter where we are in our journey through life, we all need reminding that we’ve got each other’s back. As women we are moving into an age of support and empowerment and are slowly realising that criticising one another is detrimental to the whole of sisterhood. We need to lift each other up and help achieve our goals!

AGDA are looking forward to bringing you another Dames & Dumplings event soon. We’ll be on the lookout for a new venue. If you have any suggestions, get in touch!

References:
Communications Salary Survey 2017

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