When Lisa Lamb was a child, she spent nine months travelling around Australia with her family. Almost thirty-three years later she would take her own family on the same adventure. Exploration and adventure are familiar concepts to Lisa. Within her career as Operations Lead at Project Banksia, she has continued to challenge conventional ideas and traditional career progressions. As part of the CSL Career Files series presented by Business Chicks, Lisa spoke to Business Chicks’ Briony Hunt about her career transitions and all the important lessons along the way.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your current role at CSL?
At school I really enjoyed the sciences so when I went to university, I completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. I moved to Sydney to do my degree, and at this time worked in both the retail and hospital sector of Pharmacology. It turned out it wasn’t for me, so I went back to university and did a Business Marketing degree. Fresh out of uni, I applied for a role at CSL. That was in 1993, and a bit over 25 years later I am still with the same company. I started in sales, moved to marketing, spent some time in supply chain and about five years ago I transitioned into manufacturing.
Why is working for a company with a culture of innovation important to you?
I think it is really important for a company to be committed to improving the way they do things. Whether that is new technology, processes, or products, it’s important to be consistently motivated to challenge the status quo and find ways to do things better. It creates an environment of better practice, ultimate better serving your client and their needs.
What are some of your biggest challenges you have faced during your career adventure? How were mentors or sponsors helpful during these times?
I’ve had a lot of role transitions throughout my time at CSL, and with each of these changes came the need for different skill sets (especially when I moved from supply chain to something more technical). During this time my colleagues were so important to help me understand and succeed.
I have been fortunate to have fantastic mentors and leaders that have had significant confidence in my ability. My mentors and leaders always encouraged me to take on new roles and gave me the opportunity to take on increasing responsibility. I am enormously grateful for them.
If you had to come up with saying or philosophy on how you approach your work what would it be?
The first thing that springs to mind is lead by example. I strongly believe people look to their leaders for guidance and can be strongly influenced by what they see. If your leader is engaged and positive, I think it’s far more likely the team will be. Secondly, for me it is important to challenge the status quo. I think there is always opportunities for improvement, and often the small, easy improvements can be very beneficial.
What do you think are the key barriers to leadership women still face?
I think one barrier to women in leadership is their own belief in themselves. You need to have that self-confidence to take that next step.
Similarly, I believe the expectations of work life balance still needs work. I know the world is evolving, but I feel like there is still this constant battle between home and work. Part-time leadership positions are often not available, so we need to make this happen to support women coming through the ranks.
What have you learnt about influencing in the roles you’ve held?
Listen. Consider other’s perspectives and ideas. Always think about the pros and cons of your influence. Discuss your positions with others. Be prepared to compromise. Fully believe in what you are presenting.
If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to fail. You grow from every experience, no matter what. Back yourself, believe in yourself and be confident in yourself because you can do it.
And do not take your eyes off your goals, you will get there if you want it.