International Women’s Day Women of WorkPac Stories – Lis Kelemete
What is your name, job title and duration of time with WorkPac?
Lis Kelemete – Business Centre Manager Townsville – 10 years in July.
Tell us about yourself – Who is ‘Lis Kelemete’?
I’m of proud Polynesian descent and my parents migrated from Western Samoa to Mt Isa Qld in the early 70s. Born in Mt Isa, we moved to rural Clermont in Central Queensland when I was 3 and lived there for 16 years. Went to an all-girls boarding school in Yeppoon, University in Mackay for 2.5 years before settling in Townsville where I have been for 17 years. I am happily married with 3 children (aged 10/12/14) who have taught me so many lessons that I’ve been able to use in my everyday life. The most important lesson being a mother has taught me? How to make the horse drink the water!
When I’m not at work or in denial about having a social life, I’m at home enjoying family life, attempting to keep fit and play Women's Grid Iron. I love RnB and listening to podcasts on personal development and currently listening to the ‘The Leadership Dojo’.
Tell us about your role as a Business Centre Manager. What does a typical day look like in your role?
I always start my mornings off with a morning update/email to my team covering off clear team goals, the days agenda of outstanding vacancies and open the floor for any questions or follow-up the team may have for me and the day naturally rolls on from there. I often like to share motivational and inspirational quotes with my morning updates/emails because I’m an avid believer in the power of ‘Language’ because there is power in the words themselves. One quote could be someone's life mantra or change to someone's day to remind them of their abilities!
As a leader; you’re only as strong as your team and as a result, when you get the internal culture right, and you empower them forward; the result will always be a success.
Take us on a journey through your career. How did you end up on this path and how did you get to where you are today?
Before I entered recruitment, I came from a fashion retail background in management where I had been since I was 19 whilst studying. Being in a position of management, I discovered quickly that I enjoyed recruiting and headhunting people to complete my staff. So I started to look at recruitment vacancies, and it unfolded from there.
I entered WorkPac as a Recruitment Coordinator in late 2009 and it was a trajectory of work projects throughout my career that really gave me the opportunity to demonstrate my skill set, strengths and leadership.
This inevitably enabled a positive but diligent progression over 7 years from a recruiter to an Account Manager, to a Business Development Manager and now Business Centre Manager. I continue to love what I do for a brand and company that I wholeheartedly believe in.
I love the competitive aspect of recruiting and selling. Every role presents its own unique set of challenges – you determine the outcome.
What do you enjoy most about your career/current role? What drives you and keeps you coming into work every day?
The variability of my job is what gets me up in the morning. Each day presents unique challenges, and I am driven by the ownership and absolute autonomy WorkPac give me on my responsibilities. No day is the same, recruitment is always changing and evolving so for me; every day is an adventure!
Tell us about some of your most memorable career highlights and achievements.
Being awarded 2018 Business Centre Manager of the year – Receiving National recognition amongst fellow high achievers was a pinnacle point of my career and the silver lining to an exciting but nail-biting rollercoaster journey.
2019 - Our Townsville Business Centre & my team were the inaugural champions of ‘Social responsibility’ within the WorkPac business.
I think the importance of giving to others creates so much meaning to life and that meaning never comes from what you get, it comes from what you give. It’s not what you can do for yourself; it’s about how we can better the lives of others particularly those in our direct community that we know or we get to know. It creates a ripple effect and our team continue to exemplify this well within our community engagement.
What do you like most about being part of the WorkPac family? What makes WorkPac a great place to work?
I thrive on effective collaboration and communication and WorkPac conductively provides this. I work in a great collaborative environment and there is a genuine spirit of cooperation and shared goals from my team and our North Qld region that all revolve around helping each other and chasing our common goals. We support each other and work together to create feedback and make our ideas a reality.
How has WorkPac enabled you to grow?
My journey with WorkPac has taught me never to second guess my capabilities. Don’t hold back because your strengths will add value to any situation.
What are some barriers you’ve faced in your career and/or life, and how did you overcome them?
Making the tough decision to job-swap with my husband to focus on building a career whilst ensuring our children still had one of us caring for them around the clock. This was inevitably my husband for 8 years!..….Hats off to stay-at-home dads!
As the sole breadwinner for our family; I entered the recruitment industry in Mackay working for a different recruitment agency in the middle of the GFC and was paid monthly whilst still actively breastfeeding! My toilet breaks were pumping any excess milk to store and freeze for my son. My role was 360/end-to-end recruiting and it was important for me to show I was 100% committed so I ensured I was always the first person at work and the last one to leave.
Without my husband's unconditional support for my career and equality; I wouldn’t have the current career satisfaction that I do today.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give other women looking to pursue a successful and fulfilling career?
That when opportunities arise; your default response should be “YES”. Sometimes things may not work out but if you are always being open to ideas and opportunities; this can only lead to progress.
Can you name a woman that has been a mentor or inspiration to you? Why?
The most influential woman in my life goes without saying, and that is my mum. She has always taught me to work hard but most of all; just to be a good human being BUT never ever forget to laugh and have fun. As a child; she sacrificed so much for my siblings and I; working numerous jobs round the clock whilst still managing to support us all through all our sporting and extracurricular activities all because she wanted us to learn teamwork; make friends and have a fun childhood. I can always count on her to make me genuinely laugh (or, in other cases, to laugh at!)
What is your favourite quote?
“Leadership isn’t about taking people where they want to go; it's about taking people where they need to go. And there’s a difference”
~ Tony Harrington
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is having faith in your abilities and appreciating ALL the baby steps it takes to make a leap forward. I believe in courage, perseverance and laughter in being the creator of your own success – because if you love what you do and do what you love – the by-product is success! Align yourself with co-dreamers; people who understand and support your dreams and aspirations.
Could you share a reference or link to an inspiring book, movie, blog or video you enjoy that you think would inspire other women?
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career and/or life?
Embrace error or ‘fail forward fast’; don’t dwell on your mistakes but learn from them (and don’t make the same one again)
What are you looking to achieve next in your career and/or life?
Ultimately, I’ve grown so much in my WorkPac career in the last 9.5 years and my aim is to always strive for continued growth and opportunities where I can build on my success in the business.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women's day is a testament to the women we know, love and aspire to be. I aspire to be the person my daughter looks up to; that she may never be afraid to be a ‘game-changer’ and be fearless in all her pursuits.
This year's theme is #eachforequal.Please share your thoughts on how each of us can help move the world towards a more equal world for women (in business and in life)?
I believe its important to create an inclusive and dynamic environment in all aspects of life whether it be in the workplace, school/college, sports, whatever the organisation or group; it has to be ensured that everyone has got an equal opportunity to succeed. And this starts with you.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. Click here to learn more about International Women’s Day.