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6 tips for success we learned from Colleen Callander.

April 06, 2022 2 min read

Colleen Callander Tips for Success

One of the 2022 International Women’s Day events we are so grateful to have been a part of was the Creative Women’s Circle lunch, with a keynote by the incredible Colleen Callander.

We are lucky to be in partnership with this fantastic organisation that focuses on developing, supporting and connecting women across creatively diverse industries, right across Australia.

Colleen Callander is one of the most inspiring and influential leaders in business, with an impressive career with some of Australia’s largest corporations that span decades. Colleen shared her story of finishing school at 16, building her career from the ground up and becoming one of Australia’s most inspiring female CEOs of the large-scale retail chain, Sportsgirl.

There were so many nuggets of gold but these were our favourite ones from her impressive keynote speech:


Kindness is the new currency for high performance, respect and loyalty.


Put people at the heart of everything you do. Put kindness first. Kindness doesn’t mean weakness, it’s about showing the kindness that allows people to grow.

One life-impacting another in a positive way leads to greater impact. Be generous with your knowledge and remember to never judge a crew in calm waters, be kind in periods of adversity.


You don’t need a title to be a leader. Become a leader that people choose to follow.

Leadership isn’t about leading others it’s about leading yourself first. It’s how you show up. There is a huge difference between managers and leaders. Be transformational, not transactional. Don’t hire people and then do their job. Let people shine as they were hired to be an expert in their field.

Leadership starts with self, then values, then purpose. Consider this: What we do, why we do it and why does it matter?


The number of women in leadership is getting better but we still have a fight ahead of us.

You can always learn something from another woman you don’t know. We need to have these spaces to talk with each other. You can be present for a different reason, but we are stronger together. Build true human connections and you will be rewarded.


Learn to say no.


It’s really important for the people pleasers to say no. We don’t need anyone to validate us. Prioritise what’s important in your life. If it’s important, you’ll make time. Setting boundaries is about protecting the biggest asset - YOU.

This includes self-care and balance: it’s about finding where the scales tip. Find the perfect ratio for you. Add change and delete to get to your happy place.


Confidence is not a trait, it’s a skill that needs nurturing, often over decades and decades of learning and mistakes. We all suffer from imposter syndrome.



We highly recommend Colleen's book "Leader By Design", which is full of excellent leadership and advice for a successful career and life! 

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