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Harassment: Can There Be Sunshine After The Storm?

The prevention of psychosocial hazards such as bullying and sexual harassment is a crucial component for great workplace cultures and that is why this conversation must be had, despite how uncomfortable it can be at times.

In this episode with Karen, we discuss:

  1. How sexual harassment has certainly been in the spotlight in recent times with so many voices speaking up. Can there be sunshine after the storm?
  2. If good workplace culture is important to overall organisational success.
  3. Tips on how to build a great and safe workplace cultures in 2021.
  4. What to do if you find yourself being harassed at work.
  5. And so much more.

To watch this inspiring episode, click the video link below, or if you would prefer to read the full transcript click the blue button under the video.

#smartculture #whs #sexualharassment



hello and welcome to the wine and wisdom

show thank you for being here on a

wednesday night

for those of you who have been here

before thank you so much for coming back

i so appreciate

seeing your friendly faces in the

comments section and all your

interaction it’s truly wonderful and for

those of you who are here for the very

first time

welcome and cheers this show

despite its name being of course about

sharing a wine together and

sharing some wisdom is actually all

about connection

and i think if that’s one thing that we

have learnt over the last

year and a bit is that as humans

we crave to be connected with other

humans who will bring a smile to our


some warmth to our hearts and some

wisdom to our brains and

let me tell you that tonight we have a


who is definitely going to do all of


but before i bring her on i just going

to give you a little bit more


about what is in store for tonight


really this show you know i have felt


all my life to be surrounded by very

resilient and courageous self leaders

who i believe

are making the small little differences

that actually have a really big

impact across the world and

i wanted to bring them here to share

them with you and that

is why we are here tonight’s

amazing topic is chord harassment uh can

there be sunshine

after the storm and of course this is a

very topical

topic right now uh and we’ll we’ll talk

a little bit about

what we’re not going to talk about

tonight but what we are going to talk

about tonight but

before i do that i would really love

to start by acknowledging the

traditional custodians and elders spread

across the

many lands that we are all located on

tonight i’m actually personally coming


coming to you from the land of the

arakwal people in the byron bay

shire and i want to pay my respects

to all these traditional owners who have

nurtured and protected

this wonderful country that we all get

to work

live and play in

all right we i’m going to bring up our

guest right now

her name is karen maher and oh my gosh i

mean she started her career

as a lawyer i mean she’s obviously

always going to be a lawyer but what

she’s doing right now is

is changing the world and i’m going to

bring her up while i talk about it

because that’ll

kind of embarrass her as well but hello

karen i’ll say hello first before i say

anything else

to you welcome to the white and white oh

thank you heidi no pressure i’m changing

the world

you are thank you you are challenging

the world

and karen you know she is a an


work health and safety consultant a

keynote speaker

and she’s completely passionate

about ensuring that organisations

and their leaders can create cultures

that will not allow any kind of bullying

or sexual harassment so that

everybody can go to work and feel safe

and feel connected and feel purposeful

and be a part of something

um that they want to be without having

to have any kind of

fear or worry or and concern karen i

don’t know if that

is a good description of what you’re

doing every day perhaps you can share

with us

more about what all the goodness that

you’re sprinkling around the world

oh thanks heidi i think that’s pretty

spot on i started as a lawyer and uh and

then i moved into consulting i started

as a lawyer when i was

in 2003 and then i worked in that space

for about seven years in australia

and then in the uk and mostly in the

safety and

and the employment law space and then

i came back to australia and just moved

into the consulting area and did a lot

of investigations and

um all that sort of reactive type work

and then

i yeah just felt a bit like enough was

enough because i felt like all i was

doing is helping organisations put fires


and that was really frustrating for me

so yeah so the last few years i really

focused on

putting my you know all of my effort

into the proactive piece

and really working with organisations to

try and get them ahead of the game

and really you know trying to prevent

these poor behaviors from happening in

the first place

because as you said that’s where we want

to be and you know where we can go to

work and we feel safe and we don’t we’re

not being

hassled and things like that so yeah

and it’s you know like i’ve just thought

about that old analogy about you know


you know pulling people out of the river

who are drowning and you just keep

pulling them out pulling them out

rather than going down to where it’s all

started from and finding out why they’re

traveling down a river in the first

place and that is what you’re doing

isn’t it it’s just this prevention work

to ensure that we don’t have to spend so

much time and resources

and people aren’t put in these

situations that

can destroy their lives and and and

everyone around them who’s affected

yeah 100 percent uh we’ve just spent so

we just take

spent so long in australia being on the

back foot and

if we don’t sort of work really hard and

put some effort and commitment into it

that’s where we’ll stay and so yeah so

yeah we want to stop pulling the bodies

out of the river or the people out of

the river and we want to

you know really get ahead of the game

and and have a plan and just

be a bit more strategic about it and we

definitely can do it and i’ve seen

businesses and organisations do it and

that are doing it really well

but yeah um we’ve got some work to do

that’s for sure

it’s time it’s time yeah it is it is

and thank you for doing what you’re

doing karen i i’d love to um i’d

actually love to hear from everybody

where they’re coming from tonight and uh

you know where are you coming from and

do you have something in your glass what

is actually in your glass karen

tonight so i’ve got a really beautiful

um st

hugo’s from the from the book from the

barossa uh

so it’s really nice oh it’s a shiraz

kind of night

i again i again have a buttery

chardonnay because

i always have a buttery chardonnay but

it is nearly time for me to stop the


and go into the ready yeah getting a bit

chilly isn’t it

it is getting a little bit chilly so

um karen you spoke a little bit about

what you started with uh

we had i had a guest last year michael

dixon he’s incredible

and he talked about the magical

dance between choice and chance and

you know that sometimes we end up where

we are

because there’s just kind of this you


every little step leads to another

little step leads to another little step

and here we are

but sometimes there’s something actually

quite big that happens to us that means

that we

are doing what we’re doing and i just

wonder what has it been for you

has it been that kind of big moment in

life or

has it been this kind of ripple effect

of things that have

led you to doing all the amazing work

that you’re doing right now

yeah i’m a good question i think

probably a little bit of both because

um yeah i think when i was in my 20s i

went through a bit of a bad experience

so i started law school

and then pretty much dropped out because

i just couldn’t really deal with federal

constitutional law it was just too heavy

for me and then so i left floor

and then i started working in a

restaurant and all of a sudden i was the

restaurant manager it was a bit too good

to be true

but before i knew it i was being

harassed pretty badly by

the kitty chef and um yeah it kind of

just sort of got worse and worse and


and i got to the point where at one

point i kind of rejected his advances

and then

from there the bullying started and so

there was you know just the retaliation

and just victimisation and just

really it was pretty pretty tough and

yeah so not only was it against me

but then it was also against my staff as

well even to the point where you know he

started throwing fry pants you know

and one hit one of my my staff a

waitress that i worked with and that was

the end point for me

and i think at that point being in my

early 20s

and you know trying to raise it and no

one wanted to listen

this person was untouchable and could do

whatever he wanted

and i think for me that was a turning

point because i felt like pretty

powerless to be honest

and i think that really did push me back

to law school

just to really see if i could you know i

guess make my voice stronger

in what i you know how i felt because i

think i’ve always been a pretty strong

person but

i think that made a big difference for

me to sort of go back to law school and

just sort of

and then i stayed in that area i really

quite liked the employment area even

while i was at law school

and then yeah sort of it is a little bit

like that though i think

you know the little things add up and um

yeah i’ve just sort of stayed in this

space so

um yeah and i think everybody you know

almost every single person i talked to

would be an uber driver be it a friend

of a friend when they ask what i do

you know everybody has a story so yeah

you know in this space which is which is

a bit of a bad signal isn’t it it’s a

bit of a bad sign but

um yeah so i think that’s probably the

the catalyst i think of why and where i


and i guess it does really make you

feel really passionate about what you do

because you know like i’ve got a little

girl she’s six years old

and i think my big goal at the end of

the day is to do whatever i can to make

sure that when she gets

into the workplace that you know we’ve

moved on from here

you know we’ve still got a long way to

go but yeah

well yeah i mean imagine having

having that personal experience of

course always

lights a fire you know when you’re doing

doing what you’re doing

and um also you’ve had that personal

experience of

lighting a fire in the first place but


with having your six-year-old daughter


wanting to create that better world for

her by the time she’s ready to go into

the work

workplace i mean i was reading a

statistic recently

um last week by the australian human

rights commission

and in the last 12 months they said that


of women and 16 of men had

reported being harassed at work and

i mean i that’s i mean that’s one in

four women and you know

just a little bit less with men but

that’s a lot and

there’s been so much in our news uh


and i know that we don’t want to go down

the whole political

arena tonight at all but there has been

a lot going on

that is finally coming to light

yeah it can get very depressing i would

imagine it we must

i’m going to talk a little bit about

that how you doing later on but

you know like our topic tonight you know

do you think

with everything that’s going on when

we’re so aware of all

all the things that make us feel like oh

my gosh

have we moved from the 50s i don’t know

can there be sunshine after this storm

karen what are you seeing

is there anything positive happening oh

look i think you know we’ve certainly

had a raw haven’t we and we’ve had

um you know i think we’d probably have

to say in australia we’ve kind of hit

rock bottom

with this sort of these sort of poor

behaviors and where we’re at

and as they say there’s only one way up

from there um

but i guess the work and what i’m seeing

and i you know work with quite a few

organisations and some pretty senior

organisations in australia and

um and with some pretty senior at

executive level and

i can tell you and i think what is

positive is that there is a shift

and i’ve you know been seeing this

happen for a couple of years i’ve seen

more of a shift in this space

in the last few years and i have since

2003 when i started as a lawyer

so i think there definitely is sunshine

after the storm

um i’m so grateful to you know the

amazing women who have been roaring and

to the

you know to the grace times of the world

and um

yeah i mean we we just we owe so much to

them and just their courage to do what

they’ve done

uh you know i saw grace tame speak the

other day and she’s just

a wonder woman to me and just listening

to her story

and and and the impact that she’s had on

australia i mean she’s really


i can’t even say the word the way that

we see these topics and

and how um you know how we can do it

better so

so yeah i think there is you know i

think that there’s a lot more um

appetite for uh you know even the boards

in australia to be they’re listening now

and they’re

they’re trying and it’s staying on the

agenda and we just have to keep it on

there um

and so yeah i think there is positive

coming out of the storm

and we just have to keep the momentum up


we certainly do and i mean danielle’s

just when unfortunately so it’s real

that as women

become more empowered economically

violence again against them

increases wow

yeah is that what you what your what

you’re seeing as well

karen so i mean i i haven’t actually

seen that personally but i mean i


you know i i certainly wouldn’t say that

that’s not the case but

i mean yeah i think that i mean women in

australia all over the world but also in

australia we’ve got so far to come you

know like we’ve got

um you know we have so much to learn and

we have so much to do

to really you know to get to that gender


point and um yeah no that’s a

just you know there’s so many

unfortunate statistics out there it

doesn’t surprise me

but yeah we need to do some more work on


and i and i do want to just just say now


meant to say at the beginning that if

this conversation does trigger anything

for anybody because we

you know it is a tough topic there are

lots of different support places

in australia that you can reach out to

uh one of them is the 1-800 respect and

of course there’s lifeline and beyond

blue so

please if this does trigger anything for

you reach out

and connect with these these

professionals because

they are top of their game definitely

yeah okay very lucky in australia that

we have this

these amazing support agencies aren’t we

so yeah we really

are and um but again you know

wouldn’t it be great that we didn’t need

them but because we had all these

prevention strategies in

place and that will be that’s certainly

what the goal will be

um going forward and i know danielle

thank you for your comment because i

know this is

an int a topic that’s very um close to

your heart and

the work that you’re that danielle uh

has written a book the gender code and


has you know she does she’s doing

amazing work in this space and i know

yeah hence why she’s online so thank you

for being here danielle

definitely have a rid of that yeah yes

you do it i think you i

i’m gonna connect the two of you

actually after we um come off

for sure karen what do you think um in

our workplaces you know what uh

what is the what are you seeing

in regards to tips and strategies that


are putting in place to ensure that we

don’t have these problems what’s working

what’s working in organisations across

australia at least

so the organisations that i’m working

with or the ones that i’m seeing that

actually making change here

and creating change and actually um

doing well

is they’re not taking it off the agenda

they are keeping focused

you know they’re staying focused they’re

you know they’re putting in place

even champions in this space so that we

can make sure that

um particularly with you know really

pushing the male voice in this area as


because i think that’s something that

we’ve really been missing um

so yeah keeping it really solidly on the

agenda so it doesn’t we don’t just kind

of end up looking at the next big sort

of issue that comes up that’s a big


yeah a lot of the organisations um

now in australia and of course the laws

are sort of really catching up or not

the laws are catching up but how our

regulators view sexual harassment

is really shifting as well and so um

there’s a there’s a

really big push for us to start looking

at sexual harassment in the safety space

and so you know taking a look at it and

thinking how can we

take a risk management approach to this

and how can we be proactive and look at

sexual harassment and bullying and

and and try to sort of um manage these

risks out of the workplace

and so i’m definitely seeing a lot of

work being done there

and and a lot of organisations are

really sort of merging the hr

and the safety teams as well so we’re

looking at this saying

people come to work and they’re harassed

or they’re bullied they’re just not safe

and so that is the same is it as if


you know at risk of some other kind of

safety um concern

so well they’re the big things as well


um anything else um i think that you

know i think that a lot of

um what i’m seeing a lot of boards do

now is really go back to

their key documents as well so their

strategies and they’re going back to

even their values and things like that

because i think there’s been a bit of a

fractured relationship between you know

what their values say and what’s

happening in day-to-day

and so i think that they’re definitely

going back and really trying to

um to push that a little bit more and

get to the bottom of

why that fracture’s taking place and

yeah i mean there’s yeah there’s a lot

of a lot of work being done

but um but yeah the organisations who

are kicking goals are the ones who have

a plan around this too so they’re

planning how they’re going to do it

they’re not getting overwhelmed but

they’re not letting it go as well so

yeah yeah and i’d love to hear from

anyone who is watching right now

live or if you’re watching later on

which often happens with these facebook


you know who do what organisations do

you know that are doing this well

that you know call them out let’s

celebrate the ones that we know

who are doing a great job right now


it being a really tricky topic i really

think a really tricky thing to address

and really hard to put policies in place


and when things come up it’s hard but

they’re just

giving it a go to do their very best and

are succeeding i’d love

to hear and to celebrate those

organisations i mean

i mean i let me start it off because i

know one for sure

that i can call out and celebrate and

that is

beaumont people and i’d like to say that

out loud so if anybody would like to

uh celebrate a company that is doing it


let’s do it because they should be let’s

always because often

you know we all always get all their

reports of the ones that are doing a

shitty job

let’s see the good ones and

stuff yeah like let’s see what they’re

doing what are they doing to make it so


and i i love you know just everyone to

take note that emma has put here that

the beyondblue lifeline and

1 800 respect can be contacted 24 7.

um emma sits on those lines and she’s

one of the people on the front line

uh to take those calls and i tell you


these are the people in more than ever

have saved saved lives around our

country and are doing such a great job


thank you emma for all you’re doing it’s


yeah thank you emma i think some of them

even have the text as well where you can

yeah you can be texting too so i think

yeah that’s amazing it’s very needed at

the moment

it’s very relevant to healthcare like

communicate right you know we’ve got to

change our ways

how people communicate if they don’t

want to talk because they’re not in that

space but they’re likely to text which

the younger generation

are then let’s make it available for

them and i know that is the case

karen you know when you talked about

that situation you had

all those years ago when you had the


yourself what what does what does an

individual do when that is going on i

mean i know

everything’s perfect if we’re living in

a perfect world you go to hr

and things are dealt with um

but that’s not always the way it works

out is it

so what what can individuals do male or


when something happens okay so i think

um i guess my my tips would be to make

sure that

um we’re getting the support that you

need so

these things can be really tough on

people particularly i mean not only if

it’s you know it might be a serious

incident or it might be

something that’s ongoing and so it wears

people down

and people can be really fearful about

you know doing something so i think the

first thing i always say

is to make sure that you’re getting the

emotional support that you need

and whether that be you know by your

with your friends or with your family or

whether it’s a counselor or psychologist

i just say get the support you need

because people slide down pretty quickly

and um you know as they always say in

their mental health space that

you know the further people go down the

harder it is to be pushing them back up


yeah 100 get the support you need this

is not easy

um i think try to speak up if you can

as early as possible you know and even

if a lot of organisations are pushing

now for self-resolution so if you can

say to someone you know can you not do

that i don’t like it

or you know can you not yeah i don’t

want to be kissed hello or

um can you not say those jokes around me

they just upset me

yeah and of course you know hopefully

the other person has enough

self-awareness to be saying okay sorry

about that

um that’s an education piece usually um

so yeah just trying to where you can

you know speak up if you can uh and


um you know if that doesn’t work you

know if you can speak up to a leader

even if you don’t have the structured

sort of hr setup

to speak up to someone that you respect

and that might not be your

you know exact leader or your immediate

leader it might be someone else in the

business who

um who you feel confident to go and

speak to and i think we are getting

better at that

um we’re not there yet some

organisations a lot of organisations do


better than others i mean if we go back

to my example it was hopeless like i

tried to report what happened

and it just fell on deaf ears it was

like ah don’t worry about it that’s just

the way he is and

that was the whole you know that would

be that was the solution

and i’m sure a lot of people have heard

that before um

but yeah i think we’re getting better at

that so i think also just

you know keep a note of things that are

happening too because you know if you do

ever need i mean you hope that you don’t

you hope that you never kind of comes to

anything but

if you have a record and you write it

down and you keep it you know keep it

contemporaneous so

um that can be really helpful down the

track too um

yeah um i think just getting advice as

well so you know make sure that you know

you if you are in an organisation where

they’ve got everything set up pretty

well you know make sure you’re learning

you know grabbing the policies that um

that are relevant to you and just having

a look through those and

seeing what the steps are and what you

can be doing about it um

yeah and i think just keep just you know

keep getting advice and i think

that you know at the moment if if you’re

in an organisation and they don’t

support you if you’re

really trying to do something you’re

trying you know you speak up about it

and they’re not being supported

then you know i’d have to say at this

point that you’re you know your health’s

more important

you know than to sort of get out and to

try and be the matter that changes

everything because

unfortunately which is why i do what i


um a lot of organisations need you know

they’re just not there yet

and so don’t you know i just don’t think

that you know you should be putting


at risk just to sort of prove a point or

you know

unfortunately it’s you know i have a lot

of friends of friends of you know people

who contact me

and they ask um you know i’ve got this

happening with

you know my son or my daughter or um a

friend and

you know they’ll talk me through it and


and you know i sort of talked to them

about you know to see if you can get


you know in the workplace and if it

doesn’t happen and especially for you

know particularly for younger people who

i think are vulnerable workers

i always you know sometimes you’ve got

to pull your jet cord

and just um you’ve got to look after

yourself first so

yes yeah um yeah and i i mean emma’s

made a really

interesting comment there and question

about being curious as to what support

is offered to the perpetrators

to help them understand their actions

and impacts um they’re having on others

you know what

what happens in a workplace around that

type of thing that you’ve seen

happen you know apart from you know

being disciplined

you know is there education around that

because often i

they don’t even realise their impacts

yeah um i think that i mean we’re sort

of even struggling already you know at

the moment just to do well with the

the victim so to speak but um so the

support for perpetrators usually isn’t


um i think that you know if we think

about it the best thing that we can be

doing is to be educating people to start

with again that’s a proactive piece

raising the awareness so hopefully we

prevent it so hopefully they understand

that you know what’s okay and what’s not

okay and the impact of those behaviors

um so yeah to be honest i don’t see a

lot of support

out there for perpetrators particularly

if it’s a more serious

incident then there’s really not much

support at all uh some organisations

will have you know employee assistance

program that would be offered to anybody

involved in the process

or yeah i think um

i think it’s a bit light on i mean you

know quite often i i get i do

quite a lot of individual counselling

and oh not counseling i shouldn’t say


um individual coaching as well and so

that can probably be

i guess one way to try and help somebody

to understand

a little bit more about this but again

it’s just so reactive to me

trying to you know getting somebody to

come and and work with someone like me

and and sitting there and having to go

through it um i mean i guess it’s it’s

the best that we can do

but really i think you know

organisations what we really need to be

doing is focusing on that proactive part


we can hopefully prevent you know raise

the self-awareness and get people

thinking differently

and so we don’t kind of get to that

point where we have to sit down and

explain to somebody

this is not okay when you touch someone

like this it’s not okay

and when you say words like this it’s

not okay

um it’s an education piece and

and also to understand that it’s it’s

it’s a safety piece

you know like of course it’s it hurts


um yeah oh i just

seen that comment um thanks thanks mandy

yeah i think unfortunately i would like

i would you know with all of the work

that’s happening now

and you know we’ve we had a really big

inquiry that was handed down last year

and of course

you know the recent um everything being

in the spotlight in recent times you

know there’s been some

traction finally to get some changes put

into place

and it is so unfortunate you know you

have your young your daughter who’s

you know in a casual job without uh

without that support

you know and without um you know being a

vulnerable worker being a young worker

and thinking is this just part of the

job is this just what i’ve got to put up


yeah and i you know i just think it’s so

unfair that we have to you know that


should have to leave their employment at

you know such a young age

to have those experiences but um we’ve

yeah we’ve got so much work to do but

again i will stand

by what i say and if you know if you are

worried about your children and that you


they are young um you know i i just you

know i just saw something a comment

going on

on facebook where people were commenting

the other day in one of the groups and

there was a young person who i think was

15 who was being

bullied or something like that and

everyone was chiming in and telling this

lady what to do with her with her

with her daughter and i was just it was

kind of crazy that they were saying oh

you know she should do this and she

should stand up for herself and i think

well no you know she’s 15 years old we

need to

you know we need to protest so you know

and then why is it happening in the

first place you know this is the thing

that’s what gets me

because i think you know i like i’m


30 years ago as a young

teacher i started my career as a teacher

and in my 20s and i

had i was doing extracurricular dance

stuff with the with the

the girls and taking them to dance at

stedford’s and one night

we were coming back late from one of

these dances stedford’s i had

four four 15 year old girls in my car

and you know they wanted to have

mcdonald’s on the way home and we’re in

the drive-through

and the year 11 boys from the school

that we you know i taught at

and the girls attended came up in the

front of my bonnet and they were

slamming the bottom of my car into the


and it was 11 o’clock at night it was

so frightening and i you know we yeah

we’ve they finally got away

you know someone came out and got them

away and we went home and everyone was

fine but when i reported it the next day

to the principal

the comment that i got was oh

you know those basketball boys that’s

just what they do

you know where have we come in 30 years

like i think gosh that was back then

perhaps you know

now on reflection that was the times but

i it makes me mad like you know mandy’s

saying that twice her daughters had to

leave casual jobs because of this

same kind of thing it like blows my mind


this still happens so often yeah

i think we need to i think it’s

happening but um we’re definitely not

there yet but i’m really loving seeing

the work that’s happening you know in

schools shifting there

with this education piece you know how

we can um

really push to our young men about you


about respecting women and their cult

consent piece and for young women as


like i think you know i’ve worked on um

plenty of cases in the past with

men being sexually harassed and and you

know male or male or female or male

and there’s no winners there but yeah

it’s just it is good to see

these positive initiatives and they are

coming and they are either they are

happening they’re a long time coming but

again there’s some of the sunshine

that’s coming out of this and seeing

some really great stuff

um yeah we have to keep it in the

conversation and you know

we have to keep talking you know to our


and and and just you know keep pushing

yeah and you know i think part of the

sunshine is exactly here what emma’s

saying that we have these support

mechanisms here that we have mental

health plans that we can get from our


that are covered by medicare and we also

have the

eap systems within organisations i mean

that’s all part of the sunshine isn’t it

that we do have

support places like these like 1 800

respect like beyond blue light lifeline

uh we do have that kind of sunshine

coming out which is

absolutely terrific the one thing karen

i i would imagine

you know like what you do i mean it’s so

important and

please never stop because what you are

truly you are sprinkling

amazingness um and changing the lives of


you really are and we don’t want you to

stop but i

i would imagine that what you do can

chip away at you sometimes

and be pretty difficult to

you know feel the sunshine yourself and

feel optimistic and and feel mentally


uh when there’s a lot of this kind of

negativity around you

what do you what do you do to ensure

that you know i like to say keeping your

resilience bucket topped up what

what is it that you do to make sure that

you can keep that gorgeous smile on your


and you can keep focused and you can

feel positive

about the work that you’re doing so that

sunshine continues to happen

for everybody else ah look i think

uh i think the thing that really shifts

my mindset

and keeps me sort of focused and keeps

the resilience up is

um is just really exercise and

meditation sometimes if i can fit it in

um because yeah it can get heavy and i

mean particularly before when i was

doing a lot of reactive that you know

the investigations and they can be awful

like even you know up to

um fatalities and things like that so

yeah just kind of sitting in that for

you know

going through those cases for you know

maybe three weeks four weeks is pretty


um so i think you do need to make sure

that you know you do

you do kind of lock in that self-care as

much as you can um

walking fonzie is a big one for me uh

do you mean

look at that face yeah there he is he’s

just living the life

but um yeah he’s a you know he’s a big


he’s a big part of all of this and just

i think you know we have to do that we

have to

you know we have to really make sure

that we fit these things in otherwise it

can get on top of you

but yeah yeah i think the more that we

the more positive work that we do

and um you know when i started you know

really consulting in this space ten

years ago

it was pretty tough because no one

really wanted to hear about this and

you know i get to a lot of sessions and

there’ll be a lot of eye rolls and

things like that or what are we doing

here what a waste of time

but that is just changing so much and um

you know the sessions that you know when

when i work with people now it’s just so

different and you can really feel that

and you know people are engaged and when

you ask you know ask them at the end

what are their key takeaways and things

like that

it’s just incredible to see how people

can sh you know how we can shift their


and really get them thinking about

actually changing things for the better


i think the fact that i’m more in the

proactive area as well is a big

difference too

to my resilience because i found you

know the reactive stuff is hard and it’s

i think it’s got a bit of

time a time limit on it because it’s

just you know like just

yeah really tough yeah i would imagine

and my final question for the night for

you is

we are on the we are on the wine

and wisdom show so we’ve had a few sips

of wine

now it’s time for extra pieces of wisdom

i’d love to know which piece of wisdom

has been handed down to you

by somebody that has made the biggest


in your life and yeah tell us tell us

about that

all right so this is a bit of a funny

one um i i have a

like a i had an old friend you’re an old

and old italian man that i knew like 20

years ago

and he said something that was quite

profound to me and it’s just a bit

strange probably but

um but i must have been freaking out

about something and getting frustrated

with something

and um he said to me said kareena which

is i think italian for karen and he said

you know you cannot kick every stone on

the road

or you will always need new shoes and


i don’t know it’s just a big one for me

because it really just made me think

yeah like you know you can’t kind of you

know get upset about everything and you

can’t get you know you can’t

kick every stone on the road and it’s

something that i always talk to my kids

about as well we can’t kick every stone

on the road and we’ve got to keep

getting new shoes

yeah so it’s just kind of a funny one

and it just kind of

take you down a notch when things are

getting a bit hectic

yeah that’s my big one yeah that i love

that that’s amazing i think yeah

that applies to all of it for either we

it applies to so many things it was so

weird it was a bit of a random comment

and at the moment at that time i was


yeah i’m going to take that one yeah

well done well that’s so nice to have

that that piece of wisdom thank you for

sharing it

and i know also you have uh really

you’ve curated all your very best work

right now and just launched some online

courses that are really making a massive

difference within organisations for

their leaders and their teams

and tonight you have very kindly offered

to anyone who mentions the wine and

wisdom or my name tonight

you get 15 and off those courses and

we’ll put the

link directly in the comments after the

show uh

how’s that all going what are you hoping

to achieve with your smart culture work

yes so with the smart culture work i

think um with covert and everything

changing so much

um you know with bullying harassment

sort of programs people always wanted

them face to face

but then of course covert hint and a lot

of my clients were really pushing saying

you know do you have online and so it

kind of pushed me to do it

um so yeah we really tried to put the


feel then the i guess um you know all of

the elements of

the courses into their online and so i

guess it just has a bigger reach for

everybody as well

and i think it’s easier you know you can

just learn from home and your pajamas

and your ugg boots and things like that

having a glass of wine at the same time


not too boring and yeah and and with the

smart culture

um work we’ve also got like momentum

sessions so

um organisations can work with with me

and some of my consultants as well just

to keep the momentum up

and do review work and strategy work as

well so

the training part is definitely a very

key part

but it has to be supplemented with with

strategy and a plan otherwise everything

everyone gets excited and they do the

training but then everything

life gets busy again and core behaviors

creep back in and things like that so

yeah trying to create a bit of a

solution really there

and still the face-to-face sessions as

well so yeah loving it

oh it’s wonderful thank you thank you

for that work you’re doing

and thank you very much

anyone want to reach out please you know

if you’ve got any kind of questions

because i know

these kind of topics sometimes people

don’t want to talk about them

in a live forum but i’m sure karen you

would be really open to

having any questions sent to you about

any issues that are going on within

their workplaces uh

and perhaps not perhaps i know

definitely your golden nuggets would be

out of perhaps

that little light forward to bring that

sunshine after the storm that perhaps

yeah we need some sunshine everyone

we’re doing

some sponges we’re going to winter we

need sunshine yeah we do

karen thank you so much for all your

amazingness tonight

it’s been incredible to hear of the good

work you’re doing um in a time

you know it’s a real i think it’s a real


time in history for us in australia and

you are at the forefront of it making a

huge change and a huge

difference to individuals and

organisations but

i think it’s more that of course that

you’re doing the work

within the organisations but the ripple

of that ripple effect for individuals

is what i know gets you up in the


to allow you to do that so thank you

thank you honey

thank you so much i think and i think

it’s funny

yeah i think it’s important for us just

to just mention this

last comment from miranda thank you so

much miranda

as a teacher in all boys school keeping

a balance between healthy masculinity is

an ongoing

challenge yes thank you and i would

imagine miranda and you have a tough job

doing that all the time

and yeah we thank you for the work

you’re doing with these young boys

um because they’re growing up to be the

ones in the workplaces

so you know this is our teachers are the


isn’t it where it starts and they are


so much that the impact they’re making

so thank you for miranda

yeah thank you miranda but thank you

um so much karen i’m going to wrap it up

i’m trying to ramble because i just you

know i love this show and i love talking

to you so much

i’m going to be putting all the

information that everybody needs about

karen the work she’s doing in the

comments straight after the

show so you can come back to there at

any time

but in the meantime enjoy your wine

for the year a little bit of balance

is good for yours and we will see you in

two weeks time good night everybody

good night everyone thank you

About Karen Maher:

Karen Maher is a leading Australian WHS + Culture consultant and keynote speaker.

Karen partners with and presents to a diverse range of industries and clients across Australia. From the NRL to emergency services, retail, tech companies, hospitals, manufacturing, legal and accounting firms, government agencies, emergency services and everything in between.

Her experience spans over 18 years, initially as an employment and safety lawyer in Australia and the UK. In 2010 she left the law to start her own consultancy. She is the Founder of SmartCulture® and has worked on over 300 cases from all parts of the process including legal, investigations, advisory and process improvement. Karen is passionate about the prevention of psychosocial hazards such as bullying and sexual harassment and focuses on the fundamentals of great culture and leadership to make this happen.

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