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7 Questions with Kylie Pussell
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7 Questions with Kylie Pussell
Name: Kylie Pussell
Current title: CEO & CoFounder
Current organisation: Miracle Babies Foundation
Kylie Pussell Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005.
After suffering a miscarriage and losing twin babies at 16 weeks, Kylie gave birth to her daughter Madeline at 30 weeks and was diagnosed with Cervical Incompetence. Madeline was cared for in Liverpool Hospital’s NICU for 6 weeks. Two years later, following a further miscarriage, Kylie delivered twins at just 25 weeks. Both were resuscitated at birth and cared for by the NICU. Sadly Kylie’s son Marcus passed away due to complications from his extreme prematurity. Her daughter Scarlet required ventilation and surgery. Scarlet was cared for in the NICU at Liverpool and Westmead Children’s Hospital and was discharged home just before her due date, 4 months later. Kylie’s son Liam was born at 38 weeks through planned c-section following a transabdominal cerclage.
Kylie, a qualified counsellor, has played an integral role in the expansion of the Foundation’s program NurtureTime, the introduction of Miracle Babies Foundation to hospitals nationally and the development of national resources. She developed and implemented Miracle Babies Foundation’s successful volunteer program, designing National Volunteer Induction and Training with TAFE NSW. Kylie was selected in the inaugural The Growth Project in 2015.
Kylie delivers presentations and forums on the Foundation to community and corporate, both nationally and internationally and shares her personal journey with her children, delivering parent support and positive change for premature and sick babies. Kylie highlights the needs for parents and families in the NICU and the years ahead. Kylie leads support for our bereaved families and assists families and educational institutions in the learning, social and emotional challenges some of these miracle babies experience in the early years, school aged years and adulthood. Kylie has been the instigator and driving force behind the newly developed information hub for families, Nurture E - The EEE Impact, providing evidence based information, education for families and empowerment to be the best advocate for their child from pregnancy through to adulthood.
Kylie is a Co-Investigator on the POD Study, POD 2 and a former member of the PSANZ Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group.
In July 2019 Kylie became a Founding Committee member of GLANCE and in December 2019 was appointed to the Chair Committee for GLANCE.
She is CEO of the Foundation and passionate in driving the expansion of services and resources across Australia for all families to be supported, educated and empowered.
Kylie was Secretary of the Board from 2009 to 2017 and appointed as CEO by the Board in 2017.
During 2019 and 2020 Kylie has been a member of the Working Group on the ICHOM Preterm and Hospitalized Neonates Standard Set and in September 2020 was named by Western Sydney Women – 2020 Community Woman of the Year. Kylie was also acknowledged by Western Sydney University with Highly Commended in the Woman of the West Award (Community) in 2021.
Kylie has been a Board Director since 2009.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Working in NFP our main challenge is ongoing funding to deliver our vision of 'better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness'. The national and global economy and local events have a huge impact on funding in NFP and with recent events such as bushfires, floods and the Covid-19 Pandemic, these challenges have been more so.
Maintaining motivation and connection to the cause, when communities are affected by so much can be challenging.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
As a result of my personal experiences in having my family, I am a CoFounder of Miracle Babies Foundation. Working for many years as a volunteer whilst the organisation grew, in 2009 I was appointed as one of two staff members and in 2017 was appointed to the role of CEO.
My experience in the role comes from my history with the organisation and a lot of on the job learning. I am always ready for opportunities to further expand my business knowledge to better ensure the long term viability of the Foundation and the impact to families and communities.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days are very fast paced and varied. From meetings with staff, to external stakeholders, Board Directors, medical professionals and families. Each decision is always made with the best interest to deliver our vision of 'better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.'
I aim each day to focus on the needs of our people - staff, volunteers and families and use the quieter days in the office when less staff are in to work on the business.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
What you think will happen or should happen is not always going to happen!
Be ready for the unexpected.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Support and provide ongoing training and debriefing with staff will empower them with more knowledge of the business. Share your challenges and goals with staff as appropriate. Encouraging staff to make decisions and working through the pros and cons can help them build leadership skills and make more informed, impactful decisions.
Good social time with staff and recognition can help them feel valued and create positive workplace relationships.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
During my time as CEO I have been able to develop and implement a new education service for families, Nurture E The EEE Impact. My passion and vision for this information hub has been able to bring many other staff, volunteers and medical professionals on board to be part of this Australian first for families with a premature or sick baby and through their life stages.