Name: Mary-Beth Hosking
Title: CEO (Chief Executive officer)
Organisation: VIC ICT For Women in Australia
Mary-Beth Hosking is a pragmatic and seasoned technology leader with extensive experience in organizational transformations and is currently the CEO of VIC ICT For Women.
Mary-Beth published her first book “In One Piece – A Step-by-Step Guide to Surviving Change” at the beginning of the Covid Pandemic. (You can get Mary-Beth's first book here on Amazon)
Her second book “When now, means NOW! – A handbook for career change, advancement, and progression” launched in May 2023. She recently was awarded the WeQual Technology award for her work in raising awareness of women in STEM. (You can get Mary-Beth's NEW book here on Amazon)
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Mary-Beth's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
COVID has really impacted me, both personally and professionally. The challenge we now face is convincing our teams that there is merit in coming into the office. There is a reluctance to come back with concerns ranging from the time taken to get to and from work, to the continuing issue of COVID, which has not gone away through to reduced productivity in the office.
On the flip side, there is something about human connection that we all need. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you still need interpersonal connection. I am not a believer in presenteeism.
I know that by providing team members with goals and objectives means that the valuable work will be done. I do not need to see you in the office to know that the work is being completed. However, there is something to be said for face to face communication that cannot be achieved virtually.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey is a little different to those of my peers. I started as a professional singer and decided to make a significant career change. I moved into the corporate sector. I spent a couple of years as an office temp trying to work out the industry that interested me the most.
Eventually I moved into Transport and Logistics but in the IT space. Having led bands I knew I wanted to continue leading and was offered my first leadership role in in my early twenties. This was more than challenging but something I tackled head on, with the support of my leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a morning person and am always more productive in the morning. I break my day into 2 hour chunks. When I need to be most creative I do this in the morning. In the afternoon is when I review and read documentation and prepare for the following work day.
After work I will either do a Pilates class or yoga or go for a long walk. Then I prepare dinner and relax watching TV or listening to music. I do quite a bit of public speaking, so some of my evenings will be taken up with events and networking.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
When I was a young leader I found it very hard to assign work to my team. Understanding that each person brings their own nuances to their role and enabling them to achieve their own successes is part of being a good leader and this is what I needed to learn. Letting go and watching your team soar is hard but exhilarating at the same time.
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?
Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Being an avid Sci-Fi and Star Trek fan I have found this book hes helped me more than any other. When I was a young leader I read this book. What it taught me was allowing your team to grow and learn and not micro manage them.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Listen more and be open to leadership lessons from those around you.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
When I started in a new role I met with each team member to understand what was working, what wasn't working and what they wanted to see improve.
One individual broke down in tears and explained that the previous manager had targeted them and made them feel worthless.
This individual was so distraught and their confidence was broken.
I spent the next 18 months mentoring them and showing them their value and worth to the company. Eventually they interviewed for a new role and was successful. I have watched their career soar and watched them exceed their own expectations.
It amazes me how one persons actions as a leader can have such a profound impact on others. As leaders we have a great responsibility and part of this is bringing the best out in others. This is what I attempt to do every day.