Women can balance family and work – Heather Davern
As we prepare to collectively celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Strictlymarketing’s Managing Director, Bev Strickland, took the time to speak with seven remarkable businesswomen she works with who inspire her professionally.
Heather is a strong believer that a glass of “Moet fixes everything at the end of the week” and said the one piece of advice she received which made a big difference to her career was “sometimes it is what you don’t say that really matters”.
When did you start your current job?
I have been heading up VM Plus since 2012 but also worked at The Prop House between 1995 and 2010 as Head Event Designer and 2IC. I had a two year hiatus between 2010 and 2012, when I looked after all of the VM across the Queensland Peter Alexander stores.
Can you tell us briefly about your career to date?
I studied Interior Design at uni but then travelled for a couple of years and fell into Visual Merchandising while living in Vancouver. I worked as the prop maker and designer for a company that did animated window displays. I loved that the projects were such a quick turnaround, unlike Interior Design where a project is a much longer process. I have always lacked patience, so the world of Visual Merchandising and Events was always going to be for me.
Did you have a mentor?
I would have to say Jano Kotzas. When I arrived back in Brisbane in 1995, I saw an ad for
JanoThemeist Extraordinaire and thought it sounded fun, so I stalked Jano for a couple of months until she agreed to meet me. The year I started with Jano, The Prop House was born. Jano and I have worked together for so long time and she has always been a hard worker, very brave with business decisions, can be tough when she need to be but is also very empathetic and fiercely loyal.
What do you think women who have strong professional aspirations need to hear?
You can absolutely balance family and work without compromising your career growth; this is something we must all insist on. Gone are the days where women don’t get the senior roles because ‘the hours will be too demanding and impact the time required to also look after the family’. This is no longer acceptable. Working hours are more flexible and expectations are shifting so go for it!
What one piece of advice would you offer to professional women?
Follow your passion and you can’t go wrong. You do not want to be stuck doing something you don’t enjoy for 50 years.
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be?
Aretha Franklin and we would go to a karaoke bar after and belt out a few tunes together?