Chief People Officer Kathryn Farnell is calm, creative and empowering. She handles Craveable Brands’ People and Culture.
Kathryn’s career in human resources spans over 15 years in Australian and global organisations. Starting her career in employment relations, Kathryn has a passion for leadership development.
Kathryn started her CPO role when her son was only 8 months old. She has experienced the benefits of flexible working arrangements for herself. Kathryn is a champion for inclusive, gender-neutral company policies. She wants to see the flexibility that supports carers and families of all kinds.
Throughout her career, Kathryn has faced male-heavy industries and led teams of people who were older than her. “I earned respect through hard work, encouraging others to think differently. I’ve changed policies to be more progressive wherever I can influence them,” says Kathryn.
To support more women into leadership roles, men need to be considered too. “We must continue making it easier for dads to support their families and you’ll support women in the workplace too,” says Kathryn. She says it often makes more financial sense for a mother to continue working full time, just like in her family. Kathryn’s husband is able to work from home and be a hands-on father.
Kathryn says her greatest supporter is her partner. “I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive partner who values my career and ambitions as much as his own,” she says. “Yet I know that my experience is still the exception to the rule.” She thinks women still provide a disproportionate amount of both paid and unpaid care and support for others in our society. “Government policy, superannuation legislation and the private sector must embrace initiatives and funding that enable more flexible arrangements,” she says. Kathryn argues this starts with affordable childcare, and inclusive parental leave policies.
Kathryn believes in leadership teams that have a gender balance of men and women. “Better decision-making, execution, performance, profitability, and culture that results.” To enable this, she says it starts by influencing the perceptions of hiring managers.
It’s Kathryn’s view that diversity only makes organisations stronger and more appealing to the right talent. “Flexibility, respect, and culture makes businesses more attractive to candidates. These strengths also make business more resilient and innovative.”