Q: What is your role with the AGA?
As the Manager of Enterprise and Visitor Experience, I lead the development of retail environments that support the creative process and (hopefully) encourage visitors to place value on the outputs from the creative engine. My team and I also look after two functional areas of the AGA: Shop AGA and Art Rental & Sales.
Q: Have you experienced discrimination or prejudice?
I consider myself fortunate to have never experienced the direct extremes of discrimination/prejudice faced by many women. I am forever indebted to those women who challenged the norms and status quo - they afforded me an environment wherein the only expectations that matter to me are those that I place on myself. Although there may be examples of moments when someone thought I couldn’t accomplish something because of my gender (or so I would deduce at the time), I categorize those experiences as missed opportunities for those individuals; they could have benefitted from believing I could rather than dismissing my abilities before they were realized.
Q: How would you describe women in one word?
Can’t be done but more importantly, shouldn’t be attempted.
Q: What way do you think you are helping to break the bias around gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping in your environment?
Gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping are measured differently within each generation and for each culture. Through circumstance, I was raised by my father who came from a culture and generation that celebrated designated gender roles (even though, out of necessity, his own role defied that premise). At the same time, popular sentiments suggested that women who worked were more liberated than their home-maker counterparts, and those that worked AND raised their families were super-humans.
Thankfully, my brain formed straddling these conflicting values. I may not be breaking biases or challenging gender norms, however, I am honouring those that have by taking responsibility for my own successes and failures and more importantly, not measuring anyone else’s life choices against my own.
Q: What is the most impactful contribution from women in the arts and culture ecosystem?
People contribute by participating. Nothing is more impactful than being a part of the conversation regardless of the narrative.
Q: Who is the woman who inspired you in your life and why?
A former boss is likely the most impactful woman in my professional career. From the sheer force of being caught behind her creative wake, I formed the basis of my own professional values. I now celebrate creation from deficit; I believe in sharing the workload but acknowledging individual contributions; and I recognize the onus I carry to bring someone, who is new to the game, along for the ride so they can share in the experience. Conversely, I also reject multi-tasking as a quality worthy of praise and recognize micro-management as a trust dysfunction that can erode the most solid foundations. Ultimately, it’s within the borders of these contradictions – that leaders can be both inspiring and daunting – that I find people most interesting and exciting to know.
Q: What is something that you learned and is beneficial for young women to know?
It may not seem like it, but you get a lot of do-overs in your life… if you recognize one, don’t waste it or underestimate the power it can wield. Nothing is permanent if you don’t want it to be.
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
Games (and yes, I am very competitive…but no, I don’t need to win but I do need to have an inspired adversary).
Q: Describe yourself in one word.