Elizabeth Rowlinson, mental health counsellor and corporate wellness consultant shares with WiFA her experience with mentorship, how she promotes diversity and gender equality, what gives her hope, and much more.
Tell us about your background and the journey to your current position and organization.
For my first career, I worked in financial services related organisations and now in my second career, I am a corporate wellness advisor and individual mental health counsellor. During my first career, I worked as a Director in two of the Big 4 accountancy firms. Although I met many interesting and smart people, I had reached a period in my life where I needed to re-evaluate how I wanted to spent my time and in which direction I wanted my career to go. What I loved most was meeting and learning about my clients and colleagues and understanding what motivated and inspired them. So, I made a career change and have not looked back! My current clients have told me how much my previous work experience helps. I come with an understanding of theory, research, and education but I also have first-hand knowledge of what it is like to work in certain types of organisations and an understanding of the peaks and troughs that accompany them.
Mentors play an important role in the developments of many careers. If you have/had a mentor, what is the one take away message or inspiration that he/she passed on to you?
During my time at one of the Big 4, I met a very senior ex-banker who was working with the firm as a special advisor. We became friends and I consider him to be a bit of an overall mentor for me – not life, not career – but both. He has taught me so much but the biggest lesson is to be a perpetual learner. I believe in constant improvement; to regularly work to grow, develop, and change. In order to do that, it takes curiosity, the openness to learn and the courage to challenge ourselves. To know someone who has achieved so much both professionally and personally and never is complacent in his own life is the thing I admire about him most.
How do you promote diversity and gender equality in your own life and workplace?
I am a big advocate of Psychological Safety. Psychological Safety is the ‘inclusion’ side of D&I and generally much more difficult to action and measure than diversity due to its intangibility. However, Psychological Safety is the foundation of every human interaction we have – whether it is a basic or more in-depth interaction – we can sense when it’s there and when it is not. In order to promote equality through Psychological Safety, first I help to educate myself, my family & friends, my corporate & individual clients as to what it is. Then, create a strategy to support it and a plan to execute it with actions to practise it daily until it becomes more natural. Finally, consistently modelling deep Psychological Safety in order to embed it into our lives both socially and professionally. It is important to note that these efforts must be authentic with full intent in order to withstand difficult times or challenges that come our way.
What gets you out of bed every day, either professionally or personally? What gives you hope?
It is easy to become melancholy with personal situations or in the world around us but the thing that gives me the most hope is that I believe in the inherent good of people. We may, at times, need guidance but I believe we are all capable of being the best versions of ourselves with a little effort! That gives me hope – knowing the organisations I work with the individual clients I have are all striving to be the best versions they can be!