Today, International Women’s Day, is an opportunity for men and women, young or old, powerful or not, to champion women’s causes and show their unwavering support for battles still to be won. Here at Pillow Talk, we relish the opportunity to empower and encourage the women who work with us and shop with us through continually looking for ways to support the community and our staff’s personal and professional growth.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Be Bold for Change and in light of this, we have called on a few of our incredible female team members to share a bit about their lives, work, and what change they would like to see for women in the future.
KATE SPENCER – GENERAL MANAGER
Our multi-talented and all round wonder woman of a General Manager, Kate Spencer, has a wealth of experience under her belt after living and working in eight cities across four continents and having worked with the likes of Joanna Lumley, Dame Judy Dench, John Thaw, Archie Punjabi and Gerard Butler. Since joining Pillow Talk in 2001, Kate has been a key component in the growth and success of the brand and even started our eCommerce website! On this she says, “we were far too early and as they say, if you are not embarrassed by your first site when you look back at it – you started far too late. It is very funny to look back at that site”.
Kate has worked across almost every facet of the business during her tenure after starting out as a buyer for bedlinen and being actively involved creating catalogues and planning the fit out of new stores. She then turned her talents to HR and marketing – looking after both areas as well as helping buyers before reaching her current position of General Manager.
On the theme of Be Bold for Change, Kate says:
“If I could influence one major change in this world I would like to see more women in higher positions within the judicial system to make some serious changes to the penalty for anyone one involved in child abuse in particular, as well as domestic violence and any physical violence against women.
Our law enforcement officers go to extreme lengths to keep the public safe only for most of those that believe in harming others to be released back into society.”
NATALIA ZIMIC – BUYER
Born in Peru, Natalia came to Australia seven years ago to study her MBA and loved the country so much she decided to stay! Natalia has a deep love of travel, the outdoors and of course stunning soft furnishings which she says she is “utterly obsessed with!”.
Natalia is the buyer for Pillow Talk’s cushions, beach towels, outdoor textiles and toys and works closely with our in-house designers to develop new ranges.
We asked Natalia how she believed Australia compares to other countries around the world in relation to equality for women.
“I think it has improved a lot in the past few years but there are still some countries that would be ranked much higher than Australia.
Comparing it to Peru, Australia is doing much better and I’m happy and lucky to be here and talking from personal experience, women rule Pillow Talk!”
Natalia would also like to see more done about violence against women in Australia, as well as high quality and affordable child care.
DANIELLE LEAR – MARKETING ASSISTANT
Danielle has been with the company for almost ten years, and like many who work with Pillow Talk has had the opportunity to experience working in many different facets of the business. Danielle started as a buying assistant in bedlinen and then moved to the living department before commencing as the personal assistant to the General Manager and now works as the marketing assistant for traditional media.
Danielle is also the mother of two beautiful little girls aged five and seven and says while it can be tricky to achieve the optimal work/life balance, it’s all about give and take.
“You can only do what you can do. I am very lucky to work for a company that understands that family’s and life do exist for their employees so if one of my daughters is sick and I need to stay home, then they understand. But then if work needs to me to stay back for some reason, then I don’t mind doing so. It is all about respect and understanding.”
Danielle had this to say about Be Bold for Change:
“I think times are changing with new generations of females being empowered so much more than when I was a child. If we keep empowering our kids it can only get better. I always tell my girls they can be whatever they want to be in this world, they just need to fight for it because it won’t always be easy.”
CHELSEA FINCH – ONLINE PRODUCT COORDINATOR
At 32, Chelsea has been with Pillow Talk for 15 years – that’s almost half her life! Starting out as a casual in the Jindalee store, she worked her way up to 2IC, then into a position as a buying assistant across all departments and is now doing a wonderful job as online product coordinator. Chelsea not only loves keeping fit through gym, swimming and her social volleyball team, she is also an animal lover who even volunteers at the local cat café!
Chelsea hopes all women will one day have the opportunity to be so supported by their workplace as she is.
“We are very fortunate within our place of employment, as Pillow Talk’s success is driven by a predominantly female-run team, therefore cementing and proving women’s ability and strengths in the workforce. As a woman, I would like for all women to receive the same opportunities that we enjoy within our place of work; that is, to continue to see all women striving towards and being offered equality within the workforce and society in general.”
HELENA NOUNE – INVENTORY CONTROLLER
Helena’s journey with Pillow Talk began in 1996, that’s 21 years ago! Born in Lebanon, Helena moved to Australia 30 years ago and speaks fluent Arabic, French and English. Helena first began working with Pillow Talk at the Wintergarden store and has worked across various stores and departments with the business, only briefly taking time away to raise her beautiful daughter and now works in one of our Brisbane warehouses as an inventory controller.
Helena is incredibly proud of the measures Australia has taken to close the pay gap for women over recent years, however acknowledges that there is still a way to go. On what she would like to see change for women in the future, Helena says:
“If every woman, man, organisation, community and government recognise the need for empowering women, all the change I would like to see for women in the world and the workforce will take place a lot sooner than statistically predicted.”
As they say, “empower a woman, empower a nation”.