STEM Girl to Aeronautical Engineer to CEO - What a Journey

September 28, 2020

How does a STEM girl become the CEO of the Sunshine Coast City Council, a Region with an economy of $18.5b.  Whatever your leadership interest, tune into this episode to learn about a little girl who breathlessly watched all the Space Shuttle launches with her Dad.  Unsurprisingly, Emma’s first job was with the Royal Australian Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineer.

Emma was determined to fly, and became a licensed pilot while still completing her school studies.Her leadership journey evolves further when she enters the realms of Public Service, and leads large infrastructure projects for two States Governments and a Territory Government.Emma Thomas’s journey from STEM girl to leadership is marked by a determination to excel at each level of her journey.  This shines through as she shares her determination to become a pilot and an aeronautical engineer. 

Emma leaves us with invaluable insights into her leadership journey, sharing takeaways with listeners who are on their own leadership journeys. Emma is a builder of high-performance teams. She believes the role of people in leadership is to mentor, coach and support everyone on the team to be their best self.  

In this Podcast Emma leaves the listener with great takeaways:

  • Following your dream with focussed intent - and leaping the barriers to reach your goal.
  • Be solid in your belief in yourself, and not being deterred when pursuing dream roles that may have a gender bias.
  • Be prepared to take risks and pivot into a new stage in your career when opportunities present.
  • Where opportunities don’t present - seek them out and pursue them yourself.
  • Explore the practice of Inclusive Leadership - where the inherent value in diverse lenses are acknowledged and embedded into the team culture.
  • Valuing difference across teams increases the capacity of the team to think laterally, consider ideas counter to group-think, and make decisions based on all the combined wisdom at the table.

This podcast is for you if you have a passion and want to see it translate into a career path or if you are already leading, and want to pivot to another sector, industry or location.  Emma was driven by passion to become an aeronautical engineer, and her natural capacity to lead saw a different career journey unfold.  

The Key to Inclusive Leadership HBR 06/03/2020

Connect with Emma on LinkedIn