Dr Kirstin Ferguson on Leadership, Gender Equality and Diversity in the COVID-19 Era
Interview with Dr Kirstin Ferguson
Kirstin Ferguson knows a thing or two about career diversity. At just 17 she enrolled at the Australian Defence Force Academy, graduating as a Flying Officer and Dux of her class. But not one to rest on her laurels, Kirstin juggled her Royal Australian Air Force service with study, earning a law degree that facilitated a move out of the military and into civilian life. Her career was just getting started.
Today, Kirstin sits as a non-executive director on several boards, was Deputy Chair of the ABC for 2 Years, writes a column in the Sydney Morning Herald and advocates for gender equality and diversity in the workplace. In this episode, we chat with Kristen on leadership in the era of COVID-19.
Douglas Nicol: Hello, I’m Douglas Nicol, and welcome to Smart Dust, the podcast that likes to look at the tech and innovation trends and people that are changing our world. Sometimes big mega trends and sometimes, well, the ideas that sit at the fringes of science and technology. As always, I am joined by innovation and digital trends cereal addict, Mr. Nick Abrahams.
Nick Abrahams: Hello everyone. Hello Douglas. And thank you, Smart Dusters for joining us. Cereal addict this time. At this age, that’s the only thing that I’m addicted to. So I don’t think it’s too bad.
Douglas Nicol: Nick, I’m sure it’s a very healthy habit. In this episode, we are lucky to be joined by Dr. Kirstin Ferguson. By anyone’s standard, Kirstin is a remarkable human being with a fascinating career story. After joining the military at the age of 17, Kirstin graduated as Ducks of her Air Force graduating class at the Australian Defense Force Academy. She was then posted to an F-111 Squadron, went on to study law and became admitted as a solicitor before becoming CEO of a global consulting business. As well as an honors degree in law and also history, Kirstin has a PhD in corporate culture and leadership. She’s also an adjunct professor at the QUT School of Business, and she’s NED, non-executive director, on a number of very interesting boards from shopping center player SCA to payments platform EML. And most notably, she’s just completed a term as deputy chair of the ABC, which is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for our overseas listeners. An advocate for gender diversity and equality in the workplace, Kirstin is a member of various women’s organizations, including chief executive women, women corporate directors, and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia.
Kirstin, you are very welcome to Smart Dust.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Thank you you very much. I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Nick Abrahams: Thanks very much, Kirstin. Look, we might kick off with, I guess, the story that was 2020 in terms of COVID. I know you have some quite attractive work circumstances. Could you talk a little bit about, I guess, how your work has rolled out this year, geographically, and also how tech has helped make things work better for you or [inaudible 00:00:02:38]?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Let me just say right up front for all the techies out there. God bless tech people because I love the move to virtual.
Nick Abrahams: I agree.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: You know how sometimes life’s a little lucky? I moved from a Capital City in January to the Sunshine Coast. So I’m sitting here at my home office and I’m looking at the beach, which is right out the front, and feeling very lucky to have spent this challenging year here.
Nick Abrahams: Perfect timing.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I know. It is perfect timing. So of course, I got a pandemic puppy like everyone else as well. So I’ve ticked every box there is. But my life is just completely different. Not only did I become, my husband and I, became empty-nesters at the start of the year. So both kids have now left home and are off at college at university. We obviously found ourselves working from home permanently, and I’d previously been on flights every week. I was always somewhere else. So to not travel at all has been an enormous change. As I said, thank goodness for all the techies out there that have created these incredible ways we can meet now online. So all my board meetings have moved virtually. Everything I’m doing on to leadership coaching with senior execs and all my different meetings, everything’s online. Yeah, I’m really enjoying it. So I’m very grateful for tech this year. That’s for sure.
Douglas Nicol: Kirstin, you sit on a number of boards and the discussion about the role of the office and return to work and what should we be offering our team members in the future in terms of where they work and how they work? What are the discussions you’re having at a board level across some of the companies you’re involved in about that return to work piece?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Yeah, that’s a really good question, and it’s something that… I’m on four different boards. We are talking about them frequently. And it’s interesting. Each industry has a slightly different approach as well. And often when we’re talking about working from home, I’ve just been telling you how I was fortunate enough to work from home. That’s because I sit in an office. I don’t need to go and manufacture something, or I’m not a doctor where I’m actually seeing patients or I’m not building something. I think when you’re sitting on a board, you’ve got to be very aware that we’re not all the same. We’re not all having the same experience.
But certainly, the most overwhelming characteristics I’m seeing is around choice. And I think that will be the big change going forward. That for those who wish to work from home and are able to work from home and can do their jobs from home, that will be offered by employers of choice. I think being an employer of choice will mean offering your employees choice on how they complete their roles. I mean, I’m a real advocate for virtual. I’m probably one end of the extreme. There’s others who can’t wait to see everyone back in the office and pretend this never happened. I don’t think either of us are right. I suspect we’ll end up landing somewhere in the middle. Most of my boards are talking about hybrid organizations, where you’re using the office in a much more mindful way and coming together for collaboration and doing different things. I think the days we lived in in the past where everyone went into the office as sort of the standard way of operating, that has well and truly past.
Douglas Nicol: I loved your piece in Forbes magazine recently, which was really just saying how wonderful virtual meetings are. I loved what you said about discussion dominators because I fear I might be a discussion dominator. What’s happened to discussion dominators as a result of virtual meetings?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: If they’re muted. Thank God for the mute button.
Nick Abrahams: [crosstalk 00:06:36]. Douglas, is this a time where I can tell… He is a dominator? What can I say? Because I’m glad that you can come on and mediate this. We’re delighted to have you here. It’s like, “We’ll see what Kirstin said about you.”
Douglas Nicol: [crosstalk 00:06:50]. What’s happened with your dominator?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, yeah, they’ve been muted. I think what I’ve observed in the meetings and I’m in meetings all day like all of us, and when they’re physical meetings, sometimes there’s people who can dominate discussions or they can dominate the room just through their physical size and presence. And it’s just something that’s always been. Whereas on Zoom or Teams or whatever you’re using, it’s a much more egalitarian attendance. You’re all just a square rectangle sort of screen on the screen. And you generally mute unless you’ve got something to say. So I find you’re a lot more mindful about coming off mute, that you’ve thought about what it is you want to say. There’s just a different dynamic.
I’m finding people who might’ve once been more introverted are more confident about speaking up in online environments, which is terrific. You’re getting different perspectives. I think chairing online meetings is a new skill and it’s somewhat different to chairing a physical meeting. But those that do it well, the meetings are equally as effective. I should say I’m glad you found that article. I wrote it in about, I think, June or July. I think there was a bit of an ulterior motive on my part because I was loving, I am loving as you can hear, having all my meetings online. I was worried we were sort of going to get back to normal way too quickly. So I just wanted to document and remind everyone why this is so fabulous that as we know in Australia, the situation sort of developed in Melbourne, and we’re certainly not back to normal yet.
Nick Abrahams: I’m with you. I think it’s fantastic. I feel like even with driving culture within an organization, I feel like our teams, whether it’s in Australia or globally, the ones that are well managed, you can actually drive culture and community very nicely. The thing that I’m worried about is with Zoom is I tend to… Now I’m focused on… I never look in people’s eyes anymore because I’m busy looking at the camera and I’m wondering if that’s going to go into offline as well. I won’t look in people’s eyes. I’ll be looking three inches above their head.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: You look shifty. They’ll think you’re shifty.
Nick Abrahams: Yeah. That’s it. I don’t have to look in the camera.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Look, it’s not…
Nick Abrahams: Yeah.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Yeah.
Nick Abrahams: Jump in.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I was going to say, I mean, there are limits. I think there are some things that just obviously you can’t replace face-to-face meetings with, but I don’t think it’s nearly as much as some naysayers might suggest. I think there’s an awful lot we can do online. And just the time it gives you back. I mean, that’s been the biggest shock to me from not commuting and not flying all the time. I’m really grateful for it. Yeah.
Nick Abrahams: It’s a win-win. Atlassian just released some research this week. It said on average, employees work 30 minutes more each day. The give back of the commute time is being taken up with some more productivity.
So just changing gear a little bit, once again, in Forbes, you write a lot about leadership, trust, emotional intelligence and so forth. And obviously that you were in a leadership position with the ABC when it went through something of a crisis. And we don’t want to talk about that specifically, but very interested in your observations about how to lead during a crisis. The people who you look up to, who you think were good leaders, and what qualities do you think that leaders need when there’s a crisis happening.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I think this year, every single leader, and I have a view that everyone is a leader, regardless of what it might say on your position title, because whether we’re leading our families or our communities or in your business, whatever it might be, we’re all role models to someone else, but we’ve all had to learn to lead during a crisis. And it’s not something that you can prepare for. I mean, no one was trained for this particular situation to happen. Whether you’re the prime minister or you’re just running your little startup. It’s been a really challenging time.
And when I look at the qualities of some of the leaders that I think have really stood out this year, they’re leaders that have been able to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. An example of that is a guy called Adam Silver. And I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him. He’s the commissioner of the National Basketball Association in the US. I’d certainly never heard of him before this year. But he was one of the first senior leaders to make a very high-profile decision to suspend a major sport, when the 2020 basketball season, when he canceled it, because of what he thought was going to happen with the pandemic.
Now, he made that, though, at a time, I think it was in March or maybe early April, before the pandemic had hit the US. So he had to make that decision with very little information. And you look at where they are nine months later and there’s still little acceptance of what’s going on. But back then, can you imagine his shareholders or his board, his advertisers, the clubs, everyone going, “What on earth are you talking about?” So he was able to make that decision and it turned out to be the right decision.
So I think that’s been really important. But I’m a massive advocate for emotional intelligence. And having all the intellect in the world really doesn’t mean anything in a crisis, unless you’ve got the empathy and the ability to lead in a way that people want to follow. And that comes from having really high EQ.
There was a really wonderful example of that through the CEO of Marriott International. And if you haven’t watched his video, there’s a five-minute video that he filmed for his couple of a hundred thousand employees again, back in about March. And he was basically telling hospitality industry, which is, a lot of you are going to lose your jobs, but he was candid and vulnerable and humble and emotional, but yet at the same time, really decisive and offering a sense of reassurance for all those being led by him, that they were going to see the crisis through together. So I think he really encapsulated what it’s like to be resolute and courageous at the same time of being really transparent and having this high level of empathy.
And then the third example, I mean, she does get used all the time for good reason, is just Jacinda Ardern across the ditch. And the reason I want to mention her though, aside from her incredible empathy that she lives every day, what I like about her that I think we can all learn from, is how well she adapts her leadership style. So you might see her at the podium making really tough, strong decisions about how they’re going to manage COVID in New Zealand and what restrictions they’re going to put in.
But then you might see her the following week in her track suit on her couch at home, doing a Facebook live session, answering questions from New Zealanders about what’s worrying them. And I think she shows that real confidence in being able to comfortably adapt her style. And she certainly doesn’t lose any respect by appearing in a different way in different contexts. And quite the contrary, it builds trust and that authenticity is just priceless.
Nick Abrahams: Yeah. And do you think that authenticity and empathy, can that be taught or is that just bubbling up from the person’s humanity?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, I think it’s a bit like Tiger Woods. I don’t know, I’ve just picked a random sports person. I mean, I’m sure he has some more natural gifts towards golf than I do. I’m just going to say, genetically. I’m sure he came out of the womb.
Nick Abrahams: Don’t put yourself down.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: But then I wonder whether-
Nick Abrahams: If you hadn’t chosen golf…
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Yeah. But it might’ve taken me a lot more time and effort and money of trainers and people to teach me that. So I think some people are more naturally able to lead in that way, but that does not mean that you can’t learn it. And in fact learning empathy, and it’s sounds strange, particularly if it naturally to you, but for people who aren’t quite sure what that looks like, the more you just do little random acts of kindness, to use the cliche, and the more you put yourself in other people’s shoes, the easier it becomes.
Douglas Nicol: I’m fascinated what seven years in the military does to your leadership style, because obviously I’m sensing a very modern leadership style from you, but equally, you grew up, as it were, in what I imagine was quite a command and control culture, or maybe not. I don’t know. So what has that military training given you? Does it have any actually disadvantages in today’s maybe softer management style?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, it’s interesting you ask because I mean, my military training was my most formative years. So from 17 to about 26, 25, 26. So I learnt to lead at that really pivotal point. And I think the military is really misunderstood as being all about command and control, or you picture the movies like Platoon or something, where they’re all screaming at each other and think that that’s what the military is about.
And I mean, I must caveat that with ADFA where I was, the Defense Academy was like that. I was there in the early ’90s, which is now the subject of fairly broad condemnation from the military themselves and investigations. And there was a lot of what was called bastardization and so I learned and experienced it myself. Not only was I being the person yelling, I was certainly being yelled at, and realized how ineffective that style of leadership is. So I’m actually quite grateful that I experienced it. Not because it was enjoyable, but I learnt what is not an effective way to lead.
But when you are actually in the military, in the regular services, you are taught very much that earning respect of the people you lead is really all that matters and that they must trust you. And there’s just no way service men and women who have been in the services for… Some of them were they longer than I’d been alive when I was sort of popped in as a young 21-year-old officer to lead them. They’re not going to follow you anywhere, certainly not into battle, if you haven’t earned their respect. And earning respect comes from really having a whole range of soft skills, as well as the knowledge about what it is you’re doing.
So I think ironically, the military has been an incredibly important part of my learning about leadership, but I then had the benefit of becoming CEO of an organization of psychologists, and Nick and I worked together in the gap in between. So I went from the military to lawyers, who are their own unique breed, and then psychologists and three different cultures you could not get. But the group of psychologist taught me all of the skills around being a highly emotional, intelligent leader and what it’s like to lead a feedback culture and how important it is to really understand and have self-awareness of the impact you’re having on others. And so I know, I feel very fortunate to have been able to combine such diverse ways of leading in the military and then in an organization like that, and apply that now in a whole range of other ways.
Douglas Nicol: It’s interesting. You mentioned trust and in a way, our view of trust is changing because suddenly we have to trust our people, they have to trust us, and we’re not physically together, we’re leading remotely. How do you see the role of trust? Has it changed? How do you build trust? Things like that.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, I mean, trust has always been important, but this year in particular, the whole COVID, it feels like we’re in a real life leadership experiment at the moment. Because I don’t know if you remember back to the start in Australia and we had some of our leaders thinking it was probably preferable just to calm everyone down and say, “Look, there’s nothing to see here. You can go to a sporting match. It’s all going to be okay.” And yet we were going into our supermarkets and going “Well, that doesn’t seem right. That’s not what I’m seeing, what I’m being told. It doesn’t feel authentic.”
And that causes a crisis of trust. And I think this whole issue with COVID has been around trust. We needed to trust our government leaders, that they’re doing the right thing by us, our fellow citizens, that they’re wearing masks and there’s contact tracing. They’re telling the truth. We’ve had to trust our business leaders that they’ve got our best interests at heart.
And I think what all leaders learned, perhaps not in those initial moments, but very quickly thereafter, that leading with transparency and honesty actually increases trust. And there’s a wonderful analogy that Jim Collins uses, but he references a guy called Admiral Jim Stockdale. And he happened to be the highest-ranked US military prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. And what he said, and this applies to everything that we’ve experienced this year during COVID, is that you must never confuse faith that will prevail in the end, which we can never afford to lose. So we know we’re going to get through this. We know there’ll be a post-COVID time. But we can’t confuse that with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
And what that means for all of us all the time, we don’t have to be in a crisis, but it’s being able to communicate as a leader that you’re going to succeed. You have a real sureness of success, but at the same time, you have to balance that with communicating and confronting whatever the brutal facts are of your current situation. So you have to lay off staff or you’re going to have to close offices, whatever it might be. That is just the reality and people want to hear it.
So I think trust has been built by leaders during this crisis, by those who were brave enough to be transparent. And that example I used earlier of Arne Sorenson at Marriott, the five-minute video, watch that. It’s a brilliant example of doing precisely that.
Nick Abrahams: It’s a wonderful perspective you mentioned, the fellow who was a prisoner of war. It reminds me, I haven’t thought of it for ages, but I did use to work with a fellow who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. And he had this great saying. I’d say, “How are you?” And he’d say, “Nick, any day that I get up and there’s a door handle on the inside of the room, I’m happy.” And it really gives you a sense of perspective on life.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well-
Nick Abrahams: Maybe just… Sorry, go ahead.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I was just going to say, I mean, that story, this Admiral Jim Stockdale, he also talked about how the optimists in the prisoner of war camp, what he would say, would be dead by Christmas because they always believe we’re going to get out. And that’s why being Pollyanna-ish about it isn’t going to work either, saying everything’s going to be okay. Because invariably, you’re not going to be out. Perhaps. The brutal facts are, you’re a prisoner of war. So anyway, I think that’s why it’s such a powerful way for us all to think about how we lead and how we communicate.
Nick Abrahams: Yeah. And so this year has been tough on very many people and obviously mental health is something that’s talked about a lot. It’s in the media anyway, and it’s obviously a significant issue. It seems to have been exacerbated by COVID. What are the boards that you’re on and what’s the thinking at the senior levels of leadership in Australia around the mental health issues?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: It’s absolutely been at a crisis point this year. And in fact, I was having a discussion about that earlier today, and understanding ways that we can be helping and identifying, particularly when you’re not physically seeing the people that you’re working with. I think it puts an even greater onus on us to find ways to understand the experiences that our people are living through.
I did hear a terrific, and this comes back to tech solutions, a terrific example of a company that had forever, even pre-COVID, been trying to do mental health sessions and get people to come along. And they would get varying numbers, but not a lot of cut-through because obviously going to a group, people know who you are and talking about mental health isn’t something everyone’s comfortable with.
So they initially went online and were having virtual chats and they were finding the numbers were greater because it’s a bit more anonymous. You’re at least in your home and you’re not physically there. They had attendance through the roof when they found a tech solution to make participation by chat, and anonymously by chat, and their numbers quadrupled with people wanting to participate, wanting to share what’s going on for them, but not being identified. And that’s a simple tech solution to a really challenging problem.
And so now this particular company is having a whole range of mental health sessions, and focused on different areas and different people can log in and chat and read what other people are saying and share their own, but confidentially. So I think that’s some of the ways as leaders, we need to be trying to be a bit creative about how we really assist the people we’re leading.
Douglas Nicol: Kirsten, we might move on now to social media because we’ve noticed that you have embraced social media in a very big way. You’re very active.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: That’s an understatement.
Nick Abrahams: You’re very prominent.
Douglas Nicol: I know you wouldn’t say it, but you are actually one of just a handful of Australian LinkedIn insurances. You have the official logo, and some leaders choose not to be active on social media and some do. Do you believe all that great content you’re posting is important for leadership in 2020?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Of course I’m going to say yes because I’m there. But I remember about 10 years ago, getting counseled by other senior directors saying, “You shouldn’t be on Twitter. You shouldn’t be online. That’s not a place for directors. You’ll get a reputation of just not being serious about your career.” And I’m so glad I ignored them. I mean, I remember feeling worried that that might be the case, but also stronger was my drive that I was learning a lot from being online. And it takes you out of your bubble. The people I follow, I make sure I follow people I vehemently disagree with on issues because at least I’m hearing them and seeing what people think.
I do think it is important for leaders to be there. What I don’t espouse is that everyone needs to have the same level of profile, because I think it only works if you genuinely want to be online and you can do it authentically. And I know we talked about authenticity before. There is a way of being authentic and I think you need to do your own posts. You can’t have someone else do them. You need to be there frequently and be able to comment on a whole range of things and not do so in a way that’s going to see you on the front page of the paper.
And all of that is its own skillset. So unless you’re comfortable learning that and leaning into it, I wouldn’t recommend that leaders need to go the whole hog and become an influencer. However, they should be there watching. So you can be there at least reading what’s going on in your industry, what people are saying about your company, perhaps what people are saying about you. Pretending it’s not going on or that you’re too good for that or I haven’t got time. I mean if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “Well, I’m just too busy to be on Twitter or whatever.” We’re all busy, and it depends how you prioritize your time. But I can absolutely say with certainty that many of the opportunities that I’ve had through my career, particularly in that past decade, have come through being online. And it led me to create a… I don’t think we spoke about it in the intro, but a large social media campaign called Celebrating Women, that ended up becoming a global movement and it’s led to a book. And Jack Dorsey at Twitter, I’ve met with him a number of times about why that campaign went so well. And that’s another form of leadership. It might be informal leadership and I had no title or role or reason to do it other than I felt strongly about a particular issue, but it’s a way that we, as leaders, are engaging with the world around us.
Douglas Nicol: Yeah. It’s sort of funny because once you make that decision to engage in social media, you also have to accept that sometimes living in a era of the cancel culture, you are going to get the critics you’re going to get occasional haters and negativity. Is that something you’ve learned to live with? Or maybe you don’t get any, I don’t know.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, it’s funny. I’m always cautious about saying this because I don’t want to start something that’s not there, but I’ve been very fortunate. And even though I’ve had campaigns about women and I’ve been on the ABC Board and all of that, I think that comes down to how you, or me in this situation, treat social media. I’m very respectful to everyone I engage with. I never respond to people who have got nasty criticism. That’s not the place for those kinds of discussions for me, that’s not how I use it. And it is a personal choice, but it has meant that by and large, I’ve had a very positive experience online. And for the small number of occasions where that hasn’t been the case, it’s been well outweighed by the community and the context and the network of people that I have online and that I really value.
Nick Abrahams: This does feel like this is going to go full circle here because the final question that I’d like to ask is about the best piece of career advice that you’ve ever been given. But I might just preface that by saying that you gave me many years ago, a wonderful piece of career advice, which was to get active on social media. I don’t know if you remember saying that. You’re like, “Oh, it’s going to be great for me.”
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I do.
Nick Abrahams: And you were like, “Oh, you should get out.” And you were actually very supportive too in my early days with boosting up some of my comments and so forth. So thank you, it was great advice. And also, thank you for the support.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I do remember that. And that was around the time I suspect probably about 10 years ago where I was being told at the same time not to. So I’m really glad that it worked for you.
Nick Abrahams: Exactly, exactly. No, it was that time because we were talking about whether folks should have… How dangerous it is or otherwise to have a position, and you’re like, “No, we’ve got to have that have voice.” So no, it was great. So what’s the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: I think it’s, it sounds trite, but say yes to opportunities. I mean, I’ve got imposter syndrome like the next person and always thinking am I really able to do this or am I the best person? I now learned to ignore that very quickly and just say yes. And I think saying yes leads you down paths you never expected. I think you’ve got to learn to trust whoever’s offering you that opportunity, that they see something in you that you might not have even realized. And just being open to new ways of doing things and saying yes, you just never know where it will go.
Douglas Nicol: I have a final question and it is from my inner child. And my inner child is desperate to ask you what it is like to spend a bit of time in a fighter jet, because I would imagine you spent a bit of time in an F-111 or something like that. Can you describe what that feels like?
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Well, yeah. I was fortunate to fly over the Welsh countryside actually. I don’t know where your accent’s from, I don’t think you’re from Wales, but I flew in a Hawk fighter jet.
Douglas Nicol: Dublin actually, so not [crosstalk 00:31:40].
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Dublin. Oh, sorry. Not too far across.
Nick Abrahams: He’s from Wollongong, Kirstin. He just puts that on.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Look, and I’m a walking cliche I should add because, while I didn’t fly, so I was at the squadron, but I met my now-husband on day two and he was in his flying suit. I’d obviously watched Top Gun far too many times. I can tell you after 23 odd years of marriage, that all wears off. I just want the dishwasher empty. But no, he’s wonderful.
Nick Abrahams: Keep your Maverick stuff for the plane.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Yeah, yeah. That’s all fine and beaut, but have you taken the bin out? So look, it’s an amazing experience. And obviously, for anyone that can’t get off, it’s pretty rare for most normal people to be able to get a flight in a fast jet. But it’s funny, I did all of that in my early twenties and now I’m late forties and I don’t even want to go on roller coasters and things. So I’ve completely lost all my ability to do terrifying things, except come on this podcast, there you go. I was very brave.
Nick Abrahams: I think going on the board of the ABC, that’s obviously [crosstalk 00:32:50].
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Yeah, that was particularly brave.
Douglas Nicol: Kirsten, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a chat and very much appreciate you joining us on Smart Dust.
Dr. Kirstin Fer…: Thank you. Pleasure to be here.
Douglas Nicol: And that wraps it up for this episode, Smart Dusters. As usual, there are some links and notes to peruse for this episode in the iTunes program notes. If you’ve enjoyed the episode, please rate us on your podcast platform of choice, and dear you go crazy and subscribe to our little podcast. Thank you to the wonderful content creators at Daresay who produce this podcast. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s chat, you might enjoy hearing more about the making of a modern leader by listening to our July 2020 episode, where we chat to Tim Reed, who is the president of the Business Council of Australia. Definitely worth a listen. So from me, Douglas Nicol, until next time.
Nick Abrahams: And me, Nick Abrahams, thanks everyone. Goodbye.
Douglas Nicol: Goodbye.