Kenny Research Institute

This is Kenzo (but his friends called him Kenny) our faithful, humorous and highly intelligent Akita. He came to us as an 8 week old pup and settled in as though he was always meant to be part of the family.






Last month and with heavy hearts we had to let him go after spending 10 years and 8 months with us. It was devastating to say the least.

My previous career path required long hours, dedication and focus that meant spending less time with Kenny than I liked. It was not possible to have him at work with me as doggie crèches are not known to exist within my employer’s workplace.

It pretty well sucked as this was not an ideal arrangement if an organization wants the best out of their people.

I then thought about so many of my female colleagues, married with young children who are also pursuing a career in science. So many women in the workforce especially in science are faced with the stark choices of having to return to work soon after having their children in order to salvage their careers in what is a highly competitive industry.

Not withstanding the fact that in science the term “job security” is an oxymoron, there are still many women who are passionate about what they do and are willing to stick their necks out.

The predicament I faced has led me to my vision of building the Kenny Research Institute aimed specifically at supporting women in science. In doing so, Australia will not lose a highly educated and talented workforce that is vital to staying prosperous and relevant as a nation. (Take that onboard, politicians of ALL persuasions when you are considering cutting the budget to science and education).

In any endeavor there are good reasons and then there are the real (“selfish”) reasons. Do not for a moment think I am driven only by lofty, altruistic and philanthropic ambitions; in part I am also doing for my personal satisfaction.

The 7 foundation pillars of the Kenny Research Institute

  1. Bright and talented postdoctoral fellows will have a guaranteed 5 year salary (virtually unheard of) and a research assistant to pursue their particular specialized research niche. It allows them time to develop their area of expertise instead of chasing short term grants. That is counter productive as it takes their time and energy away from the main game
  2. Each postdoc will be matched with a mentor. The mentor is there to help them navigate through the politics that exist within any industry and temper any naivety about how the real world works
  3. Participation in personal development courses is compulsory; this includes being taught emotional intelligence enhancement skills. Gee, I wish I was taught that at school, how about you?
  4. Attendance in financial literacy courses is mandatory. Financial literacy equals financial freedom
  5. The Kenny Research Institute will be equipped with a human crèche, infirmary and a pet crèche. Happy mothers who can have regular contact with their human or fur kids are more likely to be focused and productive
  6. A 24 hour gym on site to cater to the irregular hours worked Notice the emphasis on health and wellness?
  7. A 24 hour cafeteria onsite that serves healthy meals. Junk food and soft drinks will not be available from the vending machines. If they want to eat crap they have to go elsewhere to forage for it. Good luck!

This is my promise to you Kenzo; RIP 25 June 2003- 24 February 2014



Career Breaks For Women Have Benefits Despite The Challenges-Smart Company

As women juggling careers and family, there is always the nagging feeling that taking extended time out to raise children is seen as a clunker of a road block to any meaningful advancement.

Well it appears that this is not as detrimental as we all have been lead to believe. The Smart Company article below reports that there are upsides; however be realistic and philosophical enough to know that it requires time to get back into the groove.

“Australian business women have revealed that an extended break from work does not always have a negative impact on their future career.

A survey of 115 state and territory finalists of the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Awards found that over half, 55%, said that taking time out could be positive. They reported that it enables time to reassess life goals and career goals, while 87% agreed that taking parental leave could be a catalyst for launching their own business.

The survey found that 36% said a career break lead them to try something different to their usual profession. These career breaks may be taken for maternity leave, study leave, extended travel or other personal reasons. However, despite some of the positive potential of career breaks, the survey found that old issues remain prevalent.

It found 89% of respondents say women face challenges when returning to work after a career break. Forty per cent of women find it difficult to return to the workforce at the same level as they were at before the break, while 33% believed career break impacts negatively on wealth creation.

Manager of marine environment salvage and intervention at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and the 2012 ACT Telstra Young Business Women’s Award winner Jocelyn Parsons once took a career break after eight years in the Navy.

She told SmartCompany this morning it was the first time she’d had the chance to step outside of the Navy environment and explore new things. She spent two years in the UK with her spouse.

“It was a positive for me, I had joined the Navy at 17 years old, and wanted to look for experience elsewhere,” she says.

While it proved a positive opportunity for Parsons, she is aware that many businesses still view letting someone take leave for personal growth, whether it be male or female, as a risk.

“Most employers will see it as a loss… they’ve got to make a business decision to take the hit,” she says.

However, Parsons says if employers and employees can work collaboratively, it can be a huge benefit to the company when the employee returns, armed with new skills and life experience.

She says both females and males find it challenging returning to work after a break, as the company may have progressed and it takes effort to get up to date.

“It requires support and respect… but businesses should recognise the positives,” she says.

For business owners, the challenge of taking a career break of their own can be more about how to keep operations running smoothly when they are not there.

The managing director of Carman’s Fine Foods, Carolyn Creswell, who won the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year award, doesn’t think women should avoid a necessary career break if well planned. She said if female business owners leave behind a good team, a break can happen smoothly.

“It’s amazing how dispensable you are,” she said. “When you have great people at work, the business just keeps going.”

The survey was undertaken in the lead-up to the national finals of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in Melbourne on November 14.

The findings come as a group of executive search firms have announced their commitment to a voluntary code of practice to improve women’s participation in business.

The voluntary code has seven key principals of best practice to assist in improving gender balance in senior teams. It covers the lifecycle of an executive search campaign, including assisting clients with diversity protocols, to identifying female candidates, and induction.

The businesses committed to the code include Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry, Russell Reynolds and Spencer Stuart.

The code falls in line with Business Council of Australia’s push to improve the recruitment and promotional opportunities for women in senior roles. challenges.html?utm_source=SmartCompany&utm_campaign=3f15a48327-Tuesday_5_November_201305_11_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_234118efee-3f15a48327-93664494



Early Career Choices: What Would You Have Done Differently?

I had the good fortune to attend an Advantage SA Speakers in Schools training this week.

The topic: How to engage secondary school students when speaking about potential career paths

The inimitable and popular media identity Leigh McClusky (McClusky & Co) well known as the former host of Channel 7 Adelaide’s Today Tonight facilitated this training workshop. Leigh shared valuable tips and insights that I will integrate into future chats/chinwags with the kids. Notice the informality and use of vernacular in the second half of the preceding statement?

That was my first take away from the training and a great reminder that I am no longer presenting my latest research at a medical science conference (the unspoken is that I am ready to defend my hypothesis based on my water tight statistical analyses) but to connect heart to heart, human to human.

This point was brought home when Leigh got all the participants to write a letter to the 16 year old version of ourselves given what we now know. Ah, the benefits of hindsight.

Dear 16 Year Old Me,

I would encourage you to spend more of your time understanding that being comfortable in your own skin is the secret to a successful and happy life.

I would have you not spend all your free time doing physics, chemistry, double maths homework because your identity then was predicated on academic achievement.

That you would twig that this approval by achievement syndrome that got inculcated in your psyche is based on an archaic education system deliberately designed to produce hard working, compliant albeit financially illiterate drones.

Do not let what you do define who you really are.

I would have you go on a journey of self discovery, and to understand that the essence of you is perfection; your indestructible spirit is pure beauty. That you learn from your attempts at doing and that there is no shame in not hitting your target.

Failure is over rated and a label used by some people who would rather see you not succeed. Their irrational thinking is that if you do well, it means they have to get off their bums and do something productive with their lives too. Go figure. Do not get upset but feel compassion for them.

Finally, I would have you look yourself in the eye everyday and say aloud “I am enough”.

Much affection,

Present day Me.





Dorinda Hafner Interview: Honey, I Shrunk The Chef

Dorinda Hafner is a remarkable human being whose career evolution can be summed up as “diverse” which as you read and listen to this interview is an understatement. Leaving Ghana at 18 and bound for the United Kingdom as a trainee nurse, she made stops along the way as a model, dispensing optician, actor, and is best known in Australia as a celebrity chef, civil celebrant and author of her latest book Honey, I Shrunk The Chef.

At 65 and still going like the clappers, she is testament to the fact that you change careers not just once but many times and at this rate I would not be surprised to see her doing something else in the coming years.

As Dorinda so succinctly puts it, “We are all multi talented beings, and it is only when we nurture and grow these talents that our magnificence shines”. I got a sense of fun and enthusiasm and most importantly passion and authenticity. To me that is a sign of someone honoring her talents.

Dorinda Hafner Part1

Dorinda Hafner Part2

The original intent of this interview was to discuss her newly published book, but as we talked what unfolded was a chronicle of one woman’s rich and varied life as told through her book. Yep, it included all the triumphs and setbacks and what led to overeating as a means of compensating for perceived shortcomings.

I don’t know about you, but I like happy endings; Dorinda shares how she shed 80 kg (over 160 pounds!) by firstly being internally motivated to continue living a vibrant healthy life. The subsequent external actions she took included getting a (good looking) personal trainer, reassessing her eating habits, understanding and modifying the internal dialogue which lead to overeating.

I am not in the habit of endorsing cookbooks but Honey, I Shrunk The Chef is about self respect and shoring up self esteem by literally nurturing our bodies with good food simply because we have discovered we are lovable as we are.

Some of the topics covered:

Fending for myself-The emotional and psychological management of a food addict; Public image-Dorinda talks about how weight loss changed her relationships with friends, family and others; Exercise Issues-Dorinda’s road to making friends with regular exercise and how it affected her progress; Portion Adjustments-Fun ways to permanent portion control.

Get the book at








Suzanne Kambuts: Using Lifeline Techniques To Make Career Decisions

We make the best professional and personal decisions when we have clarity; this means whether we stay in our present corporate career or make that leap into starting our own business. Perhaps it is even whether we stay in a relationship or move on.

I have asked Suzanne Kambuts, founder of Transformational Living coach and Certified Practitioner in The Life Line Technique™ for her wisdom with regards to how best a person arrives at the right decision for them.

In this excerpt Suzanne gives you the background to how muscle testing aids this process of becoming clear about your life purpose. Unsurprisingly we first need to cut through the emotional baggage that can cloud our decision making process.

Listen to the entire interview where Suzanne gives you the details as to how best to develop laser like focus necessary to make that transition with confidence.

Suzanne Kambutts Part1 30Oct2012

Suzanne Kambuts Part2 30Oct2012

Contact Suzanne:

Suzanne Kambuts Interview: Lifeline Technique and Career Transitions

In this present economic climate there are many people desperately clinging onto jobs that don’t serve them but because they fear unemployment, they make huge personal compromises and stay where they are. To up and leave takes courage but before taking that step it is important to know what exactly it is they want in a career.

Suzanne Kambuts. She is a Transformational Living coach and Certified Practitioner in The Life Line Technique™. As well as using this very powerful mode of helping her clients, she also uses numerology and astrology to help them gain clarity about their future career paths, create wealth and happy personal relationships.

Suspend your scepticism for a moment and listen to Suzanne explain how she uses these modalities to give her clients a stronger sense of direction in pursuit of their professional career.

Suzanne Kambuts Interview Part1

Suzanne Kambuts Interview Part2

There are some gems in this interview when Suzanne describes how the Lifeline Technique is a powerful method to uncovering self limiting beliefs around money. For some of you it means clearing the way and having the courage to go for that promotion or asking for that pay raise that you so deserve!