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Claire
Parkinson

Diversity is more than my sex and colour.

Rejection is an opportunity disguised as self-pity.
Profile

A single mother at 16 with no qualifications provided an unenviable platform for Claire Parkinson to launch her Vision - to be a successful CEO.

A twist of fate led her to become a Prison Officer in her 20’s. She thrived working in a challenging people environment and she became a Prison Governor by 30.

It wasn’t long before she was promoted to Head of Operations for Prisons and Probation in London. A senior role that included: counter-terrorism, ~9,000 staff and ~33,000 offenders and a four-hour commute to work each day. Outside of work she also had a six month old baby to care for.

Head-hunted to run a prison in South Australia in 2011 Claire migrated to Australia. Shortly after her arrival she became Head of Justice Sector Reform for the State. Her insatiable appetite for change saw her leave the comfort of government for the commercial sector. First stop was for NGO Guide Dogs where a two-day consulting contract turned into running Operations for the organisation. This was the launch pad for her incredible journey of success as an Executive for hire in some of Australia’s most powerful boardrooms.

In her spare time, Claire enjoys gardening, which she squeezes in between her two children and three granddaughters.

Expertise
Talking Points

Seeing the opportunity in life’s NO.

A single mum at 16 with no qualifications, Claire’s career began cleaning a row of 18 urinals at a local factory.

Claire’s inspirational history of debauchery and working in a myriad of male dominated work environments, saw her flaunt her rebellious streak to live up to the low expectations everyone had of her before arriving where everyone predicted she would - in prison.

Only, she landed on the right side of the fence; a naïve young prison officer being assigned as personal officer to globally recognized Moors Murderer , Myra Hindley , on her first day in the job , defying the odds, rising through the system and becoming a respected Governor in prisons both in the UK and ,later, Australia - with a knapsack full of hair-raising tales!

Things seemed to be going well until she was struck down with MS. Claire talks about seeing that, too, as an opportunity and the life defining moment that saw her world flipped on its head with her migration, aged 40, to the other side of the planet.

Claire’s talks about the key to remaining positive in the face of ‘this is your lot, make do with it. ”

A professor of reinvention, Claire is in pole position to discuss why professional prejudice is eroding business growth - underestimate the value of an unconventional life journey to business at your peril - embrace it and you will come to celebrate it!

Diversity in the workplace is more than sex and colour.

Claire’s career began at fourteen - cleaning a row of 18 urinals at a local factory. Whilst the men continued ‘their business’ in her presence, she patiently stood to one side. She wasn’t bothered at all, as the normalization of being treated differently - because she was a girl - had been drummed into her during her formative years.

Claire’s inspirational benefits to boardroom story from debauchery to ASX100 C suite saw her flaunt her rebellious streak to live up to the low expectations everyone had of her - before arriving where everyone predicted she would - in prison. Only, she landed on the right side of the fence; a naïve lone female prison officer working with over 200 males - things got interesting and it wasn’t just the prisoners who thought they’d have a play with the new girl!

Her challenging work life ignited a meteoric rise in her career and she became a Governor of prisons in both the UK and Australia not only proving the naysayers wrong but endorsing her view that EQ is very important and that the world was wrong to give up on her.

Claire is uniquely placed to discuss the importance of flexibility in recruitment. Why turn down a shining star because their star shape doesn’t fit into your round hole? If you find a star recruit them and mold a job around them. This is how you nourish an equilibrium between EQ and IQ to deliver results.

How to deal with ridiculous behaviour positively!

Claire’s career began at fourteen, cleaning a row of 18 urinals at a local factory. Whilst the men continued ‘their business’ in her presence, she patiently stood to one side; not bothered at all.

Claire’s inspirational benefits to boardroom story - from debauchery to C-suite ASX100, saw her flaunt her rebellious streak to live up to the low expectations everyone had of her before arriving where everyone predicted she would - in prison. Only, she landed on the right side of the fence; a naïve lone female prison officer working with over 200 males - things got interesting and it wasn’t just the prisoners who thought they’d have a play with the new girl!

Her challenging work life and the results she achieved, ignited a meteoric rise in her career and she became a Governor of prisons in both the UK and Australia, not only proving the naysayers wrong but endorsing her view that EQ can be enough and that the world was wrong to give up on her.

Claire’s unique journey leads you to understand that it isn’t the responsibility of policy makers to make life fair, it falls to US.

Her likable and humorous insight into self-regulation and survival will provide important clues to putting you firmly back in control.

Topics

Business

  • Mastering Leadership
  • CEO & Company Directors

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

  • Work-Life Balance

Motivational

  • Inspiring Stories
  • Resilience

Politics & Advocacy

  • Reputation
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