Monday, November 20, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Michelle Redfern

This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Michelle Redfern.

Michelle Redfern is a globally recognised gender equality, diversity, and inclusion strategist based in Australia. She advises organisations in the business and sporting sectors on DEI strategy development and implementation and works directly with women leaders to advance their careers. She has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence and has won awards for her contributions to women’s advancement. She is passionate about what sets her soul on fire, closing the global leadership gender gap, and enabling women to have a career that soars!

QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
MICHELLE REDFERN: I highly recommend reading NO CEILING NO WALLS by Susan Colantuono. This book has greatly influenced my leadership approach and how I teach others, especially women. It provides a valuable guide how to effectively lead, emphasizing the importance of developing critical business skills and building a reputation for them. As an ambitious woman in my career, this book has shown me that I am not alone.

Another great read is LEAN IN by Sheryl Sandberg. Although it may not be as popular today, I found it to be a powerful call to action for women leaders. It helped me gain clarity about my career goals and intentions.

Lastly, STOP FIXING WOMEN: WHY BUILDING FAIRER WORKPLACES IS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS by Catherine Fox challenges the notion that women need fixing. Instead, it highlights how the workplace system is broken and unfair for women. This book gave me a better understanding of how to create positive change in both the workplace and society for women.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
MICHELLE REDFERN: I'm sorry, but as a passionate and enthusiastic reader, I cannot provide a definitive answer. However, I can share some of my favourite authors.

For non-fiction, I am deeply inspired by accomplished female business leaders. I seek to learn from their experiences and promote gender equality by incorporating their stories into my work on advancing women.

As for fiction, although I enjoy reading anything by Ken Follet, I also appreciate works by women authors who specialize in political, spy, and crime thrillers. These genres are always a reliable choice for me.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?

MICHELLE REDFERN: I have an unconventional answer when it comes to my favorite book. When I was younger, I found LUCKY by Jackie Collins in my parent's reading pile and decided to give it a try. Despite the mature content, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself looking up to the main character, Lucky Santangelo. She was confident, powerful, and unapologetically herself. This is also why I have a deep love for New York City. It has been my dream destination since childhood, despite growing up in regional Western Australia. I try to visit the city as often as possible, as it holds a special place in my heart.

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?
MICHELLE REDFERN: I sure do. I average a fiction book a week. It’s a great way to give my brain a break and to spark my imagination and creativity.
Fiction also helps me to unwind and decompress from the fairly heavy non-fiction reading I do every day.

I have just completed HOMECOMING by Kate Morton. I picked it up at the airport ahead of a trip and was mesmerised by it. So much so that I have just ordered another four of her books.

SHARE THIS: I average a fiction book a week. It’s a great way to give my brain a break and to spark my imagination and creativity. ~@RedfernMichelle #Reading #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
MICHELLE REDFERN: I have a name in mind for an organization that would bring together book lovers: Bookworms Unite.

Reading was encouraged and nurtured during my childhood, earning me the loving nickname of "bookworm" from my parents. Despite being different from my peers, who didn't share my passion for reading, I always found comfort in books and the stories they contained. I believe that Bookworms Unite would be a great way to create a supportive and like-minded community where the love of reading can be fostered.

My gratitude to Michelle for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing her inspiring recommendations!

Image Credit: JR Korpa.

Connect with Michelle at these links:

Check out Michelle's previous appearances here on this Blog:

Start Listening to Women = Removal of Barriers for Women Leaders (June 2023)

Tips to Create Gender Equality in Your Workplace (March 2022)

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