As part of International Women’s Day 2023, Heidi Fourie spoke about her role in delivering complex training services, her journey to self-empowerment, and what #EmbraceEquity means for her.
Heidi Fourie is Babcock Australasia’s National Training Manager, based in Adelaide, South Australia.
Tell us about your role as Program Manager – Training?
My role encompasses responsibility and accountability for multiple training domains with varying levels of complexity. This includes:
- Planning and implementing key strategies to support the analysis, development, and delivery of training solutions for Babcock’s Defence programs; and
- Managing Babcock’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to ensure nationally accredited learning outcomes are delivered according to the Australian vocational education standard.
I cannot achieve this without the amazing team I have to support me.
Did you receive any support as a young girl or woman that was invaluable to your career or your career choice?
My mum has always been my biggest fan, and her encouragement and support of my career choices, even when she may not have agreed with them, had a profound impact on the growth of my self-confidence and trust in my own abilities. As a survivor of extreme high school bullying myself, the most powerful trait she taught me was the ability to overcome adversity by pushing my boundaries beyond the present circumstance and focusing purely on the end state by continually asking myself “Is this where I can be, should be, or want to be?” If the answer was “No”, then she encouraged me to consider the strategies I could adopt and action in order to change that answer to “Yes” and pursue the opportunities that I set out to achieve. The strength and tenacity that this mindset manifested in my life has brought me as far as I am today and will continue to take me further.
During your career who or what have you found particularly inspiring and why?
Reflecting now on the theme and values of #EmbraceEquity, my first Commanding Officer in the military was truly an advocate of equity in the workplace and demonstrated these values in their entirety. He recognised our unique potential, without gender or any other bias, and did all he could to support and develop each one of us within our independent circumstances and boundaries. He provided me with endless support and advice throughout my career and challenged me at every turn to pursue opportunities beyond what I believed I was capable of and, in doing so, inspired me to achieve somewhat of an unconventional, but highly successful, military career.
Looking back on your career, is there any advice you would give your younger self?
I believe the core advice I would give my younger self is this:
- Travel more, doubt yourself less, and pursue opportunities that come your way, whether you feel ready for them or not! Step as far as you can outside your comfort zone and grow as you go.
- Believe in the sincerity of others when they tell you that you are good at what you do. Humility is as much a virtue as it is a vice, so acknowledge that others see potential in you that you cannot, and challenge yourself by pushing those “comfort” boundaries just a little further each time.
I have been privileged to work with some exceptional mentors and leaders throughout my career. Their support and encouragement gave me the confidence to step outside my comfort zone and develop a somewhat remarkable and diverse career.
What does #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
To me, there is a significant difference between equality (providing everyone, regardless of circumstance, access to the same opportunities or resources) and equity (recognising that everyone’s circumstances are unique and providing the specific opportunities and resources to each individual in order to achieve a common goal).
#EmbraceEquity is more than just an inclusive workplace for me and really drives home the importance of recognising that we all have unique and diverse experiences and are at different levels of “completeness” in our careers. #EmbraceEquity for me is being in a position to support others to achieve individual and combined success, by providing them, as far as possible, with the tools and resources they need to do so.