BY MECHELLE MOORE | WRITER
I grew up surrounded by men, and hard working men at that. I developed a strong work ethic from a very young age, demonstrated to me daily by my parents. I have two brothers, one is my twin, so growing up into our late teen years we were inseparable.
Naturally I was (maybe still am) a bit of a tom boy. I don’t pretend to be a guy, but I tend to enjoy sports, MMA, beers and hanging out with the boys. I have always felt more comfortable associating with men and appreciate the lack of competition. Maybe it’s due to their less dramatic reactions or easy going natures, although some guys are worse gossips than girls. I did grow up on a farm and orchard, so was always outside finding adventure, which may also have something to do with it too.
I’m not sure why, but over the last 3-4 years this has changed dramatically. I still love hanging out with my mates, but now in all aspects of my life, I am surrounded by women. I have no idea how this happened, but for this, I am finding myself extremely grateful.
For the last 2.5 years I have been the CEO Asia at Global Alms Incorporated, relocating to Thailand full time in 2014. This position has challenged every sense of myself and skill set. In some ways, I have taken to the position naturally and in other aspects of my role, I have tread water so I didn’t drown. Deep learning aside, I love my job and I love every facet of our organistion.
In more ways than one, we have come into some incredible opportunities to help people. We have an extraordinary team who are super willing and dedicated to our work. Strangely enough, our team in Thailand is all made up of women. Sitting on our Board of Directors in Australia, we do have two very dedicated men supporting us, but the rest of the Board and also the organisation is made up of women. Now this may be for a lot of reasons, but whatever the reason, I am thankful.
The women on our team ‘take my breath away’. These women constantly seek self improvement, developing their leadership abilities and skill sets as they go. They train, guide, mentor and support women in communities here, including back in Australia. These women all have a love for people, a genuine heart to empower others and a passion for the elimination of exploitation. I am honoured to have the opportunity to work alongside them.
Through our work here in Thailand, our team keeps crossing paths with women from all walks of life. Some are wealthy, some are uneducated, some are idealistic, some are seeking, some are serving, some are impoverished, some are highly motivated; no matter where they are in life all of these women are truly remarkable. The love, strength and resilience within women, is second to none. Within these communities, it is the women who hold things together; be it families, employment, goals for the future or surviving one day to the next.
It has really made me look back on my life before moving here and I realised that through the years I have always had strong female role models in my life. I may have spent time hanging out with my mates, but it has been the women in my life that have held a solid foundation for me. There have been Family, Teachers, Family Friends, Coaches, Women in Ministry and many more. I think growing up, I definitely took this for granted.
My mother, Deborah Moore, is without fail, the strongest woman I know. My mum has the best work ethic and she always strives to do her best in every aspect of her life. She is an amazing mum, Little Gramps (grandparent), Mother-In-Law, friend and sister to so many people. I love the little things she does to make people feel special. For example, every time I come home to visit there is a special welcome note for me on a heart shaped chalkboard hanging in the house. A birthday is never forgotten and people are constantly celebrated in unique thoughtful ways, just for them.
I learnt how to love through watching my mum. The way she cradles a struggling baby that has just been born. I remember the countless hours she would spend feeding potty lambs and kids that had been abandoned or lost in the paddock by their mothers. I love seeing the way she is with my nieces and nephews (her grandchildren). They all have a special place in her heart and Little Gramps can conquer the world in their eyes. All of my friends, were brought into our family and my mum loved each of them without question. My mum is devout in her faith, always invests in others and can withstand anything life throws at her; coming out the other side with incredible grace and growth. Almost everything I know about women, I learnt from my mum and the example she sets in life.
Another great example and unofficial mentor for me is Gabrielle Costigan, CEO Asia at Linfox. We were both working at Headquarter Joint Operations Command at the time and Gabby was Military Assistant to Chief and Deputy Chief of Joint Operations Command (MA to CJOPS and DCJOPS). Within weeks of starting my new role, my marriage broke down and we separated. My self-esteem was shot and I had been head-hunted for a management position working within the Headquarters that was experimental. This was the time I needed a demonstration of strength in character to follow and I saw that every day in Gabby. I was painfully aware of my inexperience for the position I held, but instead of telling me how useless I was, Gabby invested in me. These were only small things at the time, but they made a remarkable difference in my life.
Gabby’s position was one of the most difficult within the Headquarters and she handled it with grace and ease. Well it certainly looked that way from the outside, but I’m sure at times there were difficult moments. I remember Gabby always encouraging the women around her, including me. On a daily basis, Gabby took the time to invest in those around her, building strength in her team. I will always be grateful for the role model she set for me during that time and that she continues to set for women in leadership.
I have found myself drawing closer to the women in my life and strengthening those relationships. The women in my life love me, challenge me and help me grow. This makes me want to be a better person. I still don’t like drama and I avoid watching ‘chick flicks’ when I can, but I am grateful for the women who have deeply enriched my life. I am constantly learning and I hope that never changes, but my greatest lesson in life to date, is that women are worth your time and investment.