2020 rhymes with “Plenty Plenty” and this is what you have to look forward to from my relationships column to keep you joyously connected this year! Aside from kicking off with this week's inspiring power couple, there will be an abundance of helpful researched based techniques, sometimes crazy and saucy ideas for you to relish in your relationships! I’ll be communicating so many of my copious inventive ideas, you’ll have no excuse to expend your utmost for an outstanding, flourishing and dynamic relationships in 2020!
Whilst I’ve produced a few workbooks, an app and a podcast along the way, I’m thrilled to be releasing my first book and “plenty plenty” more free tools and paid courses on my website this year. Enjoy your 2020 of relationship riches!
First up is my next feature couple in my inspiring trail-blazers series. These couples interviewed stand out particularly for their contributing successful woman, with insights on how they prosper in their career, motherhood, the family life juggle along with the important role of their man in their dynamic partnership. Introducing Amanda and Mark Yeates:
How did you meet and how long have you been married?
Amanda: Going through uni, Mark was a boarding supervisor at Brisbane Boys College and I was a boarding supervisor at The Stuartholme School. A mutual friend who we had both worked with introduced us at a high school dance we were both working at.
Amanda, describe your journey to success in your current role?
I started with Transport and Main Roads in 2011. Eighteen months ago, I was appointed Deputy Director General, Infrastructure and I am responsible for the delivery of the four year, $23 billion Qld Roads and Transport Investment Program. In 2013 we moved the family to the Sunshine Coast when I took up the role of Regional Director North Coast. Whilst my role now has a state-wide context, TMR has strong flexible, agile work practices which have allowed me to remain based on the Sunshine Coast.
Mark: Tell us about your journey to your role, impacting lives as a teacher?
I started teaching in a full time capacity at Boystown in Beaudesert in 1993 worked and lived in under the amazing leadership of Br Bill Firman, who showed me what servant leadership and mentoring is all about. From that day till now I’m still trying every day to get it right. Some days I even get close! Being a educator is a gift, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to influence both individual and community futures. After 30 yrs of learning I have taught many subjects, these days I teach life through filters.
Mark: What are the highs and lows of being the partner of a successful wife in the community?
I think the best way to approach Amanda’s highs and lows is to celebrate what they bring. High’s bring happiness, joy and good times. Low’s bring similar things upon reflection, they bring support, evidence of love through empathy and our family tightens and digs deep to get through the situation. The sharing of good and bad with the people closest to us, ‘our immediate family’ always seems to bring joy.
What ages are your children and what stage has been the most challenging?
We have two girls, Felicity who is 15 and Heidi who is 13.
Amanda: When the kids were babies was when I found it the most challenging. I think I was used to being able to plan and structure everything and then a couple of small humans came along who did not want to work to my plan! Teenage years are upon us now so I am sure we are in for some fun in the near future!
Mark: The day after today!
How do you make it work as a team at home and in your careers in the business and teaching world?
Amanda: Sometimes it is a well-choreographed operation and everything goes to plan. Then there are the other times when we run on complete chaos. Somehow, though, we always seem to get there in the end. We have a lot of other wonderful people in our ‘village’ and sometimes it means calling on grandparents to attend school assembly or an award presentation. The girls attend Immanuel Lutheran College and there is a strong sense of community at the College so we find all the parents help each other out. My parents also live next door so that helps when we are stuck for drop offs and pickups. One particular person who really stands out for me is a wonderful woman called Erica who was studying at USC and who looked after the girls a few afternoons a week after school when they were younger. Erica became an important member of our family and as the girls got older, Erica moved from babysitter to big sister/ mentor. We were very lucky to have her and were sad to see her leave the Coast after she graduated last year but we are thrilled to watch how well she is doing in her career.
Mark and I both have roles that have significant impact within the community and we both take our roles seriously. I think what is critical though is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously- I think that has been the key to achieving balance.
Mark: We do meet on Sunday night to align to planets for the week so both of us are comfortable with what will transpire. However, we also have been blessed by our community to have met several amazing young women to help raise our girls along their journey. All of these young women are now and will be forever part of our girls lives. Lauren, Jess, Erica and Amy helped us raise our wonderful children and to us, we are so very grateful they did, as our girls are our greatest achievement.
Are you satisfied with this current phase of your careers?
Amanda: The exciting part about being the leadership role I play in transport infrastructure is being involved in projects that connect people and support social and economic vibrancy. I feel like I am at a point in my career where I have a significant opportunity to influence outcomes- not just for transport but to balance the right transport outcomes with economic, social and environmental considerations. Being able to positively influence in this way is really rewarding and I am loving the point I am at in my career.
Mark: Yes! In recent years I worked in Gympie at a wonderful school called Victory College. The kids and staff were amazing. They gave me great opportunities to implement programs which really help students learn in the 21st century context. This year I commence a Secondary School role at Caloundra Christian College so I get to teach in the same community where I live.
Do you follow a the more traditional style of partnership or equally share roles and responsibilities at home?
Amanda: I think we have a less traditional partnership. Mark has been extremely supportive of my career over the years and I think we have worked hard to support each other. My work takes me away reasonably regularly so Mark is often the primary carer of our girls. We don’t find it unusual, though I would say we are atypical.
Mark: I think we are both ‘doers’, if it needs to get done and it’s not getting done then we step up, it isn’t any different at home. Although we both often joke, that we are not good at things, in order that the other does it! But deep down we have each other’s backs, we’ve had a hell of a journey with some BIG ups and downs and we are tighter today than we’ve ever been. This is a good thing as our two girls look to manipulate just like any other teenager, so we need to have a story straight.
Do you think Australian society allows flexibility in the workplace for men as much as women to manage family alongside their working woman? Any other comments here?
Amanda: I think workplaces are increasingly understanding the value of diversity- not just gender diversity- demographic, experimental and diverse thinking are critical to high performing in business. I think the value of flexibility is increasingly understood by employees. If you look senior leadership roles across many sectors there is still very low female representation and that is something I hope business and industry continue to pay attention to trying to change.
There is a study by Terrance William Fitzsimmons called ‘Navigating CEO Appointments: Do Australia’s Top Male and Female CEOs Differ in How They Made it to the Top?’. It is a really interesting look at challenging those male/ female social norms in the path to leadership.
Mark: Flexible work is critical to all members of society. The needs of a human are complex and with empathy in the workspace we should be aiming for happy houses, as happy houses make happy workers. Then everyone wins, employers have people who want to work and want to go home to their kids. Here lies our secret, we love hanging with our families and we love our jobs.
Do you find time for self-compassion and if so, what do you do?
Amanda: When the girls were younger, self-compassion was often the first thing to be sacrificed when we were time poor. Now that they are getting older we are increasingly finding time for ourselves. We are incredibly lucky to live where we do and whenever possible we will take a walk to Point Cartwright and watch the ocean.
Who do you rely on as a support network when things get tough?
Amanda: We have a great network of friends here on the Coast. Sometimes we are all so busy we won’t see each other for weeks or months at a time but I know that if I need someone, we have friends around who will be here to support us in a heartbeat. Being part of a village like that is a wonderful privilege. Sometimes you just need to cut yourself a break. You don’t need to be the best employee/ business owner/ mother/ wife/ general ninja woman all of the time.
Do you have an Australia Day tradition and how will you be celebrating this weekend?
Australia Day for us starts with the flag raising and welcome to country at the old Post Office at Buderim. The girls then march with their school, Immanuel College in the Grand Parade.
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, workshop facilitator, guest speaker and weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Don’t miss more on this in her “Is This Love” Podcast and download your FREE Spouse It Up Guide at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.