Kasia Gospos wears many hats. She’s the founder of Leaders in Heels, an online magazine that supports creating female leaders. She works as a Finance Business Partner for Vocus Communications and is the creative brain behind MAKE YOUR MARK Stationery, which is an inspirational stationery line for women.
I met Kasia many years ago when she was looking for an Editor for Leaders in Heels. I enjoyed working on the magazine and learnt a tremendous amount from her about empowering and nurturing women.
Born in Poland, Kasia came to Australia in 2008 because she was seeking to make a change. We recently sat down to chat about her journey and how her life changed after Leaders in Heels.
Take it away Kasia!
Q. What’s your background and why did you choose Australia?
I’m originally from Poland. I was working for a global company as a management accountant when I decided it was time for me to make a change and experience something new. I sent an email to HR in Germany, asking if there were any opportunities in the company globally. Australia was offered to me as an option. So, I decided to take a risk to come and work in Australia.
Q. What did you know about the country before you came out?
Not much. I imagined Australia was a little bit from the talks I had been to and heard. I actually thought there would be like kangaroos and koalas on the streets! I just knew it would be completely different from Poland.
Q. Do you remember your first experiences? Can you share them with us?
On my first day at work, there was a lady showing me around the office and introducing me to the different staff. I could hardly understand what she was saying because she had a thick Australian accent. Although we were talking in English, I still couldn’t make out what she was telling me!
We were both wearing coats and she had something on it that I initially thought was a brooch until it started moving around on her chest. It turned out to be a huntsman spider! When I saw that huge spider, I started screaming I was so horrified. The CEO ran into the kitchen with a newspaper and tried to kill the spider and I thought to myself shocked, “Oh my God, is this what Australia’s going to be like?”
Q. Can you tell me about Leaders in Heels? What inspired you to start it?
While I was working in the office, I was also observing all the other women. One day a colleague came up to me and told me how disappointed she was that she didn’t get an internal job and the applicant was recruited externally. During the discussion, she told me she had never told our boss that she was actually interested in the role! That was shocking to me. Because I had always been of the mindset that if you wanted something, you should always ask.
Instead, my colleague had worked hard and thought she would be rewarded. But that didn’t happen.
My colleague missed an opportunity to get her dream job all because she never told the boss she was interested. I found out it was a common problem faced by many women. They were not comfortable coming right out and saying they wanted something. That inspired me to start sharing the successes of women through an online magazine that I called Leaders in Heels. It started life as a blog and then evolved into a magazine.
Q. What are some of your biggest achievements to date?
The first was making the decision to move and work in a country that I knew nothing about! And it all started with my decision to send that one email to HR. It was a huge risk that paid off in the long term.
My second achievement is running my own business and adding a stationery line to it that has been received so positively by my audience.
Q. What’s your most favourite memory of living in Australia?
It’s hard to actually choose one memory, because Australia is now such a big part of my life. This is where I found my husband (the love of my life), got married and where I had my first child. All those big milestones in my life happened in Australia.
Q. You design stationery for women leaders. How did you get the idea?
I designed a manifesto for Leaders in Heels and it was always about promoting leadership traits. I was always thinking about how we could develop those traits. And I thought stationery is something that women are already using every single day. Plus I love beautiful stationery and have always been a big user of diaries and planners.
For my products, I thought of including some inspirational messages, quotes, and drawings that would challenge them every single day so those leadership traits became a habit, and ingrained in their thinking. That’s how MAKE YOUR MARK stationery line was born.
My biggest learning has been that there’s so much else that goes into designing stationery. I’ve spent most of my time on finding suppliers, customers, organising and shipping orders and perhaps just 5 per cent of time actually designing the products!
Be open to different cultures and how they communicate. Adapt your style accordingly. Be open and sensitive to people’s differences.
Q. What would be your three tips for other migrants?
My most important tip is to try to be open to building new friendships and new relationships.
My second tip is to build those networks by signing up for different classes and activities so you can get out and meet different people.
My third tip is to be open to different cultures and how they communicate. Adapt your style accordingly. Be open and sensitive to people’s differences.
Visit Leaders in Heels website for more information on how you can buy Kasia’s beautiful stationery, MAKE YOUR MARK. Follow Leaders in Heels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily career and business inspiration.