CEO Lifeline, Carrie Leeson: Compassion Trumps Competition

Carrie Leeson is an accomplished business leader and passionate advocate for health, both physical and mental. In this interview she shares insight in to how charities and businesses can work together for mutual benefit, and for the benefit of the community. There are a number of ways businesses can interact with a community organisation - not all of them financial.

Carrie is an inspiring leader who models humility. Her leadership philosophy is both practical and moving.

We are delighted to have Carrie as Table Host at the Edge of Leadership Un-Conference, 28 March in Canberra.  Come and meet her there, and learn from her business and leadership prowess!

Mentioned in this interview:

LIFELINE CRISIS RESPONSE LINE: 13 11 14

TRANSCRIPT:

Zoë Routh: Hi, it's Zoë Routh and I'm thrilled to bring you Carrie Leeson, the CEO of Lifeline today on the podcast. You're going to learn heaps from her about compassion and leadership and business, so let's get into it.

Announcer: Welcome to the Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast, your source of strategies and insights, to make you a better leader. Influence, improve, inspire.

Zoë Routh: Hi, this is Zoë Routh and I'm here today with the amazing Carrie Leeson who is the CEO of Lifeline Canberra. I've known Carrie for the last couple years, we met at a Menslink breakfast, of all things, and hit it off, and I've done some work with Lifeline since. I'm extremely excited to have her as a table host at the upcoming un-conference, Edge of Leadership in March in Canberra, because she has a lot to share about compassion, as well as business, and the great function that Lifeline provides in the community.

A little bit of background about Carrie. Before she was CEO of Lifeline, she was previously a board member of the organisation, so a strong commitment to Lifeline itself. She was executive director at HAPIA, which is the Health and Productivity Institute, was the chair of the advisory council at Workplace Health Association, was on the advisory Council for Aspen Medical, and she was a finalist for the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in 2010.

You started off as a fitness instructor. I saw that on your LinkedIn profile. Health has obviously been a huge part of your background. Tell me, first of all ... Fitness instructing. Did you actually get up in front of classes and teach fitness classes?

Carrie Leeson: Yes, I did. I did. I'm not particularly coordinated, but it was something that I was passionate about. I think it was a New Year's resolution to challenge myself, and it was something I could fit in and around my degree and my studies, at that time of my life. It fitted in really well. I obviously had a passion for health, and that's reflected through my career, with my business, which I owned and sold, and throughout the roles you've just described. I think healthy body, healthy mind. I don't know which one comes first. I think if you focus on those, look after yourself, you're in good state for what life has to throw at us.

Zoë Routh: I agree with that. I think ... Which one comes first: healthy body, healthy mind. I think they're so interrelated. I think it helps if you get some exercise. It helps to generate some endorphins and then you can get yourself reset.

I should also ask you, "What's your funny accent," I’m Canadian In Australia - I have got my own funny accent. Where's your accent from?

Carrie Leeson: I'm from South Africa. I moved to Australia 15 years ago. I am English-speaking South African, so I don't have the strong Afrikaans twang. It makes it hard to decipher where I'm from.

Zoë Routh: Yeah, I guess it is not quite a twang. How did you end up moving to Australia from South Africa?

Carrie Leeson: I moved here for work on a two-year visa and I moved straight to Canberra. I'm from a big city, Durban, in South Africa, over four and a half million people. I thought, this is a country town. I won't be here very long. I'm gonna be a big city. I'll be heading up there in two years time, as soon as I can. Of course, 15 years later, I'm one of the common stories. You come to Canberra; you fall in love with Canberra; and you stay in Canberra. It's home for me now. I've gone from working in a business to running that business to selling that business, and then on to Lifeline.

It's been a wonderful 15 years. Australia has been amazing to me. I've met incredible people, and absolutely love it here. Love going back to Africa, too, so I'm there a couple of times a year. My entire family are still there.

Zoë Routh: Wow.

Carrie Leeson: It's interesting. I'm very, very grateful for the technology we have, so I can keep in touch with the people that I'm closest to.

Zoë Routh: Yeah. Do those Skype calls.

Carrie Leeson: Every day, yep.

Zoë Routh: Every day, wow.

Carrie Leeson: Every day. I talk to my mum every day.

Zoë Routh: That's amazing. Wow, I certainly don't talk to my mom every day, though I did talk to her this morning.

Carrie Leeson: Good.

Zoë Routh: Tell me about Lifeline. You had a big journey, from running your own business - which business was it?

Carrie Leeson: Health Futures.

Zoë Routh: Health Futures, that's right. During the same time, you were on the Aspen Medical Advisory Council.

Carrie Leeson: Yes. Aspen Medical purchased my business, and we signed the contract on the day I gave birth to my eldest son.

Zoë Routh: Good Lord.

Carrie Leeson: I didn't realise I was in labor, but I was. It was right down to the line. I took a few months off with my little guy, and then I went into Aspen Medical as their business development manager to help grow that business and settle it in. When it was well entrenched, it was time for me to look at doing something else, and obviously, being a volunteer on the phones at Lifeline, being on the board of directors, being incredibly passionate, the only thing distracting me from Lifeline was my paid employment at that time. When the role of CEO came up, I jumped at it, and I've been so blessed to land the role and be in the role for the last two years.

Zoë Routh: What was it about Lifeline that really drew you there?

Carrie Leeson: What I came to realise with Health Futures ... Because we were a corporate health company, we were addressing physical health issues: diabetes prevention, heart disease, coronary risk. We were looking at liver function, flexibility. One thing we looked at and touched on in all of our health appraisals, and there were 40,000 odd done a year across the globe, we looked at stress. We touched on it, and what I realised, having started in the business as a consultant, was the fact that unless someone's stress levels are under control and unless someone actually feels less stressed or not stressed, it's very hard to overcome physical barriers to change.

When you would approach someone to say, "Have you thought about including brown rice in your meals?" for example. "Have you thought about joining the gym? Have you thought about ..." If the individual has a lot going on in their mind, there's very little chancethey are able to make structured, ongoing, sustainable changes to their routine. I realised that the mind is something that if you got the mind right, the body would follow.

I studied psychology. My degree is in psychology. I never had the intention of practicing psychology. I just loved the mind-body connection and how the mind works. I love people. I find them interesting, intriguing. I'm curious.  Coming to Lifeline was a natural next step for me because I realised at the same time ... Going through crises in my own life, watching people I loved go through crises ... Wondering what I could do to upskill myself to help.

I started off as a volunteer for that reason, to try and learn the skills. The best organisation to go to for that is Lifeline. I started at the top, went to Lifeline training, and landed up on the phones, and that was such a privilege to be a part of that process, too. That's how I landed up where I am now.

Zoë Routh: That's an amazing journey. I love how ... The question of how do we actually get people to take action to fix their physical self, and this idea that stress gets in the way is actually really huge.

I spent some time with a friend of mine in Calgary and she was telling me - she’s a teacher. Her boss had an initiative, "Oh, let's have a wellness focus." She was kind of dissing it a little bit, and I thought, "What was behind that?"

She goes, "Well he set up all these programs. We'd have, on Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock, go and have a wellness gathering with all the teachers, and we'd do healthy recipes," and she goes, "He just doesn't get it. Four o'clock on a Friday after a huge week, you're absolutely not interested at all.”

She goes, "How about you give us less work to do, stop piling things on top of us. Then we might be able to have a crack at doing some wellness activities, instead of here's yet another project to put on top of things."

Carrie Leeson: Yeah.

Zoë Routh: Stress management and lifestyle management is pretty huge.

Carrie Leeson: It's consistency, so you can often throw in little programs here and there, but unless you genuinely ... From a managerial level in a business, anyway, unless that's your genuine ethos and that's how you operate and you have a genuine love of people and wanting to leave them better than you found them, those programs are not going to work, because people need support, outside of that, to build their own routines. It's difficult. It's not easy. It's distressing to hear those stories, because it does give those health and wellbeing programs in those organisations a bit of a stigma to deal with, but, on the whole, I think if organisations and individuals are focused on that, everything else will flow from that, I think.

Zoë Routh: I think so, too. I think individuals in organisations have to get out of tunnel vision that "We need a wellness program," rather than thinking holistically about all the systems in place in their organisation, which actually contribute to the problem and to think holistically about how they can shift not only the individual, but the structures around them.

For those who are not familiar with the work of Lifeline, what does Lifeline actually do in the community?

Carrie Leeson: Lifeline are a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week crisis support service. The most prominent service we are known for is our suicide intervention, which is the 13 11 14 number. Often people are encouraged to phone when they hear a distressing story on the news or they come across something distressing or they, in their own lives, are feeling distressed.

What we tend to deal with at Lifeline is a great deal more than that. We have what we would categorise as three types of callers. We've got mental health, we have crisis, and we have safety.

In the mental health space, often if individuals are struggling with anxiety or a diagnosed condition. They're on medications, for example. For a number of reasons, they might need to ring Lifeline to receive some assistance in a time when perhaps they're having an anxiety attack, or they've taken their medication late and they need some assistance until that medication starts to have an effect. We're there for them.

Also, crisis ... That's everything and anything that life can throw at you, from financial distress to relationship breakdowns to isolation, addiction. Those are the main reasons why people would call in crisis but, of course, we always believe that the caller's crisis is their crisis. You might not necessarily feel, in a day to day ... For example, we've had callers who might ring up and say, "I've got too much money in the bank," and for a variety of very good reasons, that does create a crisis for them. For most people, they'd say, "What a wonderful problem." We don't judge. It's your crisis, and we're there to support you through it.

On the safety end, that's the pointy end of what we do, and that's everything from domestic violence to child safety to suicide intervention. In the safety space, we do a lot of intervention with emergency services. We get many, many calls from individuals in domestic violence situations. That's something that is spoken about a lot more openly in the media, and it's just important to use to reach out to individuals and say, "Look we are here." Whether you're trying to identify with whether you're in a domestic violence situation or not ... Some individuals will ring up and say, "I'm not sure." They'll talk through it with us, and they're not sure. They don't know how to identify the signs.

We're there for everyone, in every instance, every day, all day. That's what Lifeline does.

Zoë Routh: Yeah, that's pretty extraordinary really.

Carrie Leeson: It's incredible, and it's all done on the back of volunteers. In Canberra, we've got 750 volunteers across our various programs, 320 highly skilled, highly trained individuals sitting on the phones, and they're there not knowing when they pick up that phone what type of call they're going to get, what the individual is struggling with. They have no idea what they're approach will be but, by the time they've heard the first couple of sentences, they know exactly what to do, and they're there, and it's an incredible service.

The individuals here on my team, a very small team here at Lifeline, around 12 full-time equivalent ... I work with those volunteers to support them through, so there's a very, very extensive, comprehensive supervision process that we use to support to make sure that our volunteers are left better than we found them, as well.

Zoë Routh: Yeah, because you can get vicarious trauma through listening and supporting people through their own trauma.

Carrie Leeson: Absolutely. We see it all the time with our first responders, ambulance, police. PTS is a major issue for so many people because they are confronted with trauma in their day-to-day roles, trying to do great things for the community, and potentially don't have the self-care mechanisms or tools in place. They don't have the corporate support, the business or the community support to help shake those traumas or to help work through them.

Zoë Routh: Speaking of business involvement in Lifeline, it's obviously a vital and important service that gets a lot of calls every day and every year in the community. How does Lifeline actually survive and exist as a business entity.

Carrie Leeson: We rely heavily on sponsorship and support, and we've also, in the last few years really focused on our commercial operations, so creating sustainable revenue streams for ourselves, but whilst we do that, we rely very heavily on organisations, and their support, and sponsors. That doesn't need to be financial. Looking at organisations who are considering a social contribution, something I'm looking forward to hearing about more at the conference, there are a number of ways that organisations can help. Individuals, I think, often have a passion for a certain cause, and it's focusing on what you can do for that cause. It might not be a financial contribution, but rather your time, volunteering to do something for that organisation to lift the burden on, potentially, their administration or their events. It can be lending your skillset.

We have engagement from a number of incredible organisations, who might have legal expertise or financial expertise, and we know they're only a phone call away and always very happy to help. Those are the types of things organisations can always do to help. We can't afford, often, to pay for a lot of our services, because we only get 4% government funding, so we have to fundraise the remainder. One that's important to state is just to again reiterate how incredible the support here in Canberra is. What we can give back is our brand.

The Lifeline brand is a very well-known, well-trusted brand. If we can leverage off that brand for organisations and show them the benefit of engaging with charities, because there is a very real return on that investment, in so far as there is a lot of goodwill generated, we can create a lot of exposure. Canberrans will support organisations who are supporting Canberrans. People like to see the money stay in Canberra and the support stay in Canberra, so there are so many reasons why charities and businesses should be working more closely together.

Zoë Routh: Absolutely, and I think it's something people are kind of shy about talking about, that there is a return on investment in supporting charity, when the idea is, Don't you just do that out of goodwill?" It's like, "Yeah, you do it because you care." What's important actually is that it's a win-win.

I read this fabulous book. I've been talking about it on the podcast a couple of times. It's by Adam Grant. It's called "Give and Take." Have you read that one?

Carrie Leeson: No. I will now.

Zoë Routh: It's really awesome. He talks about people who give and people who take, and he said there's three types of people. There's givers, people who give generously of time, advice, money, resources, etc. There's takers, those who are very happy to take it and are very self-oriented. Then he said there's matchers, people who give and take in return, so they have a really strong fairness mindset.

His research shows that the people who are most successful are givers, and the people who are least successful are also givers. It's like, how does that work out? Why are the most successful people givers and the least successful also the same type of givers? He said there's a key difference between the ones who are successful and the ones who are unsuccessful. (Trouble with my words today.)

He said the givers who are successful have really strong, compassionate, giving ethos and that does not negate their own personal ambition. They're personally very ambitious for themselves, and they also are very ambitious for the people they contribute to, so it's not like you have to give and be completely selfless.

The martyr thing is not in existence for these people who give at that level, so when we come to talking about business being contributors, there's absolutely, in my mind, nothing wrong with a business being ambitious for the charity or charities that they support, as well as ambitious for themselves, because it becomes a virtuous cycle. Being able to be successful in business means a business can support more of the community, and so, the community, seeing that, will likely support that business, because it's a synergistic solution.

Carrie Leeson: Absolutely, absolutely. I wholly agree with that, and I think what's being borne out of that is a social impact or social investing top themes that we are seeing with organisations, and justifiably we've been labeled, we are, a not for profit, and I don't know how to run a not for profit. I don't know what that means, because I don't think ... What I read into that is that we all have sustainability issues. I think you have to be for profit. You have to run like a business. You have to generate a profit. I think not for profit has conditioned our industry into that hand-to-mouth existence, and I think some supporters, justifiably, are fatigued with pouring money into what is seemingly a black hole, into administration, into back-end services, into tea and coffee or whatever it might be for the organisation. They want to see that money that they're donating now produce more money, so teach a man to fish rather than give a man a fish.

I think that's a very sensible way of approaching it. It's a very sustainable way. It's going to be quite painful for organisations like ours to respond to that, to become more sustainable, but that allows us to plan ahead. It allows us to look ahead, to structure our programs, to alter our programs to suit the current need. We can respond more readily. There are some new benefits to that, so I think we can learn a lot from business. We are charities, absolutely, but there's no reason why we shouldn't be running like a business.

Zoë Routh: I think you pointed out a really important trend or reality, I guess, for not for profits, charities, institutions. I worked for not for profits for 30 years, so I understand what that's like, when you've got nothing in the cupboard, to try and produce all these great programs. The reality is that charities are business, and they've got to operate like one. They've got similar rules, if not the same rules, in terms of appealing to their stakeholders, and providing a service, and to make ends meet, and to pay staff, etc.

I saw this really amazing TED talk. I will send you a link, and I'll also put it on the show notes page for folks, and the show notes page will be at zoerouth.com. Look under freebies for the podcast tab then just, in the search bar, look for Lifeline, and then the interview will be there. Because we're shifting things around a little bit on the website, I don't have the exact link, but just search for Lifeline; it'll come up.

In any case, this TED talk is by an American dude, who's a marketer in the U.S., and he markets specifically for charitable causes. He has this great TED talk, saying, "The way that we've thought about charities is actually hindering their ability to be successful," and he said ... Because when the whole charity notion ... This is in the U.S. ... Came out of pilgrims going to America and they wanted to have a better life for religious freedom, and also to be financially successful. However, they're religious belief was, "Well, it's bad to be prosperous," and so, in order to be able to do good in the community, set up this whole idea of charity. It's got a long history in England and so on, that if you're gonna do good in the community, rely on donations, and it kind of perpetuates this idea that money is bad in charities.

I've seen this throughout my entire career in those kinds of organisations where we had a strong poverty mindset, and it really is hindering. In the TED talk the guy gives a big case study about how he worked for one charity, had a massive marketing campaign because, he said, charities compete for attention. They compete against businesses for attention, and that's what charities need. They need to broadcast what they do, share what they do, so they can invite contributors and sponsors, etc., and be successful through ... Whether it's their commercial enterprises or whether it's through donations, etc. They need that attention. Therefore, they need a marketing budget.

Yet, there's this ethos saying, if you look at a charities accounts, "Why do you spend so much in marketing? That should've been going to services. Why are you spending so much on salaries?" He said, "That's just backwards." The best charities need the best workers, and if you deny them paying the staff properly, then they can't do their work properly. Likewise, if you don't give them the chance to be competitive on the world stage or their local stage ... Anyway, we need to change our minds about what is a charity.

Carrie Leeson: We do, and definitely here in Sydney and Canberra. I had a journalist at this very desk last week, saying, "You've had two years of profits. What's up?" It was a very interesting conversation, but it sparked a very meaningful conversation, I guess, around what you've just defined. That's given me a lot more insight into why that's the case. It's definitely the mindset, and it's something that needs to change. I think businesses want to see the change, and that's why we ... Sharing information between charities and business is something that is all too often ignored or not facilitated, so again, I'm looking forward to coming to your un-conference, because that's an opportunity, again, to get in front of some businesses and to learn.

Zoë Routh: Absolutely, yeah. To learn from each other and to learn how to do service better, really, because every business, whether not for profit or for profit, is in the business of serving others. I got on my high horse about that, because I'm still frustrated by that. I see good people leave charities and organisations, who would've stayed had they been more financially rewarded or recognised or had better conditions, and it's trying to do your work with one arm tied behind your back, you know?

Carrie Leeson: Yeah.

Zoë Routh: It's just frustrating. Off that high horse and on to the businesses that engage with Lifeline. You mentioned some volunteer, some give sponsorship, etc. How do businesses in Canberra like to engage with Lifeline?

Carrie Leeson: Across the spectrum. A couple of the examples I gave ... We've got some organisations, who will give us a donation, and they don't wish to have any recognition for it. They actually wish to remain anonymous. Although their known to us and greatly appreciated, it's not something that the greater community shares, that information. From that end of the spectrum right through to individuals donating funds in return for a promotion through our networks or recognition through our networks at various events. What I found quite exciting was, initially when I arrived, we had two or three events in a year. We've grown that out to almost eight or nine standing events, major events. What I've been able to do there is speak to businesses and say, "Look, what's the best way for you to get your brand out there." Because we create the event, people will come. It's a benefit for us, because we are able to engage the community at a time when individuals are having fun potentially. Let's take the Fun Run for example.

I always say to people, "Find your GP, find your doctor, when you're healthy." The last thing you want to do when you're unwell is to be running around town, trying to find someone to give you a diagnosis, someone you trust, someone you can rely on, someone you can be open and honest with. We want to be out there creating that relationship with individuals when they are seemingly happy and healthy, so that, when they walk away, if something happens--certainly life does happen; we are all vulnerable at some point--Lifeline comes to mind. They know us. They've met us. We're not the scary beast. They know what we're about. They know that we're there for them. Whatever the problem might be, they can pick up the phone.

It's beneficial for us to get out there. We can fundraise at the same time, always fundraise, and, for the organisation or the business supporting that or sponsoring that, their brand goes along with that, so individuals again can see, "Wow, here's an organisation doing wonderful things. I'm going to go to them first when I'm looking for a vehicle, whether it be I'm looking for a service to clean my home or I'm looking for a restaurant or I'm looking for a patron." They'll be more inclined to use those services because they can see them doing good things. Again, we've got networks that we can leverage off and send that information out. It's very exciting. You can innovate, and I'm finding that businesses and charities, or certainly Lifeline, are having a very good response from that.

Then we move on to, in kind, time donations. We've got individuals and organisations that have skillsets, but not necessarily funding, and they say to us, "Right, we'll come in for a day and we'll do an impact day. We'll come in and facilitate a strategy session," or "We'll come in and assist you with your financial spreadsheets." Whatever it might be. They come in and clean that up for us. They use their expertise in IT, and they'll come in and assist us with our new server install, something like that.

We've got a very exciting project happening, which is top secret over in the phone rooms, and there's a couple of organisations who've been trying to engage, not financially because they don't have the capacity to do that, but now they've got a skillset that we need, and they can come in and help us with that. That'll all be revealed probably in the next month or so.

Any and every engagement we want to work with. It's just a case of making it meaningful for both parties. Sometimes it isn't a good fit. Sometimes we'll have organisations come in and say, "Look, we've got 20 lawnmowers we can give you." In that instance, potentially that's not an example that we've had, but sometimes you will have to say, "Look, how can we work this for you? If it doesn't work for you, can we work it for us? How are we gonna get this through?" Sometimes we have to let it go. It's not always gonna work, but we're determined to try and find a way to work it. I think having these conversations is great to get those ideas, and just learning.

Zoë Routh: Yeah, that's right.

Carrie Leeson: Yeah.

Zoë Routh: I think that it's amazing that you're thinking so entrepreneurially or innovatively about how to engage and support business. I think it's a beautiful, compassionate way to think about businesses, and then it's like, "How can we help you and how can you help us? How can we make a better, bigger difference in the community?" I think, underlying all that is this idea that compassion rules in business, as opposed to competition. It occurs to me that the most successful businesses probably are built on compassion first and have a competitive spirit, but it's not a survival spirit. It's not a me versus the rest of the world kind of thing. It's competitive in order to grow and contribute.

I'm curious about your ideas around leadership. You've been in a number of different leadership positions, from running your own business to being on advisory councils to being a chair to now being CEO of Lifeline. Do you have a particular philosophy or motivation in your leadership?

Carrie Leeson: I do, in life, and I think it flows over, and the reason for that is I think we spend half our waking life at work.

Zoë Routh: Is it only half?

Carrie Leeson: No, I'm being generous there. I know it's more for most of us. My philosophy and my goal is to leave everyone I meet better than I find them. That doesn't mean in an enormously measurable way. It can sometimes be imparting a smile or grabbing a coffee. You know, it doesn't need to be life changing, but that's the goal I've set myself, and that's what I am adamant about doing at work. I also have a very honest, open communication management style that tends to place you in conversations, tough conversations, awkward conversations, but I'm prepared to have those, I think, because I value honesty and consistency, and I value people. With that underlying goal of making sure that, whatever the interaction is, that individual is in some way better than I found him, that's how I approach my leadership of this organisation and previous organisations.

I'm still learning, so again, looking forward always to interacting with people. I always follow and try and engage with inspirational individuals, because it is an ongoing learning process. You can sometimes over-correct in any one capacity, in any one situation, and it's about learning from that and moving forward. That's my leadership style: honesty first, open communication, and people. You have to have a love of people, and I think I'm very fortunate to have that.

I thoroughly enjoy working here. I thoroughly enjoy working with any group of people, really. You've got so many different personalities in any one organisation, and absolutely some are tough and challenging. It's about knowing where the boundaries are with those individuals, but, for the most part, people respond to people. People all want to be valued. There's a key set of traits that you can leverage off or start with. You're certainly not going to get along with everyone, but you can always agree to disagree, as long as there's a productive workplace, and I think every workplace, as well, is so different.

I've come from high-end commercial where, as you say, it's about profits. It's about productivity. You can still create an environment that is somewhat productive, based on that organisation's objectives. Coming into Lifeline Canberra, a different type of value creation here. You've got to look at your own ecosystem and make sure you've got the right amounts of everything to have it working. That's an ongoing process. I think we're always learning.

The moment you add a new person to the team ... We've got three new starters this week; so excited we've adopted three new family members. We'll look at how they fit in and how we encompass and embrace them and how we facilitate their development onto bigger and better things. I try not to hang onto anyone if they are better off moving on. You want people to progress. You want them to be in a better place or where they want to be, and that's the first thing about having the right bums in the right seats within your organisation. Sometimes you have to pay for that, as you were saying earlier. You've got to invest in good people. It's a wonderful role to be in, when you are in a privileged leadership position, but I'm always learning.

Zoë Routh: That's fantastic. I think you could add humility to your list of attributes, in terms of your leadership qualities, I think.

Carrie Leeson: Oh.

Zoë Routh: You're very inspiring yourself. A couple key things that I took away from you is: people first, compassion, honesty, connection, and to be always learning and growing. I think that's probably a wonderful way to finish off the interview today. I'm so excited that you're coming along as a table host to our event on the 28th of March.

Carrie Leeson: Yes, thrilled to be there. Yep, I am.

Zoë Routh: People are gonna be spoiled to spend some time with you, as well. I look forward to seeing you there and seeing what comes out of the conference. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast today.

Carrie Leeson: Yeah, thank you for having me. Good to see you.