Consultant and vice-president of the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce, Karen Court has adopted a "servant leadership" style and tells BRIAN OLIVER how she juggles the demands of being a mother, business owner and her Chamber duties.
Q: What’s the most important moment in your career so far?
A: Making the leap from the security of full-time paid employment to being a sole trader. This has been closely followed by the involvement with the start-up of a new company this year, Business First WA systems for ensuring business sustainability and security.
Q: What’s the best advice you were ever given?
A: To always pay attention and to listen to what is going on around me. To take the time to learn and understand every role in the organisation.
Q: What does leadership mean to you?
A: When undertaking leadership and management studies, I came across the theory of “servant leadership” — sharing of power, putting the needs of others first to help other people to develop and grow to their full potential.
Q: How has your leadership style changed over time?
A: Becoming a mother has meant viewing the world in a much less selfish way as I guide my daughter Tara’s development. My professional work requires constant use of leadership techniques for my clients and their organisations.
Q: Tell me the biggest business challenge you’ve ever faced.
A: Combining the demands of running a business, motherhood, being a wife and still finding time for myself.
Q: Which business leader do you most admire?
A: I admire all business owners who have the courage to start a small business and work hard to grow and develop their dream.
Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
A: What would have been of great value was someone to teach me how to be strong to those who didn’t think I would or could succeed.
Q: Which technology can you not live without?
A: Without a doubt, my iPhone and iPad.
Q: What are your interests outside of business?
A: I am very interested in the production of WA wines.
Q: How do you like to relax?
A: Rockingham is such a beautiful area, just sitting on the beach looking out to sea and spending time with my husband Nigel, and daughter.
Q: What do you hope Rockingham will be like in five years’ time?
A: I hope it will prosper and as growth occurs local unemployment rates will decrease.
Q: What would you do to improve Rockingham?
A: In the Rockingham area, it would be great to have some additional quality accommodation, especially close to the waterfront.