Kayti Marlow

Learning and Development Adviser

Winson Group

A Lesson in Patience and Progression

Winson Group Kayti Marlow

In a world of instant gratification where we expect to get what we want straight away, life can be full of disappointments. If you’re experiencing that, you’d do well to speak to Kayti Marlow. She understands what the word ‘journey’ really means, having progressed step by step, inch by inch towards her goals in career and life.

A long road

A music enthusiast from a young age, Kayti pursued a Bachelor of Creative Arts straight out of school. With no particular career plan following graduation, she studied a Graduate Diploma of Education and became an instrumental music teacher in primary schools.

“I enjoyed working with the kids, teaching them and seeing how their performance and skills improved. But after a while I realised my true calling was for adult education. Moving into that space wasn’t easy so I started working in beauty therapy to make money and build some transferrable skills.”

Kayti spent five years as a beauty therapist while trying to break into her industry of choice.

“I knew where I wanted to be but didn’t have a degree in business. At 27, I was seen as too old to fill a graduate business role. I got a lot of knockbacks; people said I was too inexperienced and didn’t have the right skillset. It was hard to show people how my existing qualifications and experience would transfer to a business role.”

In the end, she got a break… well, a semi-break anyway.

“I scored a job in sales. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do but it was a foot in the door. This exposed me to a wider range of business skills so I could pursue my career further. It was slow but I was getting closer.”

Accepting one more sales position in 2007 would prove to be Kayti’s greatest move. This job was at Winson Group, where Kayti is still working 12 years on.

Working in the sales role at insignia, a business of Winson Group, was actually a great learning experience. Kayti was exposed to different departments and aspects of the business that gave her a greater understanding of the business as a whole. This built a solid base knowledge of business functions across all departments.

“While in my Sales role, I was able to write and manage process documents, which gave me a great pathway back to a ‘teaching’ role.”

Three years ago, she finally transitioned into her dream role as Learning and Development Officer.

A workplace to call home

We live in a time where people change jobs as often as their underwear. But you won’t find Kayti following suit. She knows how rare it is to find a place that is both comfortable and challenging. She says that at Winson, every day is different and that she feels truly valued.

“The people here are different. You hear new employees say, ‘Is everyone really this nice?’ Actually they are. The culture here is one of support and authenticity, where everyone is valued as an individual. Whoever it is, from the CEO onwards, will stop and listen to you. They never brush you off. They are not false or condescending. We work hard on our amazing culture, and you can feel it within every aspect of our organisation.”

Kayti comes alive when she talks about the core purpose of her role - to support others in reaching their best.

“I work with many of our new graduates and am pleased to contribute to building their confidence and skills. Some of those grads have since progressed to more senior roles within the company.”

“I also have the opportunity to work with the operations side of the business, where I have helped several employees pursue Certificate III qualifications in Printing and Process Manufacturing. These people are shining and that makes me feel so proud.”

“I believe learning and development helps build the creativity and forward-thinking skills a person needs to build a successful career. Empowering people with the skills to self-learn is a powerful motivator for me.”

Kayti winning medals at the 2014 QLD Athletics Cross Country running event

A patient life

So Kayti has reached a key destination point in her career. Across other aspects of her life, however, she’s still patiently plugging away at her goals. She knows everything will fall into place when it’s meant to.

“My husband and I bought 35 acres out at Clumber (near Lake Moogerah), with plans to build a house. We want to live totally off the grid and be mostly self-sufficient. It is a long-term plan though; it’ll probably be another 10 years before it’s built.”

Kayti seems content to wait. They’re enjoying every step of the journey, planting fruit and nut trees, and building a shed and composting toilet. Every day is a step closer to where they want to be, and that’s enough to keep Kayti moving forward with a smile on her face.

Kayti’s final words about the property beautifully sum up the philosophy that has led her to a place of fulfilment in her life and career:

“We often put long-term plans in place. It’s about continuing each day, doing the little things that move you towards your goal. You can take your time but must never lose focus.”

Mark Puncher

About the Author

Mark Puncher is Employer Branding Australia’s Founder and Chief Energy Officer. Having spent much of the last 18 years with one foot in recruitment and the other in marketing, Mark loves helping fantastic, imperfect organisations bring their stories to life to engage their future superstars.

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