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#LeadingLadies: Our ability to be our whole selves when we’re working makes us better at what we do.

Source |Linkedin .com  |  BY:Anna O’Dea, Recruitment Expert | LinkedIn Top Voice 2016 | Agency Iceberg Founder

When Clare Cowperthwaite’s full time role was made redundant around four years ago, she was faced with a choice: “Do I want a similar role somewhere else – to keep tracking along – or to use this opportunity to look at what really motivates me?”

It wouldn’t be such an inspiring story if Clare didn’t do the latter – she took a leap of faith into the world of freelancing and contracting and hasn’t looked back.

Clare had previously dipped in and out of this type of work, but this time she set a clear goal to put her Public Relations and Change Management expertise to use quite selectively.

“I realised that the actual task I’m doing is less motivating for me than the bigger picture,” she explains.

Clare took time to talk to Agency Iceberg about how she’s built the strength to say no, how she negotiates tough financial or contractual discussions, and how she’s developed a strong client base in the competitive and fast-evolving ‘gig’ economy.


You’re on contract with Asahi, and you’ve done work for NAB and other big names. What benchmarks did you set for the work you take on or turn down?

I look to work with people that are inspiring, and in an organisation that is going somewhere. I’ll ask myself, ‘Is this a learning experience for me?’ I don’t need a particular title like Account Director or Publicist. The beauty of freelancing is that it enables me to make those choices.

I’ve always been interested in helping with the ‘disconnect’ – organisations are doing a great job crafting these polished external messages about what is happening.

But often, that isn’t exactly what the employees are experiencing internally. I’m interested in how brands can drive [internal] culture to match their external brands.


Some freelancers never have the confidence to decline work, even if it’s a sub-standard offer. There’s a fear they won’t get asked again. How have you grown the guts to say no?

You need a thick skin and confidence. When you’re starting out it’s a difficult thing to do. You can get into a headspace where you think, ‘Gosh, I’m lucky that anyone wants me to do anything. I am competing with so many people with great experience.’ But there’s always going to be someone else in the mix and you need to accept that. You need to be more confident in your ability than ever before.


Have you always been that assured?

It’s easy to say this 20 years down the track when you have experience!


You’ve had full time offers after finishing contracts, but you’ve stuck to your independent approach. Why haven’t you been lured into the fold?


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