I’m one of Jerona’s biggest fans. I’m sitting with her around an iron table that seems to have been here for hundreds of years, and around us is the castle filled with men in suits. All great men, but men nonetheless. To sit with a female leader in business who kicks ass, is smart and does not hold back is bliss.
How have you found your first Top Recruiter experience?
Quite unique. Keith Potts told me what it was like because he’s been on it previously, so I had some idea. I expected the flowing champagne. It’s quite a lesson in the psychology of people too. The characters here are fascinating, just to watch them.
Are you enjoying it?
Yeah. I mean first day was as expected. Second day was like, ‘oh god I drank too much champagne. By the third day you relax into it and know how to play it.
Don’t hang out with Randy and Keith because they’ll drink you under the table.
Who have you enjoyed getting to know?
Ann Swain is the obvious one that springs to mind. She’s a big character. The Australians, Nicky and Rick, I think are awesome. Which is weird because they’re kind of our competition. Obviously Rachel. What an incredible woman. Bloody hell! She’s my roomie too so I’ve really gotten to know her.
What about any of the Americans?
Well I knew Randy anyway. I purposely wanted to get to know Torin. He’s professional, but doesn’t get involved in the drama. I think he’s an amazing man. He’s calming and has this gift of getting it. He looks, watches and just understands.
What have you thought about the candidates?
What gets me is that the male advisors have handled the female candidates as if they’re girls and not women. They’ve been mollycoddled.
Would you do it again?
Yeah I would. And I would be happy to be part of helping make it even better next year. Which I don’t say about many things because I’m selfish with my time.
What was your game plan when you came in?
Take control. Reset myself. Make sure I’ve had lots of sleep, go for a run, don’t get drunk during the day. And making sure you get to know people outside of your own circles.
How has the interaction between the men and women been?
It’s interesting that the American side doesn’t have any women. That definitely needs to change. That has fascinated me. And seeing things in action like that has evolved my own thinking. The other day when we were trying to help the American candidate, and she’s in there with all white males, bar Torin. And they just weren’t getting it. And it took Torin, who’s an ethnic minority, to recognise it, and bring me in to help that situation.
And it’s actually built my confidence as well. The fact that Torin could spot my skill set and bring me in at the right moment.
So we basically need to throw more women in the mix?
Massively. And the thing is, it’s not all down to Chris. It’s the responsibility of the male leaders here.
Have you noticed any difference in how the Americans interact with women compared to the Europeans.
Oh yeah! I think the way the Americans treat women is more respectful, more politically correct. You wouldn’t catch them talking about a woman as a commodity. They know it’s intrinsically wrong. And they are gentleman like, but not in a sexist way. But I always feel like they’re adults.
What do you think Top Recruiter is doing for the industry?
I’m not sure if it’s registering as it should. But I’m not really in the industry so I’m not best placed to answer that. What I do think is that it’s a very stealable concept, you can apply it to any other industry.
What are you going to take away from this experience?
Confidence. A whole network. The Miami guys have said I can come over. I love them, they’re amazing. Knowledge. Some friendships. And also the ability to improve and continue to contribute.
How has it built your confidence?
Working with Kelly and the American team. Getting that accolade from Torin, who basically said, you were integral to sorting out all our shit, that meant a lot. I’m a very confident person, and confident in my own abilities, but I think it’s very rare for someone to spot that and recognise it. And Torin is such a special individual in that way. He has the gift of recognising somebody else.
What has been your favourite moment so far?
Oh my god there have been so many, you are having a laugh asking me to pick one.
That whole experience with Torin definitely, and the consequences of that.
However, Ann’s comedy moments are always a highlight.
We’re joined at that moment by Torin, who pulls up a chair next to us. Torin is also one of my favourite people here, so I can’t even complain that he’s interrupting our chat. I know the conversation is about to get so much better. As they both dive into their conversation, I watch Torin and Jerona debate and agree on various points, and I think the beauty in this show lies right there. People who never would have met, coming together to create something incredible.