Eager listening with a side of rhubarb

It’s Tuesday morning, and I am sitting down to write about my experience interviewing someone for the first time. Beside me I’ve got a cup of crunchy cinnamon granola softened with creamy greek yogurt and roasted rhubarb, the perfect companion to an early morning working from my bed.

My first interview took place on a sunny Wednesday morning at the State Library of Queensland with the beautiful Hayley Dunne, founder of the social enterprise Little Delish. I was excited to meet Hayley from the moment she was described to me. Who could be more fitting for this experience then someone who shared a similar love of food, and had channeled that passion into creating an ethical and social catering company.

It was my curiosity and eagerness to meet Hayley which helped ease my nerves about the whole interview process. I was going to learn that every future interview would entail a similar level of excitement and anticipation, given the stories and nature of the women Feathersome seeked to capture.

In preparation of the interview I spent a lot of time racking my brain for the most natural, flowing questions I could imagine, creating the scene in my head of how one question will steer the conversation and lead into another. During this process, completely unhelpful questions would come to me, drifting into my head and clouding my thinking like smoke; will it be obvious that I have never interviewed someone before? What if it’s awkward? What if my questions don’t prompt her the way I think? I found you can only go around in circles so many times in your head before you lose all sense of clarity and direction. That’s the point you bring in a second pair of eyes and realise your first or second set of questions were the best; stop second guessing yourself.

Another thing which worried me a little about interviewing someone was my own voice in this interview; I love talking and quite frankly struggle not to interject my opinion or personal story on topics that interest me. Luckily, through some preliminary research on interviewing techniques I had uncovered the TEDX talk ’10 ways to have a better conversation”. Amongst other great tips such as; enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn, use open ended questions, don’t equate your experiences, and go with the flow, it demonstrated how to be a better listener. I was to embrace the gaps and somewhat awkward silences in conversation, allowing a ‘pregnant pause’ to give way to a more in depth answer and self exploration from the other person.

Whilst my preparation and compulsive practice of the questions leading up to the interview filled me with a calm confidence, it proved quite unnecessary upon meeting Hayley. It turns out she is a talker as well, and with my first question she was off. It also helped that I was completely engrossed in her story, filled with wonder listening to her explain Little Delish and all that it represents and challenges. Hayley, as I saw her was a leader in her own right, choosing the less travelled road to ensure her impact was ethical, environmental and for the charities her business supported; life changing.

It was a culminating moment for me in my journey with Feathersome, where the varied previous pieces of work I had done, and the overarching mission to uplift women leading, came together. I had just found myself a relatable role model, and I knew then she was going to be the first of many.

Allow me to introduce you and share the stories of two women on the team… Marina and Janine.