After a career in intelligence and communications that took her around the globe, Carol Kiernan co-founded Honour a Woman with a goal to achieve 50/50 gender equality in the Order of Australia by 2020.
Q&A with Carol Kiernan
Can you tell us about your time at Deakin? Is there anything you especially remember?
I completed my masters degree online as I live overseas part-time and am always travelling. The online Deakin community inspired and encouraged my learning journey.
What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.
During my first degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), I was recruited into a security intelligence role which later evolved into working in criminal intelligence. After moving overseas 12 years ago, I established my consultancy service, working in communications, coaching and mentoring, writing and international development, in England, Ireland, Serbia, the USA and the Philippines. Completing my masters degree at Deakin kick-started me into creative non-fiction writing, reinvigorated my professional career and gave me a qualification as an editor.
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
Wanting to have it all, both domestic as a wife and mother, and as a professional, using my talents to contribute to a safer and more empowered community, has required me to be an adept juggler.
Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?
I always imagined I'd be a teacher, journalist and coach. However, my intelligence career has been unexpectedly wonderful, challenging, rewarding and never dull.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?
Hone your research skills, establish your own analytical process and always make sure you have evidence to support your claims.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
My masters qualification reassured me that I have the skills and experience to deliver on any professional challenge.
What are your passions outside your work?
I'm a co-founder of Honour a Woman (honourawoman.com), a non-partisan movement, working to achieve gender equality in the Order of Australia. I'm passionate about equal pay, more female CEOs and more women in the boardroom, visible in our society, as role models for the next generation.
How would someone describe you?
Feisty, energetic, Irish Australian, passionate feminist.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting our in your career?
Be open to all possibilities, the door that opens might not be the one you anticipated, but it could deliver unexpected opportunities and joy.
What is something that amazes you?
How you can change the world, one step at a time. I’d never have believed I could be a co-founder of a national movement, managing its social media, with thousands of supporters and many leading Australians as ambassadors, working to achieve a shared goal: 50/50 gender equality in the Order of Australia by 2020.
Is there anything else you’d like to add we haven’t covered?
I encourage Deakin alumni to nominate at least one significant Australian woman for an Order of Australia each year. It could be your mentor, your boss, or someone you admire in your community.