"I've examined why I handled things the way I handled them... so many people particularly in leadership roles... don't understand what are those blocks or those emotional barriers that are stopping them from being the amazing leaders they could be." Di Foster
Spending most of her childhood days surrounded by the family manufacturing business introduced Di to the world of entrepreneurship at a very young age.Passionate about finance and numbers she went onto pursue a Bachelor of Commerce at Otago university after finishing high-school.
Shortly after, Di started working full-time at the family business where she gained a lot of experience across many different departments including production, sales, accounting and asset management. In less than 5 years, she was appointed to Executive Officer and stepped into a leadership role to oversee the strategic path and vision of the business.
After over a decade in the industry and at the height of her career, Di would go on to encounter the most challenging years of her life.At 31, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, forcing her to take a step back to focus on her recovery.5 years later Di was in the clear and decided to move to Christchurch to start her own Merino wholesale business, My Merino, determined to take the industry by storm. However, it wasn’t long before she was once again diagnosed, this time with terminal cancer and given just 12 months to live.
Fast-forward a few years, she made a radical recovery and overcame her illness against all odds, with no medical intervention.Reaching a pivotal point in her life and looking back over her career, Di realised being able to support and lead others in business is where her true passion lies.
Feeling as if she had been given a second chance at life, in 2017 she launched Di Foster. A company on a mission to help executives perfect their craft, reach their fullest potential and achieve higher levels of performance. Along the way, she has worked with many clients across multiple industries including Ray White Real Estate, Advisory Board of Amiki and Lightning Lab Tourism.
As a Leadership Advisor, Di has spoken at numerous events across Australia and New Zealand and continues to help build more connected, self-aware and confident leaders through her Executive Advisory Program.
Here are our top takeaways:
Di discusses her transition from focusing on her past to looking towards the future. She reflects on how her speaking engagements initially served as a cathartic process and later evolved into performances that led to significant recognition and opportunities.
Self-Exploration and Safety Leadership Insights:
Di Foster delves into self-examination, exploring key life decisions and their impact. She emphasises the importance of understanding personal stories, particularly for safety leadership and overcoming emotional barriers and becoming more effective.
The Role of Self-Awareness and Ego in Safety Leadership:
The conversation shifts to the criticality of self-awareness in leadership roles. Di and Matt discuss the distinction between actions driven by ego versus genuine concern for others, and the prevalence of ego in workplace dynamics
Personal and Professional Growth:
The discussion concludes with Di sharing her journey of personal growth, including her battle with cancer and the realizations that followed. She stresses the need for authenticity and vulnerability in personal and professional life, and the distinction between life experiences and mental health issues.