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How King Living leaders #EmbraceEquity and design meaningful careers

Driving real change is powered by the collective efforts of all. 

We start with our own mindsets and have the power to influence progress around us with continual steps forward. 

This year, International Women’s Day is encouraging us to #EmbraceEquity as a call to action for accelerating women's equality. 

To contribute to the conversation, KING hosted an International Women’s Day event where our panel of leaders shared what embracing equity means and gave insight into how they design meaningful careers and drive change.



Exploring equity versus equality


In order to wholeheartedly #EmbraceEquity we must start the conversation about where the differences are between equity and equality. 

The International Women's Day team define the difference as: “Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome1.” 

As leaders who foster creative teams with all kinds of experience, diversity, strengths and weaknesses, the KING leadership team understand this important distinction well. 

For Jackie Buckingham, Global Head of Retail and Trade, embracing equity is a holistic way of approaching diversity and inclusion. 

“In a workplace, equality and being equal is important, but equity isn’t just providing the opportunities to people.” Jackie shares. “It’s understanding individual differences and how to give an even playing field regardless of any dimension of diversity, and giving the opportunity for each person to be as successful as they possibly can.” 

By embracing equity, we are able to move towards equality. 



Women in leadership


Celebrating female leaders is necessary to help inspire and empower people to be confident in their own abilities.  

“I'm a working mum. I have two amazing little kids that have really been my inspiration. Being a woman in leadership, it’s such an important message to share to the wider community.” Jackie shares.  

“And to be able to tell my nine-year-old daughter that she can have an impact. That's what inspires me every day, and that's really the core of International Women's Day for me.” 

For Jack Broughton, Chief Information Officer at KING, fostering change in his team starts with people and relationships. 

“IT can be a colder industry as it’s very technical and doesn’t emphasise people relationships.” Jack explains. 

“I have really sought to bring that element of relationship to the forefront and not just look at IT as the basement department that tells you to turn on and off the computer. This is one of the biggest ways I had the ability to make a change and proactively support some of the issues that currently exist.”



Building workplaces where women thrive


Celebrating women's achievements and building workplaces where women thrive, and striving for true equity can bring us close to equality. 

For Product Portfolio Manager Michele DiBlasio, who joined the KING team in 2022, the celebration of talent in the in-house design team has been great to see. 

“There is fantastic balance of young and emerging female and male designers. And for industrial design, it’s not typical to see that balance. We celebrate and foster talent above anything.”  

There are many challenges that can come with bringing about cultural changes, and it is work that both individuals and businesses need to address. 

“There is a requirement in many cases for women to step away from a career at a very pinnacle time to look after family and kids. I think these days stepping away even for a year, you can re-enter the workplace place and find the landscape has completely changed.” Jack shares. 

“I think it's a real challenge we face and it's a business's responsibility to identify that is an issue and create innovative pathways.” 



Driving change personally and professionally


Driving positive change around you, often starts with making changes to your own mindset. 

Our leaders at KING understand that embracing and making positive changes personally, allows them to also thrive professionally and live their values.  

“The best advice I have been given is to be authentic. I was around 25 when someone turned to me and said, stop trying to please everybody.” Jackie recalls. 

“When I did that and when I started to become really comfortable in myself and build that internal confidence, that's when my career really took off. I was able to see better results, whether it become about people, sales results, or commercial results.” 

For Jack, getting out of your comfort zone personally and professionally is part of what makes progress possible

“I can work hard, I can hold good moral values, I can do everything right. At the end of the day, whether that be business or family, things aren't going to progress if you don't take some risks. The biggest risk in life is taking no risk at all.” Jack shares. 

“As a young male, when I put my hand up for a board role at a women's shelter, it was quite a confronting decision for me, but it's been extremely rewarding.”  

Evolving career paths


For KING leaders, Jackie Buckingham and Jack Broughton, the path to their current positions has been a natural evolution that is grounded in continual effort to grow in every way. 

“I started on the shop floor when I was 15 years old at Jay Jay’s. At 18, I was managing a 4-million-dollar retail outlet for Converse, and at 22, I was running the Australian New Zealand portfolio for the Converse business.” Jackie shares. “My whole career's been based around people, about retail, about being hands on and making sure that every single person is maximised.” 

Part of the KING team since 2013, Jack has built the IT team from the ground up.  

“I started at King as an 18-year-old. I was working in dispatch, unloading containers, and customer service, all while completing my IT degree. I started as the sole person in IT at King, and fast forward to today, I've got a brilliant team of 23.” 

The KING team is lucky to have influential leaders to help set an example and help foster the culture changes needed to fully #EmbraceEquity. 

Together, we are all working to make continual steps forward. 

If you are interested in joining the KING team, you can read about careers at KING or explore our LinkedIn Life page.  

Discover our article on why more female designers will move the world of design forward.