It was one of those rainy Wednesday evenings that made you wanna go home straight after work and just settle in with a big cup of tea on the lounge. But instead, I was headed into the city from my Surry Hills bubble to be a panelist at General Assembly. I was excited to meet other like minded people who were there to find out more about career negotiation strategies. Rain or shine, I wasn’t going to miss it…

It seemed that the majority of people who registered for the event (and I was told it was close to 170 people) actually turned up – respect. I’ve been to a number of GA organised events before and I always walked away with so much goodness. This time around, I was thrilled to be in a position of ‘giving back’ by sharing my perspective of building a career and getting what you deserve (in so many more ways than just salary).

For those of you unfamiliar with General Assembly, they are a pioneer in education and career transformation, specialising in today’s most in-demand skills. They are a leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, they foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love. Originally started as a co-working space in 2011 in NYC and has since grown into a global learning experience with campuses in 15 cities and over 25,000 graduates worldwide. What I love about these guys is that they totally get the concept of building communities and getting them together in real life discussing topics of interest.


There were 4 other panelists contributing to the conversation on the day:

Emma Jones, Head of Talent, Ansarada

Penny Blackmore, Business Lead, ustwo

Max Cullen, Director, Alcami Recruiters

Scott Crowe, Lead Recruiter, Canva

Each of the speakers brought a unique perspective to the table and shared some amazing examples and advice with the audience. It was so nice to see that people were engaged in the conversation and asked a lot of questions.



  • 37% of people always negotiate their salaries
  • 18% of people never negotiate their salaries
  • 44% of people don’t bring up the topic of a raise in their performance reviews
  • 7% of women negotiate their first salary as opposed to 57% of men
  • Those who negotiate their first salary, are able to increase it by an average of 7%
  • Not negotiating your first job can cost you in average 8 years of salary over the course of your career


Pretty eye opening, would you say? Knowing your value is definitely the very first step towards successful negotiation. Emma Jones listed some pretty awesome tips on the 10 key elements of successful negotiations and these are:


  1. Know your value
  2. Do your research
  3. Organise your thoughts
  4. Pick an exact number (salary)
  5. Be willing to walk away
  6. Be sure the timing is right
  7. Proceed with confidence
  8. Ask questions and listen
  9. Be creative
  10. Don’t be afraid


The conversation continued in smaller groups as the audience was split up into 5 groups led by each panelist, which allowed people to bring up some real life examples of workplace negotiation challenges. The speakers then shared a few interesting observations that surfaced as a result of these group sessions and the event wrapped up with some great ‘post event’ networking. I felt really blessed to have met a number of interesting people from the audience and that they took their time to approach me for a chat. Thank you, guys…

#WiseWords from Marissa Mayer:



(a) Know your audience

I chatted to a few people in the audience just before the event kicked off, mainly because I enjoy connecting with people and it fascinates me to know what made them decide to attend. I believe content creation (regardless of form or delivery) should benefit the audience rather than showcase what you do as a speaker. Tapping into the core purpose of someone’s interest in the event can make it that much more engaging and meaningful for them. This can also be accustomed to a work situation: find out what your company values and cares about and your work can speak to that directly. It will enable you to make a stronger case when you negotiate a promotion or a salary review.

(b) Be more self aware

It’s always really interesting to observe people and see whether they come on their own to the event, in a group, with a friend and whether they make an effort to talk to someone they never met before – after all, these sort of events can facilitate life changing connections. I understand, you might be saying it’s scary and maybe even awkward but it can help you build your confidence and as a result of that make you a more confident negotiator.

(c) Foster courage

What worked for me over the years is my open mind to trying new things and I regularly challenge myself to do one thing each day that scares me. It could be as simple as emailing the CEO of the company you want to work for with your resume or Tweeting him/her to make yourself visible.

Over the years this approach to risk taking has built a lot of resilience and courage for me. It is also something that can build your confidence and make you more self aware. These attributes will work in your favour in any negotiation scenario.

(d) Work on your EQ

It still amazes me just how many people believe they need to be someone else to succeed. It’s all well and good to prepare for an interview but try answering questions truthfully and sincerely rather than anticipating what you think they want to hear. Showing your personality and expressing what you like doing in your free time can actually indicate whether you would be a good fit culturally and whether you can handle difficult situations in a team environment.

Doing the right thing, is always the right thing. Pretending to be someone else or overly reserved just because you really – really want to impress, can easily backfire. Just be yourself… Personal development can sound a bit woo-woo but unless you explore yourself, how would you know what value you bring to the workplace aside from your skills and experience?

I hope you enjoyed this recap of the event and if you are interested to come along next time, make sure you follow General Assembly.

Lots of love,






and find out how I turned my side hustle
 into my main business.

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