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IWD Interview with Kylie Watson-Wheeler

In celebration of International Woman’s Day (8 March), we are sharing inspiring stories about women from our Mentone Grammar Community.

Kylie Watson-Wheeler leads one of the largest media and entertainment companies in ANZ as the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand. She is also President of the Western Bulldogs Football Club and serves as a Board Member of Mentone Grammar.

Kylie has always been inspired by creativity and motivated by a desire to follow her passions. “In all of the companies I have worked at during my career, they have all had creativity at their core. It’s therefore perhaps no surprise that I have found myself working at The Walt Disney Company – one of the most creative businesses in the world.”

Kylie has been an inspiration to many people throughout her career, in particular, young women who have a desire to break through the glass ceiling. When reflecting on inspiring the next generation, she says that it’s important to lead by example by “… being the best I can be in my roles. I hope that the next generation of young women feel that leadership roles are a real possibility for them in their future, regardless of the industry.”

As Kylie celebrates IWD Week and her journey as a successful businesswoman, she also reflects on the barriers she has faced throughout her career. “There have been times when I have felt marginalised or underestimated as a woman in business. In those instances, I have always remained calm and focused on the facts, my knowledge, and held my ground with what I hope looks something like grace.”

To successfully balance being a mother of two while working in leadership positions at Disney, Western Bulldogs and Mentone Grammar, Kylie says it has been important to include her family in her work life. Where possible, she loves sharing new Disney content or taking the family to visit the rooms after a Bulldogs game. “Life is certainly a juggling act, but it’s all about prioritising what is important – particularly what’s important to my family. Ultimately we manage the balancing act together – my husband Mark and I are a team.”

Her advice for the next generation of female leaders is simple – pursue your passion.

“Make sure you follow your dreams, not anyone else’s. It’s also ok if you don’t know what your passion is yet. Lean into the things you love and your passion will find you.”

One thing Kylie would like to see changed around the world is equal rights and opportunities for all people of all genders everywhere. And we couldn’t agree more!

Author: Steph Kinnear