Fly Consulting’s founder Deb Elliott talks ambition in business

30 October 2018 4 min. read

Inspirational women’s consultant Deb Elliott, the founder and Director of Fly Consulting, opens up about ambition, mentoring in the workplace and garnering support for women to rise through the ranks in the workplace. 

Deb Elliott is a mother of two, a wife, coach, trainer and speaker and the Director of Fly Consulting. A boutique consultancy focused on human capital and professional improvement programs, Fly Consulting coaches clients on how to engage employees, improve staff retention, develop people and exceed client expectations. The firm also propels women in a range of non-management roles through accelerator programs for their careers. 

She recently spoke to Women’s Agenda about where she saw Fly Consulting going in the future, women in business, and her motivations to continue down this path. “I realised there were many capable women who lacked sufficient belief in themselves to strive for career opportunities as well as the need to create a safe, non-judgmental and inclusive environment for women to talk openly about their challenges and triumphs, and to help them overcome their fears and step towards a better future for themselves.” 

Elliott continued; “I was always that person people asked for advice – friends and colleagues around me, and had been through much adversity in my life including domestic violence, loss and grief, marriage, kids, travel, moving countries and sporting milestones along with work commitments.”

Fly Consulting’s founder Deb Elliott talks ambition in business

In her consulting business, she operates between the private and public sectors to help women “eliminate self-doubt and internal barriers and replace those with courage, self-compassion and true ownership in who they want to be and how they can remedy what’s not working in their lives and careers.” 

The consulting firm works with some big-name clients from around Australia, including Westpac, the ABC, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Institute of Public Administration Australia and multiple NSW government bodies including Education, Tafe and Environment and Heritage. Before Elliott returned to her native Australia in 2009, she worked as a Business Manager in London. She has worked in multiple consulting jobs since,including for BankWest and Natural Consulting.

With the latter firm, she worked to develop the Springboard Women's Development Program, a critically acclaimed three month blended learning program. Fly Consulting continues to run the Springboard program which aims to help women in non-management and first-level management roles to develop themselves professionally and continue climbing the ladder. She believes these programs are important because the gap in the marketplace leaves aspirational non-executive businesswomen stuck in terms of coaching options.

The Springboard Program

“There are programs out there for women in leadership, but not so much for women in non-management roles. More women are working now than ever before and the stresses and pressures on working women are much greater. Springboard serves to give women time out to reflect, reassess and redress their life and career, providing practical tools and sustainable strategies,” she said.

She says that seeing women embrace the workshops is one of the greatest joys in her life because they in turn embrace the skills and strategies to make changes in their own lives. “It’s a gift to be able to live my life and help others soar. I constantly hear from women, especially mothers who have put all their energy and resources into their kids and partners that they have no idea who they are anymore.”

When asked about gender equality in the workplace, Elliott brings up a tried and tested concept within the consulting industry; that with the empowerment women comes increased performance, innovation and revenue for businesses. This has been highlighted in multiple studies by McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group, Mercer and the Big Four firms.

“Organisations often fail to fully assess the potential within and facilitate their employees’ capacity to grow. If we empower women with skills and confidence to try something new, then they can do so much more than what they think they are capable of,” she said. “I feel we need to look more comprehensively within organisations to build the strength in all our employees: empower them with strategies that create self-worth, self-compassion and belief in themselves.”

“What holds us back from this? Not investing enough in the development of women to become a greater asset and realise their potential for the next level. I would never be where I am today without people investing in me. Often people see the potential in you that you sometimes don’t see in yourself. The Springboard Program is ideal for all women who would like to start to take control of their lives and careers,” Elliott concluded.