Interview with Kirsten Galliott, Editor-in-Chief of Qantas magazine

In the lead-up to Red Heel Day, we’re interviewing our speakers to find out more about what inspires them, and what drives them to be such an inspiration to others! If you haven’t yet, check out our interviews with Anne-Marie Elias and Alexandra Mills!

Next up to the plate is Kirsten Galliott. Kirsten is a senior media executive with more than 20 years’ experience in newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Her impressive career includes three years as Editor for much-loved fashion magazine InStyle fashion, 10 years at Fairfax, editing everything from Sunday Life magazine to the(sydney)magazine media group and a presenting stint on Channel 7’s Sunrise. In May, Kirsten was appointed Editor-in-Chief for the prestigious Qantas magazine and all of its digital assets, which she re-launched internationally.

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Describe your typical week?

It’s very varied (which is why I love it so much). I might be working with my features team on an upcoming issue to determine what destinations are hot and how we can cover them in a fresh and surprising way. I might be at a cover shoot with an international celebrity. I might be reworking our app and reviewing what new content can go up on it. There could be meetings with Qantas, lunches with clients, events at night. It never stops.

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

Quite simply, I love what I do. I love creating content that will have an impact on people’s lives. That impact can be small – in the case of the Qantas magazine, it could be about entertaining for someone during descent – or it can be more dramatic, such as inspiring someone to book a holiday that they will remember forever. And I love creating content with a team of passionate, creative people who feel just as I do.

Which key characteristics do you see a female leader having?

Well, I don’t know that I would qualify it with female. I think any leader has to have the same attributes. I have a note near my desk that espouses the 10 Qualities of Creative Leaders. Those qualities range from having “high standards of personal ethics” to “having the courage to make tough decisions”. And another I love: “Guts under pressure; resilience in defeat.” One quality it doesn’t include is something that I think is very important in a leader and that’s empathy.

What is the greatest learning you have had?

My sister, who is a human resources manager, once told me not to sit on a staff issue in the hope it will magically get better. She said it was much smarter to act on it quickly and decisively before it escalates. I’ve really held true to that and I’ve found by having conversations early, it can either diffuse the issue or bring something to a head.

Why are you excited about Red Heel Day?

Women need to step up and take on more leadership roles. Any initiative that encourages and promotes this – and inspires women to say “I can” instead of “I can’t” – is vital.