In a cruel twist of fate, Rachael Lynch was awarded World Hockey Goalkeeper of the Year in 2019 and dropped from the Australian team the next. What followed was a 150-day legal battle against Hockey Australia, which she won, enabling her to rejoin her team to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. We caught up with Rachael almost one year on from her victory, and just one month after her retirement from international sport, to bring you her advice on navigating dysfunctional leadership and toxic workplace culture.

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Is your birthday celebrated at work? If you’re close to your colleagues, you may be surprised with a card and gifts. Or, depending on your workplace culture, you may enjoy a birthday lunch where colleagues take their break to spend time with you. However, not all of us are so lucky. We get that not everyone likes to be made a fuss of on their birthday. But if you want to cultivate a strong culture and celebrate your team, here’s our guide on how to start great birthday traditions in the workplace.

1. Do your workplace birthday research

First of all, make sure to ask all employees their birthday preferences. Would they like their birthday acknowledged or celebrated, or not? People should be able to opt in or out. Just be sure to look for opportunities to celebrate those that opt out in other ways later on (e.g. give them praise after showing good work).

2. Be organised

Noone likes a last-minute run-around the office with the team birthday card. Besides, who can ever think of the right thing to write to someone on a card when put on the spot? Be sure to record all birthdays in one central place so no one (that wants to be celebrated) gets missed. Start a birthday thread in Slack (or whichever project management platform you use). Or go with a tried and true planner or notebook to record the dates so they’ll never be lost. (What do you know… we’ve got a few stationery recommendations up our sleeve here).

Too often the birthday calendar and celebrations get palmed off to the receptionist. But celebrating your team should be regarded as an important priority by leaders and management. If you want extra buy-in from team members, invite them to be ‘culture leaders’ and look for opportunities to get others onboard.

3. Use the workplace birthday to express gratitude

A company we know celebrates birthdays by gathering its team of a dozen staff members around a platter of treats. Then, they share their positive thoughts about the person whose birthday it is. While this idea might seem daunting, it’s great for boosting morale through expressing gratitude for others.

It can even be worked around the personalities and closeness of your team. For example, you can ask everybody to say one word that describes the birthday person (think ‘funny’, ‘creative’ or ‘hard-working’). Or, for more bonded teams, you can open it up to their favourite memories of working with that person (like a birthday card message on display!). If you’re going to try this method, it’s important to do it with sincerity. And remember – keep it positive!

4. Don’t hold back on workplace birthday decorations

What you’ll need: streamers, confetti and balloons. Enough of each to “over-decorate” the desk space of the office person (this looks best when you don’t spread the decorations outside of their personal work area). To do this, you’ll need the element of surprise, so stay back to decorate the evening before their birthday or do it early the morning of.

5. Think outside the box, boundaries and borders

If your team is working remote and is unable to celebrate together in person, don’t despair! Call everyone together for a birthday-themed trivia party online. There are plenty of apps that allow you to do this. Just have some trivia about the birthday person handy when you create the quiz.

Now this idea might be a HR-nightmare for some companies, but giving employees their birthday off work never disappoints! If this simply isn’t possible, do some advance planning to alleviate deadlines and stress for the birthday person on their day. Ask for volunteers to step in and assist them with their work projects. Free up space to allow the birthday person to take a long lunch break and/or leave early for the day.

Our favourite brand birthday campaigns 

We’ve seen a lot of well-known businesses take their creativity and love of birthdays to a larger scale and build marketing campaigns for their company and customers to enjoy. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you to think big.

  1. For Facebook’s 10th birthday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about his plans for the company’s next decade, and personalised Look Back videos launched for Facebook users. Ahh, the memories.
  2. Remember the rolls of LifeSavers sweets? They celebrated their 100th birthday back in 2012 with giving codes on specially marked packs. Customers were encouraged to enter the codes to donate to a select nonprofit. Giving and fun!
  3. Imagine being an employee of Marmite and being given a limited edition gold jar for the company’s birthday! These jars were exclusive to employees until Marmite released Marmite Gold (with real, edible gold flecks) to the public on their 110th birthday some years later.

Whether you eagerly await your birthday each year or you’d rather let it slip by without a word, we hope this article has given you some ideas on how to think big, celebrate others and keep building that strong workplace culture. And if your birthday is right around the corner – Happy Birthday! We hope you have a fantastic day.


Leaders are known by the influence they leave on the communities they serve and the staff they lead. When faced with adversity, the skills as a leader will be challenged beyond what can be imagined. In the last few months, leaders have been pushed to the limits as the COVID-19 virus became the forefront of all human life.

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Leadership presence is a quality that takes time and energy to build up. When it’s done correctly, it can propel you into positions you’ve been dreaming of for years. However, when it’s done incorrectly, or if it’s not managed well, it can keep you stuck in unrewarding roles. Here are five ways you can start to strengthen your leadership presence in 2020.

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You want the best for your kids, but what exactly is that? It’s tempting to give them the chances you wish YOU had growing up or encourage them to choose what you think would be best for them. It’s also tempting to raise them in the ways that experts say is best, but your children are unique and that advice might not be relevant to who they actually are. So, let’s take a look at how to raise children to be leaders.

First, we’ll ask, what is being the best parent you can be for them? To raise children to create the life that they truly would like to live. It takes vulnerability, honouring, trust, gratitude and allowance (for them and you). To raise your children to be leaders, you have to be a leader too. This can be done by:

Honouring kindness

My youngest son (now 22) was invited to join Mensa at age 12. He refused. He locked himself in the toilets at school because the teachers were pushing him too hard. As a young child, my eldest son was diagnosed with learning difficulties and put in special education classes that tried to make him fit into a system. However, that system did not fit him.

Forcing anyone to be what you desire is dishonouring. Ask yourself, what is the kindness that will make the greatest difference to your kids?

Encouraging curiosity, which ensures creativity

Encourage them to explore whatever makes them curious. Making mistakes is a way of receiving more awareness from every choice. Allow them to take risks that may not work out! That’s curiosity and creativity in action.

Children become disheartened when they are made to ‘choose’ something that doesn’t stimulate them. When they make choices that may be making their life difficult, I ask, very kindly, ‘How is that working for you?’. This allows them to address the question from a space of curiosity and capacity for a change.

If a child is resisting and reacting to being controlled, they are distracted from the awareness you are inviting them to. If you allow them to hold the reigns of their life, they can get clarity and make educated choices.

The education system is linear, but your child’s world is not. My eldest son (now 25) loves knowing how things work. He recently became obsessed with flying and building drones. This fascination created connections with a tech inventor, that is revolutionising the way power is created and used in the world. Together these leaders are changing the face of the energy industry globally. Creativity is generative energy that creates true leaders.

Building trust and letting them choose

Kids innately know what they enjoy and would like their future to be like energetically. Think back to your childhood. What were you fascinated by? What place does that have in your life now? Allow your children to follow their interests.

How many choices do you make for your children because ‘you know best’? What would it be like if you showed them how to trust their awareness and follow their intuition?

When a child trusts themselves, they’ll instinctively know who to trust as they become a leader. Being able to back yourself when no one else does, is what creates a true leader.

Offer total presence and awareness

As a child, I was OCD, ADHD, Autistic and couldn’t sit still in a chair. I failed at school because I couldn’t be linear. For a long time, I made that wrong, however, my sons are showing me how well this worked for them. I allowed them to be who they are, even if it made no sense to anyone else.

Of course, there are many paths to being a conscious, creative leader and these are some of the choices that have worked for my family. What are you aware of that would make the greatest difference for your kids? Ask them what they know too and get excited for the day that their awareness surpasses yours. Thats when their leadership capacity will begin to create an even greater future.

About the author of how to raise children to be leaders

Moira Bramley is a leadership and parenting expert, and certified facilitator for Access Consciousness, including the Wealth Creators Anonymous program. Moira is also an experienced investor and has many investments in property and shares, including a start-up led by her eldest son.