Ceara Mcauliffe Bickerton

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Hey Ceara! You’re an Innovation Specialist at Creative HQ and an amazing supporter of Prepair NZ. Can you tell us a bit about your work and how it assisted Prepair NZ?

I work for an epic Wellington based company, Creative HQ. In a nutshell, we work with startups, corporations and governments to help them innovate, design and deliver approaches to solve problems.

Last year we partnered with Springload and wheretofromhere?  to create Experience Week,  a week of workshops focusing on putting people at the center of solution design. It was a coming together of amazing innovative companies across Wellington, hosting workshops, speaker sessions and other events across the span of a week. During this week we facilitated a 5-day Design Sprint with Prepair NZ.  

You organised for Creative HQ to donate a Design Sprint to our team which lead us to testing and qualifying digital workshops. Amazing! What made you choose to back Prepair?

I chose Prepair because they were a pivotal part of my own journey to understanding my self-worth. When I came across Prepair I had a lot of unhealthy beliefs that I had been carrying with me from a previous relationship. I hadn’t realised that my partner’s beliefs had become my beliefs, and I didn’t realise how negatively this was affecting me.

When I was in a previous job, I felt I wasn’t utilising my full potential. I came home from my job one day, ecstatic, because one of the senior managers had told me that I was overqualified for the job I was in and that he could see the potential for me to move into a higher position - it felt fantastic to receive this recognition.

I came home to tell my partner, excited for him to be excited with me. But instead once I finished my story he didn’t look happy for me. He paused then he carefully said, “he doesn’t think you can do well, he probably just said that because of your looks, it’s nothing to do with work.” I waited for him to reassure me and say that despite that I could do better at work and I deserved better, but he didn’t. He made me believe that I wasn’t worthy of growth, and eventually I started to believe that any professional compliment given to me by a male coworker was a pass at me and wasn’t genuine. I also started to question whether I was smart enough to move out of the role. The saddest part was that I believed what my partner said and I held onto it for months. It took me a lot of self work to unravel this belief.

Prepair played a huge role in helping me to identify and understand the type of behaviour that I now see to be completely unacceptable. Prepair helped me find a voice and words to express what I was experiencing but had never been able to articulate. For me, it provided a safe space to understand and process what had happened during my relationship and to start of identifying my real worth.  As a result, I can now see what behaviour I will no longer accept from a partner.

After navigating that journey myself, I started to see how little education there is among my friends as well as younger gals about recognising the signs of an unhealthy relationship. I started to refer people to Prepair whenever I saw the need and I absolutely think it’s a resource that all gal’s should be aware of.

With that in mind, I always thought that if I’m ever in a position where I can add value to Prepair I’ll take it. The perfect opportunity arose when our CEO said we could do a Design Sprint, a week-long workshop for a charity. The team could clearly see the impact we could create for Prepair if we took them through the Design Sprint process, so it was an incredible opportunity and effort.

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What would you tell another person or organisation considering to support Prepair?

There are a couple of questions I ask myself before jumping into a new work project. What’s my’ why?’. Why am I doing this? And simply, ask yourself, “can you add value?”. If the answer is yes then jump in and do it.

The team were absolutely epic! For our Design Sprints we usually aim for around 7 or 8 participants, so given Irene is a one woman show it was mind-blowing that she was able to recruit so many talented wāhine in such a short period of time. The caliber of talented women on that volunteer team was astonishing and it meant we could make magic happen in a short period of time.

At Prepair we are all about values and knowing which values are important to each of us! What values are important to you?

Intuition - your intuition will rarely lead you astray, so create the space to listen to it.

Courage - speak out if something doesn’t sit right, even if it’s hard.

Respect - respect that everyone has their own journey and that’s where they are at and that’s okay.

Here at Prepair our number one goal us to support and educate women about self-love, healthy relationships and the signs of emotional and mental abuse. What do you want to see for the next generation of women?

I would love for the dialogue and discourse around emotional and mental abuse to be so common that it doesn’t feel like a taboo topic. I’d love to see women really practice self'-love every day; not the version that is so commonplace - the face masks (although I do love a good face mask), but rather that real self-love - the one about knowing your self-worth and values.

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Bronte Stevenson