Kris Darmody and Cath Pope, respectively CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Curated Content are joyful collaborators, who have embraced the lessons of resilience that COVID has brought to bear on businesses. As well as appreciating reconnecting with their creative team in the office after months of working from home, they’ve identified that their deep expertise in engaging online learning design is a massive asset, and competitive advantage, in a world where a hybrid of remote and in-person work is rapidly becoming normalised.
What approach does Curated Content take to online learning to achieve outcomes for businesses?
Learning should be engaging – if not fun. Do you remember the feeling you had when someone handed you a 100-page manual to read? Our goal is to achieve the opposite of that feeling. An online platform provides a great canvas for interactive learning, which is a lot more immersive than the old way of using a highlighter on a page.
Whether it’s students or professionals, our approach is the same: How can we help people connect with this information on a deeper level? How do we make it challenging, but also fun? By combining elements of game-based problem solving, story-telling techniques and competition, we can increase the motivation to learn, and that is a very strong driver of effective learning and retention.
Has the experience of COVID brought optimism into the business and into the community?
After six months working from home, we were all ready to get back to the Curated Content office. One of the big things for us was the validation of the way we like to work. We’re collaborators and we work best, together. The simple joy of being back in the office and standing around a colleague’s screen just trying things on the fly – getting back that sense of casual collaboration was a huge positive for us. We didn’t take it for granted before COVID, but we certainly appreciated it a lot more when we returned to the office.
There was a lot about the pandemic and its effect on business that we had no control over – we had to accept things as they were and try and get on with it. COVID stress-tested vulnerabilities we had as individuals and a business. Coming out the other side has made us more resilient. We’re no longer afraid of bad or unexpected things happening – because they do – and the way we managed ourselves made us realise we’re stronger than we think. That’s a powerful and positive assertion to bring to life and work after COVID, and with it, a quiet kind of optimism. We’ve become more open to change and the opportunities it can bring.
Why are you passionate about people’s mental health and wellbeing and the role communications has to play in helping people and organisations to manage their mental health?
We are slowly moving from suffering in silence to speaking up and talking about it. And we know a lot more about mental health today than we did 15 years ago. I don’t think we’re beyond the stigma and shame around mental health issues completely, but we are well on the way. As leaders of our workplace, we can at least ensure that when people are in our environment, they feel seen and heard. Identifying as LGBTI+ and working in large corporate environments for many years, both Kris and I understood that if a workplace doesn’t cultivate inclusion then our mental health can suffer.
We’ve lived through the sometimes painfully slow process of organisations transitioning towards a more inclusive workplace. From our own experiences we understand we can’t fix everything – but we can fix a lot. Investing in the wellbeing of people doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. It’s about valuing skills of the heart as much as skills of the head. Being approachable, listening and talking openly about struggles we all face goes a long way.
Perpetuating the illusion of having it all is the enemy of good mental health. With all our projects, we try and produce work that reflects the diversity that is the world today through the prism of gender, colour, sexuality, disability and culture.
Advice for future female leaders?
We have a collective responsibility to see women succeed across all levels of the workplace, it’s that simple. Right now, I think we can take our cues from the younger generation of women who are unafraid to call out harassment, bullying and the endless list of discriminatory issues women constantly face in the workplace. This generation of women are reminding us to use our voice, and use it to effect change. Speaking up is everything. It’s inspiring women everywhere.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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