People profile: Lisa Birch, Head of Brand

06 March 2019

Career journey:

I’ve been at 7-Eleven for almost seven years. I joined the company as Slurpee Senior Brand Manager, then moved on to manage the relaunch of all food service lines under the 7-Eleven brand, covering brand positioning, visual identity, packaging design and a new communications platform.  In 2017 I saw an opportunity for 7-Eleven to take a pioneering role in how Australians dispose of takeaway cups.  7-Eleven is the second-biggest coffee retailer in the country, so it’s an area where we contribute to the cups problem and could take responsibility for solving the waste it causes.  Our partnership with Simply Cups has transformed the industry and it has been very rewarding to see the positive impact.

What is the best thing about being a woman?

I find the nature versus nurture debate fascinating, particularly in understanding the differences and commonalities between us.  I love the sisterhood of women and believe our ability to form deep emotional connections is quite special.  I think it makes women more resilient and able to overcome, and even flourish, in times of great adversity. 

What inspires you?

As many do, I get inspiration from reading, from nature and the arts.  I can be inspired by great novels and beautiful pieces of writing but I also have a love for pithy quotes!   I love art in all its forms, from the stunning exhibitions at the NGV to the funny little “nature collections” my children insist on adorning my house porch with.  Most of all, I find inspiration in people’s everyday stories.  I read Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales about six months ago and I am still thinking about it and feeling inspired to appreciate life and live my best life now.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for women when trying to move up or develop their careers?

A challenge for everyone, not only women, is working out how to actively manage your career in a way that makes sense for you.  Being aligned to your company’s direction and values is a critical first step.  Understanding your own strengths, being open-minded to different roles, asking for feedback and having the ‘hard’ conversations are also all part of it.  

What does the theme of #balanceforbetter this International Women’s Day mean to you?

The angles I find most interesting right now are how we ensure a balance in viewpoints in organisations and in politics, which can only be achieved if women, and people from diverse backgrounds, are present at the table. Closer to home, balancing the incredible weight of the mental load or “emotional labour” is critical to ensuring a better balance in households.  And related to this is of course the eternal quest for work-life balance.