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Kiwi Podcast Deep-Dive #1:

The Female Career

24 September 2022

In the first of our series of Kiwi Podcast Deep-dives, we share an interview with Anna Johnstone, an entrepreneur and podcaster whose business coaches women to develop in their careers and supports organisations to improve their gender balance.

NZPA: What can new listeners expect from The Female Career?

Anna: Each of the 70+ episodes features an inspiring woman of Aotearoa New Zealand sharing the twists and turns of her career journey in a relaxed conversation. CEOs, jewellers, farmers, finance managers, entrepreneurs, board directors, doctors....and everything in between! Each woman shares the path to where they are today, the challenges they faced to get there, and their career advice for other women.

NZPA: Tell us about yourself. What made you want to be a podcaster? 

Anna: I run a business called The Female Career, which coaches women to develop in their careers and supports organisations to improve their gender balance. I wanted to create a podcast because a) it's a free resource that anyone in Aotearoa can listen to b) busy women can listen while they're multitasking e.g. walking, gardening or commuting and c) because I wanted to hear the women themselves to tell their own stories in their own voices. Ultimately, I wanted other girls and women to learn something and feel inspired by these real career stories - not the glossy ones you might read in a magazine. I have absolutely loved doing it and have learnt so much from every single woman - it has been such a privilege.

NZPA: You’ve met some really inspirational women on your podcast. What has been your favourite interview/conversation and why?

It's too difficult to pick just one - that would be like choosing your favourite child! I've loved every single one and have felt so humbled that these amazing kiwi women would so openly share their career stories. Some of my most memorable bits include:

- MP Louisa Wall talking about how she has coped with the criticism and online vitriol she has received, in particular as a Māori, lesbian woman

- Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams, co-CEOs of Sharesies, about reinventing how tech start ups work and creating a culture of belonging

- Komal Mistry, Global Business Unit Director at Fonterra about how she tries to overcome those self-doubts that still pop up

- Andrea Jewell, co-Founder of Fix & Fogg nut butters about why she swapped being a lawyer for being an entrepreneur

NZPA: Which tools/equipment and platforms do you use for producing and distributing your podcast?

Anna: I use Squadcast for recording and as the distribution platform. I love my Shure MV7 microphone - it made a huge difference to the sound quality. I use for transcripts as this helps me choose where I might want to make some minor edits. I realised early on that producing a great sounding episode wasn't my strength so I have a wonderful sound engineer who helps with that side of things.

NZPA: How has the success of your podcast impacted your business?

My aim with The Female Career podcast was always about social impact - reaching as many women and girls as possible. I set a goal of 10,000 downloads in year 1 - this felt super-ambitious as I'd never made or distributed a podcast before. Delighted to say we are now at close to 40,000 downloads in just over a year - I still can't believe it! However, it has definitely helped on the business front. Women listen to the podcast and then may think of me if they're looking for a leadership or career coach - they've also heard a bit of my style too. 

NZPA: Apart from The Female Career, what’s your favourite kiwi podcast and why?

Anna: There are so many fantastic kiwi podcasts. One of my favourites at the moment is Nuku by the incredibly inspiring Qiane Matata-Sipu. In her words the series features "100 kickass indigenous women doing things differently"

NZPA: If you could recommend one must-listen episode of The Female Career what would it be (please include a link)?

Anna: We recently pulled out the reflections of 5 of our podcast guests about how they find that elusive balance between work and their broader lives. It's fair to say nobody has balance nailed! But each woman shares their own personal approach, challenges and reflections - from Caroline Rainsford, Country Director for Google New Zealand to Traci Houpapa, Professional Director and Chair of the Federation of Māori Authorities

Anna Johnstone is Founder & CEO of The Female Career, which coaches and inspires women to thrive in their careers and supports organisations to improve their gender balance. 

Anna also hosts the #1 ranking podcast The Female Career, which shares the career stories of NZ women. She brings over 17 years of international HR, talent and commercial experience with Shell and Mars, as well as start-ups and not-for-profit organisations.  She holds an MSc in Applied Psychology and an MBA from IMD Business School.  Originally from New Zealand, she has recently returned home to Christchurch and is passionate about helping talented women reach their potential.

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