"I learnt that what I really wanted to do was help other people. "

For fifteen years, Lois Keay-Smith has been a leader in the field of career counseling. But before she helped people along their career path, she had to walk her own.

Lois began her career in financial services, including insurance, corporate relations and superannuation. This experience was a solid foundation, but Lois felt something was missing.

“I wanted something more involved with people that explored why they do what they do. I had already worked in PR, and had interests in HR and psychology, but none of those was quite right. In the end, the power was in combining elements of each.”

In order to discover her true calling, Lois spent two years researching and read more than 20 career books.

“I learnt that what I really wanted to do was help other people figure out what they wanted to do – and much faster than I had myself. So I became a career counsellor.”

To achieve this, Lois did a Masters in Career Development, then took the big step of starting her own business. In her fifteen years of career development, she has worked with individual clients and organisations including Western Force (working with players to develop careers after leaving the sport) and Redkite (helping people with their careers after cancer treatment).

Lois is an Alumna of the 2012 Signature Leadership Program.

“The Leadership WA Signature program helped me re-examine my beliefs about leadership, exposed me to real issues across Western Australia and facilitated connections that continue to broaden and deepen my network of leaders who truly care about this state and its people.”

Key to Lois’s role as a career practitioner is the skill of creativity. This, she says, helps her guide people to unpack their attributes and better understand their potential.

“I help people open their eyes to the different ways they can work. I help people think outside the box of what they’re doing.”

Tied to the skills of creativity is what Lois believes to be the important attribute leaders can have: courage.

“Being courageous is important. Leaders need to try new things and back themselves.”