Future Women podcast, Episode Lauren Callaway transcript

Lauren Callaway on being seen as 'tough'.

Future Women podcast, Lauren Callaway on being seen as 'tough'.

Listnr app promotion

Everyday, Jimmy and Nath meet funny people. But now, it’s time to sit down with these weirdos, and find out where the funny actually came from. Perhaps we should ask this person. 

Playboy billionaire Dave Thornton, "I did a couple of gigs for like hospitals, and you would get messages then on your social media going “that was genuinely great, thank you.” That’s about the only time I felt like we have an important job. Beyond that I’m in the way of probably people drinking at the bar."

Search Born Funny on the Listnr app. Or wherever you get your podcasts. Listnr. 

Introduction: Helen McCabe

This episode of Future Women Leadership Series, contains references to domestic violence and suicide.

For further information and confidential support, please refer to the show notes.

Hi, I am Helen McCabe. Manager director and founder of FW. 

I began life as a journalist, held senior roles in newspapers, edited Australia’s largest magazine, and in 2018, I launched my own business. 

FW is dedicated to helping women navigate their working lives. But, I've made my share of mistakes, especially as a leader. 

In this series, I go in search of answers to often complex leadership challenges. I explore the latest thinking on how to be a great leader and return to the tried and true methods to better understand what works, and in what situations.

How often have you heard people wonder, if she is tough enough to take the next leadership step. I’ve said it myself, when thinking about a promotion for a team member “is she tough enough?”

The flip side as many of you will know, is that woman are often derided for being too tough, one of the boys, not having the necessary feminine qualities to be likeable. These are tricky questions when you are navigating your own leadership style.

My guest today is, on paper at least, tough. Lauren Callaway is Assistant Commissioner at Victoria Police, and in this episode, we discuss how to be just tough enough, and how to develop you own reputation for being firm enough to take the next promotion. And why policing is increasingly appealing to women.

Helen McCabe

Lauren, welcome to the leadership series. You started life like so many of us as a journalist. Can you talk a bit about your path from journalism, which is where I began, if listeners aren't aware to becoming a police officer?

Lauren Callaway

Okay, well, I have to declare up front I didn't want to be a journalist either. I wanted to be an artist. 

Helen McCabe

Did you? 

Lauren Callaway

Yeah. And I'd left mainstream education to go into. They don't even have it anymore. But it was an alternative year 12 program called Tertiary Orientation Programme, and it was all art subjects. And my parents were mortified because I was a straight A student, and English was probably one of the things I was pretty good at, and I ended up doing well in art and got into university and got into actually to ceramics at Swinburne.

 And my parents, who were divorced but united on this front, said, "if you think you're going to Melbourne, throwing a little bit of mud around, going to some parties and calling it art, that isn't happening, young lady, you're going to get a job".

Because I was I did enjoy having a good time as a 17 year old. And so they kind of put the kibosh on that career. My dad was a policeman at the time in Latrobe Valley. My mum was a teacher and a job came up at the local newspaper and he sort of just put me up for it. And I wasn't really given much choice in the in the process. And anyway, so I started finished year 12 and when started at the newspaper as a cadet journalist and I quit three times in four years, I didn't like that either.

Lauren Callaway

But what I did enjoy was police rounds, and I loved the stories because he was in the in the CIB, the Criminal Investigation Bureau, they used to call it at that point. And, um, the stories about catching crooks and having fun and I really liked all that. And so I thought maybe I could join the police force. 

So I finished at the newspaper on the Friday, started at the Academy on the Monday and in. But in that preceding year I had failed the physical examination three times. I think I got it on the third time in those days. They had this obstacle course that was really designed to keep short women out of the police force. 

So many of us failed it, and I had to, like, do a lot of work to because I was five foot four and still am five foot four, probably shrinking, um, to get over these walls and these hurdles, you know, which were designed to replicate chasing a crook over a back fence or jumping into a pit, a railway pit and getting out the other side, you know, all the sort of tactical things that I've really hardly ever done in my career.

Helen McCabe

I, I'm personally, I'm just going to say as a journalist, I had to work very hard to get into journalism and found it very difficult to get, you know, into the degree and then get into a cadet ship, like all powder you for just falling into journalism. But secondly, I'm outraged on your behalf and my own about short women not being like it was deliberately designed to stop you.

Lauren Callaway

They called that wall the great equalizer. And it was.

Helen McCabe

Um, so let's look at the commonly held attitudes about what it might be like for a woman in the police force. What challenges did you discover? You know, once you got over the wall, you know, what was there on the other side?

Lauren Callaway

Well, I think I think the hardest thing that I had to come to grips with really quickly was the hierarchy of the organization. So, you know, coming in as a lowly trainee, first constable and we're going back 30 years now. It wasn't really encouraged to have an opinion on things or to be confident. And my parents, apart from as children, we were raised to be seen and not heard. 

But once we got into our older years and my parents separated, my mum was really into empowered decision making. And so I had been raised to have an opinion and to express it and to be quite forthright, and I have no doubt that I showed those traits, probably good traits to be a police officer. 

But the bit you kind of have to harness is when you bring out those weapons in the in the working environment. And certainly in those first couple of years, I did struggle a lot with what was going on around me. And, um, I quickly figured out I had to kind of get in the gang with the policeman and try to go along with how they policed. Now this, as I said, this is back in the 1990s. And so they were the dominant culture in policing, and you had to fit in with that culture, or it could be quite difficult.

Helen McCabe

So what techniques did you employ to fit in?

Lauren Callaway

Well, I believe I became very masculine in my way that I operated so decisive. Tough would be a word unemotional. I had a dad who was a policeman, so I suppose I had a bit of an insight on how you had to act, and I definitely acted. That was definitely how I approached those first few years. I assimilated with the dominant culture. I got along very well with men. I still love the company of men. 

Um, in fact, I've been married three times. I think I've proven it. Um, and I found that when I did it the way the men did it, then everything went really well, and I just zipped a few of those opinions about things that I didn't like or things that challenged me.

Helen McCabe

Was there any moment where you realised that you had had to do that and you could lead quite differently?

Lauren Callaway

Yes. And I often talk about leadership from the perspective of surviving. I would say the first five years are survive. Just do what you got to do to get along with how things are running. Then there's a transition period and then there's a thriving period. And in that transition period, there were things I had to let go of. In fact, I have actually personality traits that are very different to that. And so those traits are the ones that have me sitting here today as an assistant commissioner. But I didn't know that at the time. 

And I think I actually had to sort of turn back towards who I really am, which is quite a creative, uh, emotional person who has different, has values that drive my decision making. And those things were actually once. I got to the rank of sergeant, which was seven years in, and I got a little bit of authority to set the scene and the tone of, of the policing environment. Well, then I really sort of found my way and, and I actually felt way more comfortable with my career choice.

Helen McCabe

What is Victoria Police doing that's different, if anything, to make policing more appealing to women today?

Lauren Callaway

Oh, look, I often say to people, we have gone through the most significant cultural change in the last ten years that I've seen over the 30 year journey, and obviously a lot of that was prompted by the VEOHRC review. We are creating safe workplaces for women. We have flexible working practices. We have a really inclusive model. I think for people there isn't that pressure to fit in with where we all have to be the same. 

And I also think that the leadership psyche has changed as well, the appointment of leaders. And I'll give you a good example. When I first became a superintendent, I was one of four women. Now that was only in 2016, so not that long ago. Now we have many women, so four out of 80. 

Now we would probably have 30 out of 100. So that that in itself is demonstrating that the organisation is seeing itself differently, appointing different people who think differently, who have different values and bringing a far more diverse, um, model to the organisation.

Helen McCabe

Before I move back to your leadership style and experiences, can you just perhaps capture, you know, the benefits of. Moving from ceramics from journalism into the role that you have today. You've obviously had an incredible, incredible career and a very interesting one. Let me just sell us the concept of going into policing a little bit because I, as a journalist, agree the idea of. The bad guys and the investigation piece is incredibly interesting to me.

Lauren Callaway

Yeah. And look, I think I went in not really having a good understanding of what was on offer before me. I know when I joined my mum wasn't very happy, but she said, are you going to go into the media side of policing?

I said, no, I'm not going to do that. I've just done that. I'm going to go and do something totally different. And I loved uniform policing. I loved the tempo of a station and new shift every day, catching crooks, all that sort of stuff. That was terrific. But what I didn't appreciate was that there were 100 jobs in front of me that I could choose from, and I've ultimately landed in a career that's very oriented towards what I would call specialist harm. 

And it is harm that occurs towards children, women, vulnerable communities. So sexual assault, child abuse, family violence. And that's kind of repeated itself in my career. But I didn't know those jobs were on offer. I didn't even think about them at the time.

And so when I say to women, if you are intelligent and you've got sophisticated thinking about what makes people safe or what's inherently fair in society, then this is the job for you. I didn't realise it would become, you know, the forum where I could do all those things. 

And the other thing is that my creative side, because I like to redesign how we police, you know, think about policing models in different ways, start things from scratch where there's no like, you know, we might get a piece of legislation and we don't even know how we're going to do it, so we can build it from the ground up. All of those things I've been able to achieve in policing. 

So yes, I've worked in intelligence and I've worked in investigations. I've worked in what was ethical standards. It's now professional standards. I was out at the academy. So the biggest selling point to me is if you would like 100 jobs in one and a and a constant evolving career pathway, then Victoria Police is the place to come.

Helen McCabe

And you can see the, um, the shift and feel the shift when you get more women into leadership positions in any organisation. So I think it's worth, um, just telling the story then that I had I probably just a couple of days ago about someone whose family member had committed suicide and the family of that person were overwhelmed with gratitude to the police. 

And you know what I'm talking about, don't you, um, had gone to considerable trouble to present their loved one at the scene in a way that was not confronting, was incredibly thoughtful, that the family were overwhelmed by it.

Like they just they went in expecting the worst. But the police and I'm going to, you know, be very gendered here and assume there were women involved in presenting the family member in a way, with the simple things like a hand out able to be held if the family wanted to do that, is that the sorts of things that you're seeing happening in policing? Because I hadn't heard of that before. And obviously I'm I don't have a lot of cause to be around victims of crime anymore in my current role.

Lauren Callaway

I agree that is a sign of the shifting culture. I'm not surprised that by that story, I think the human side of police officers is very much given permission today to be on show, to connect with people who are suffering from very traumatic experiences. But I'll give you the contrast. When I first joined and I remember the first family violence incident that I went to, and I was the junior female officer, so I had to sort of be to the side. And the senior male police officer was running the show, which is as it was. 

And we went to this job and he and it was called in by the neighbour there was yelling and screaming at the house, and the woman answered the door whilst he was talking to her. And I was sort of listening and observing to figure out, okay, how is he going to work through this? 

Because she wouldn't let us in the house. And I was concentrating on him and her conversation so much that I didn't even notice until this. I had felt something beside me, and I looked down, and this little three year old in their pyjamas had come out from behind her mother and grabbed onto my police pants, my legs, and kind of held my hand.

And I thought to myself, oh my God, what has gone on in this house that this little person has now come and aligned themselves to a stranger, because that's where they feel safe. Now, back then, the success of the job was how quickly can we resolve it and get the van back on the road? Do the minimum reports and off we go. 

Now fast forward and Victoria Police officers will do a 39 question risk assessment. They will look to see what children are there, who's at most in need of safety and risk, the emotional side of family violence. 

And I know this because I talk to police officers all the time. It's one of the reasons why they joined the job, to make people feel safe, to make children feel safe, to help people find a way out of their misery. So it's just a it's totally a totally different ball game today. And I often think, gosh, there's so many people who are probably contemplating becoming a social worker come to Victoria Police, the kind of work that will really fill you with satisfaction and give you tangible cases every day where you can actually see the difference you're making to people's lives. That's in policing.

Helen McCabe

Let's talk about the concept of being tough. Are you considered tough as a leader today?

Lauren Callaway

Well, it's hard to kind of describe yourself. I would say this I use I don't use the word tough, but I have asked people, do you think I'm tough? And they've said, well, yeah, you are. Um, my mother in particular, uh, she thinks I'm ruthless. Um, but what I would say is I always considered myself an interventionist, so not on my watch. So whenever something would happen, or even as a junior police officer, people would tell me something and I'd think, no, not on my watch.

That's not happening. That's not right now. 

And this kind of leads into my leadership style. So I did a lot of that in the in the early years. And I think that's where that toughness and reputation fall. And Lauren's not going to put up with that kind of stuff came from. But over the years, I think I got a little bit more sophisticated about it. 

And I thought more around what kind of a leader do I want to be? I want to be aspirational. For starters, if the leader doesn't believe that we can be better, we will do better. Then we're in trouble. We're all in trouble. So I really dialled up the aspiration.

Lauren Callaway

I wanted to be accessible, and I'm not talking about, oh, my door is always open stuff actually proactively creating opportunities where we would have conversations and, and the strategic direction would become really clear to the team and everyone would understand, right. This is this is what we're trying to achieve. And then the other element was values based decision making. 

And I wasn't talking about org values or, you know, a chart on a wall. I was talking about the values that meant something to me. And one of them was respect. One of them was professionalism. And the third one was inclusion, because I can't stand the idea that anyone would come to work. 

Just like you're in the playground at school and you are excluded from what's going on, I just can't stand it. So when I did those three things more and more, so I would say as a young sergeant, I was 50% intervention, 50% the rest. Now it's about 10% intervention. If I do the other three things all the time, every day, I have to do less of the intervention stuff, so I don't have to be so tough.

Helen McCabe

Did you ever come up against the concept of. Yeah, Lauren's nice. She's very likeable, but I don't know that she's tough enough for the next step. Did that happen to you or were you? You did, you did tough pretty well.

Lauren Callaway

Um, I think I can do a pretty good tough impersonation when I need to. And I have certainly had times where other police officers have said to me, you know, you need to be tough on this. You need to hold the line and all that. And I'm like, yeah, that's not an issue. Of course I can do that. But I did get feedback at one stage. 

Oh, it was brutal. Um, a very senior policewoman said to me, you, young lady, you've had some very fast promotions. You need to go and put that uniform on and go back out and, you know, be a police officer, do certain things, go back and fill some gaps. And I took it. I said, yep, okay. Fair enough. 

Um, and it kind of highlighted, though, that often in policing you will be judged on what you aren't versus what you are.

So there's always that that gap. And I think as women we know the gaps. We probably throw them out there before anyone can throw them at us. Goes to this confidence piece around constantly thinking, I need to be better. I need to do more to be considered equal with my counterparts. And I can't say I've ever had a conversation with a policeman where he has shown the same concern or reflection about his gaps.

Helen McCabe

Yeah, that is very interesting. And a couple of things come to mind. One, that there is a tendency of the 20 year old, the Gen Z to be in a hurry. And this is not really gender specific to kind of just jump the jump the ladder. And they've been able to because the market has been responding in that way. 

And there a number of interviews I've done with senior recruitment HR executives, Sian Lewis is an excellent one. Her advice to young women is to go and get the skills because it is harder to go back. So take the time to get the skills and don't jump too many, don't jump too many rungs. But equally, you're right. 

Uh, a young man on the move often doesn't face the same challenges around whether they've ticked all the boxes. Tell me. When you went back, how did you approach it and how long did you stay feeling the gaps?

Lauren Callaway

Well, I went back out into operational land, as we call it, as an inspector, out down Glen Eira Bayside way. And before I went there, I kind of made a list of who would be the phone-a-friend people I needed to talk to understand what are the risks, what are the issues? What are the pitfalls for people when you're out running? Because Glen Eira Bayside is a is a very big lack. 

It's two local government areas. And so I picked about five people, went and saw them, got some really good advice prepped. I'm one of those people that preps myself. So I had this we have a kit when we go out for one we call the 150, the patrol supervisor, um, at inspector level, and I prepped myself for every possible thing that could happen, none of which happened. Um, but that's what gives me confidence. 

So people often say to me, oh, you look like you're doing it effortlessly. And I'm like, oh, you have no idea. I have to do my due diligence in the background. I have to have my policies, procedures, my what if this happens scenarios right in my head so that I know what to do when it happens. 

I will say this one thing. I have always felt pretty confident in my decision making, and so I was never afraid to make a decision, and I think that held me in good stead. Yeah, it might not have been the best decision, but I always had a rationale and I'm very much into defensible decision making principles. So I if I'm going to make a big call on something then I'll, I'll have documented it. 

I'll have, have understood the pros and cons and I'll approach it, I suppose, with a bit of a decision making framework in my head as to why I'm going to make the call, because a lot of policing is around your risk appetite. And I think in that regard, being a police officer gives you a high level for risk. You know, you know, it's not an option to do nothing. You have got to get in and do something.

Helen McCabe

Have you? Have you then had the likeability? I mentioned it earlier, but have you had the likeability question? Have you, you know, felt that, oh, I need to be more likable or I want people to like me. Like, I mean, I actually was in an earlier interview today and I was saying it's a it's a lifelong struggle for women to kind of come to terms with the fact that it's okay to not be likable.

Lauren Callaway

Yeah. Look I certainly from because I got to sergeant pretty quickly like say the seven year mark and then senior sergeant at the nine year mark. I got a lot of angst from my peers. I was appealed at every promotion, every rank. Only by men, and they were pretty overt in their dislike for me. So I have lived with being unlikeable for a while. Um, not so much now. I mean.

Helen McCabe

Not so much now.

Lauren Callaway

Yeah, well, I think if someone doesn't like me, they're not going to say it these days. But in those formative years. Oh, they said it. They said it to my face. They said it in appeal hearings. It was it was difficult.

Helen McCabe

What did they say?

Lauren Callaway

Well, people made phone calls and then they said, we've heard she's a bitch. She's this, she's that, you know, all that sort of stuff. And I had a couple of emails sent and in fact, my last promotion when I got to the inspector rank and it was it was a detective inspector's position. 

I hadn't been a detective as a junior person. And one of the appellants made the argument in the appeal hearing that Lauren represents a risk to the organization. If you put her into this role, she hasn't done A, B, and C again, this is what you haven't done, more so than what you've done. Clearly I held on to the role. Obviously I showed the right potential and skills to be at that managerial level. 

But you know, he rang me afterwards. He said, oh, it's not personal. I said, it is very personal what you said, and I don't think you can just ride out on it's not personal, but I'm lucky. I come from a family, as I say, who gave me a lot of confidence. And I often think about people who don't have that. I've got the, you know, the cheer squad behind me saying, you go, girl, you can do it. 

Nothing is off the table for you. But if you don't have that cheer squad behind you, then I think setbacks in your career or when you aren't liked it, it can be devastating. So I recognise it can have a huge impact on someone. If you haven't got a place to go back to where you are liked and you are supported.

Helen McCabe

So you go through that experience on a couple of occasions. What? And I think this is really helpful for people to understand. What did you do in the aftermath? What were the tools and techniques? 

I mean, you obviously took on your adversary front on you had the conversation, I'm guessing from your profession that that's a fairly standard encounter that you're more likely to have, or you're as likely to have a front on discussion as you are to, you know, hear about the gossip in the corridors. Yeah. Um, yeah. Talk me through what you did in the aftermath of those awful experiences.

Lauren Callaway

Yeah. It's interesting, I think. Part of me definitely packaged them up and put them to the side. Um, I was really lucky because the way I was approaching my career seemed to be working well. I got promoted very quickly and had some real success, and often people who worked for me would say, oh, I heard that she, you know, I heard that you could be a dragon and now I'm working for you. It's completely different. 

Um, and I said, well, you just can't believe all the hype, you know? So I knew that there was a difference between reality and then the narrative that had kind of jumped and leapt and made its way through policing.

So I was pretty confident about my style of working and that people did actually enjoy working with me. And we did great things. There's lots of lots of success came to the work groups that that I was in. So there was a bit about packaging up the negativity and not letting it bring me down.

Over time though, I went back and revisited it and reflected on. Some of the things, some of the coping mechanisms, I suppose, that were probably very masculine to just keep going. My dad had said to me really early on in my career, you know, don't you, don't you ever show that they're getting the better of you? And in fact, I was I nearly pulled out of a sergeant's course once for no other reason than I didn't think I could do it.

Lauren Callaway

I thought I was too junior, I hadn't had the right experience, and I had a panic attack. At the academy actually in the. And I rang him and I said, oh dad, I'm pulling out. I'm going to do I'm going to do this again. I'd passed the exam, but I didn't think I could practically be a really good sergeant. 

And he said to me, don't you dare, young lady. You look around that room and you, you tell me who is smarter than you. You know, you've got this. You can do it. Do not let anyone else intimidate you. You just go out there. And I was a little bit more frightened of him than quitting. So that was kind of the tipping point, or letting him down. 

And I always remember that because I thought, you know, there was a couple of times where I thought, oh, I need to get back in my box. I need to retreat and be a smaller target. And I was lucky. I was lucky that I had people who believed in me and certain other police colleagues who were very, very supportive about my vision, about what I wanted to achieve and about my style. 

And I'll have to say, I got as much positive feedback as I got negative. As soon as I sort of got past that sergeant rank, and then I was fine after that.

Helen McCabe

Once they knew you're unstoppable, they might as well have got on board.

Lauren Callaway

Well, I used to say to people my influencing style I've had to work on because my original style was, I'm right, you're wrong, and I'm just going to smother you with my rightness. And if you didn't get it the first time, I'm going to give it to you again and again. And you're not going to leave this meeting until you realize how right I am now. That is a style that can only take you so far, so I definitely had to work on that one.

Helen McCabe

I have a funny conversation along those lines with a very close colleague at FW who, um, acknowledges that that's her style as well. Um, and that it's her family that's had to kind of point that out to her, possibly, you know, going to run out of effectiveness at some point. 

Shout out to your dad, too. That is a very good dad. Not everyone's got a dad like that who just says, no, you can do it. So great story. What leadership skills do you think? Are a bit overrated. Like ones that if you kind of hear someone say, and this is again, this is just from me interviewing. 

I think we've interviewed over 100 people for this podcast. So, you know, I get some pretty consistent answers, and I'm starting to formulate some strong views about leadership skills that I think are overrated.

Lauren Callaway

Okay, I think I've got two. The first one is, and I cringe every time I hear it, when people say I lead from the front. I think. What does that mean? And if you look behind you and everyone's got a look on their face like this, that means you're leading at the front is not working. 

So I don't I don't connect with that. I think it's this arrogant assumption that you're doing it perfectly and everyone else just has to fall into line. So there's that, that one. The other thing, which I really believed for many years, I used to think of the police force as a pyramid and that. 

Everyone at the next level above must be a little bit more smarter than the people underneath, and then the people above. 

That must be a little bit smarter, smarter, and a little bit smarter. And going on that principle, then the Chief Commissioner was the smartest person in the police force, and everyone else was just a little bit under, and it cascaded down. 

I actually don't think that anymore. What I think is that the people who are in leadership positions are really clever at and, and the ones that are fantastic at it bring together a team that helps them achieve certain things. So I don't think it's an IQ, you know, rating. And we go from smartest to least smartest. I don't think the smartest person in the room is the person that that needs to be the leader.

In fact, some of the leadership traits that I've really connected with is people who are very good at drawing out the smart ideas from the group, and that everyone in the group can actually see themselves in the work we're doing. 

And I've seen that in policing. Now, um, in senior leadership groups where everyone gets a say and everyone has a contributes, not because we're running a democracy, but because they've all got their different ideas and, and values and thinking that they bring to the table. And I've learned some really fundamental things because someone else with a different thinking style shared it with me.

Helen McCabe

How do you manage stress? And a subpart to this question is the trauma that you will have witnessed and experienced in your career.

Lauren Callaway

I really try very hard to have a balanced life now. Balanced life sounds a bit kind of, you know, everyone's trying for that. Everyone talks about a work life balance. But certainly my lifestyle in policing has enabled that the leave, the, um, generous remuneration. I've travelled the world, I've had some fantastic experiences and I've always tried to maintain that Victoria Police is not the centre of my universe. 

There are other aspects of my life that I need to keep going and, um, make sure that's what I'm talking about in that balance. So I do eat the cake, I do buy the shoes. I do get the passport out and off we go. So I know at the end of this career and I'm 30 years in, I'm going, I'm not going to walk away feeling like I missed out on anything. 

And I, and I wish lots of people would employ that, that thinking to whatever their career is. As for the trauma, certainly there's been times in my career where I've had to do and see things that were difficult, um, I think. I think I've been very lucky to have a attitude around. Physical exercise.

Lauren Callaway

I've always exercised around not drinking too much. I do drink a fair bit in the first few years, but then I thought, nah, that doesn't suit me. So I let go of it. I have prioritized sleep, really good sleep, which is hard in the first few years when you're doing shift work. But those three things diet, exercise and sleep. 

I mean, it's they're pretty boring list, but, gee, they make you feel good when you're boring. And I've also in my in my family, in my personal life and in my working environment, I've really tried to make mental health repair just a normal thing. Go for a run. You need a mental health day. Go do this, go do that.

And that's another thing that I would say over the last probably ten years in policing, we have had a huge shift, positive shift in the way we talk about mental health, the way we treat people who need to have mental health leave. I think it's revolutionary where we came from to where we are today. It is very much accepted that your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Helen McCabe

Lauren, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today. Love exploring leadership with you. Really keen to see where your career takes you next given your meteoric rise. Really grateful that you've been able to be so candid about your leadership experiences. Thank you.

Lauren Callaway

Thank you.