Kellie Millar

Recruitment Manager, Space & Time

1. Who was your favourite teacher at school and what did you learn from that person?

I had an art teacher, Mrs Vangeloff. You could classify her as my first work coach. She saw that I was very good at art and helped me to develop my portfolio that got me into college. She would give me an assignment and I’d go off and paint. I’d show her the work, and she’d give me some more. It was fun and easy doing what I loved to do. She helped me believe in my talents and my creative gifts. She was always encouraging and supportive. I also successfully got into college because of the guidance that Mrs Vangeloff gave me and my talent. She used to love wearing tights that had diamond patterns on them and I’d go into the city and get her a pair as a gift. Every time I see a person wearing diamond tights, I always think about my beautiful teacher and what she did for me.

2. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?

It’s the day I fell into recruitment. I had been temping for a small recruitment agency and one day, I was asked to come and help in the office. I was soon successfully filling roles into the clients I had been working with using my inside knowledge of their businesses and contacts. I also learned how to run the business when my boss went off on maternity leave. This experience then helped me to get a job within a publishing recruitment agency to start a desk up from scratch. I built a small team and was able to build relationships with the entire publishing industry and get a lot of free books! Since going through the menopause, and my love of books, I’ve also become like a mini scientist! I am now writing my own book, a teaching memoire around my experience with menopause to enter a writing competition!

3. At what age did you become an adult? How did you know?

I left home when I was 16. I lived in a small apartment with my mother and younger sister. There was a lot of fighting in the house. My mother worked hard and didn’t need the stress so I thought I’d go out on my own, have peace and no more fighting. It was a big step and a lesson in how to actually look after myself and also build a community of supportive people who would help me and whilst I continued my education. I also had an opportunity to move continents and I took it. I’ve been living in the UK ever since and love it here, and have a wonderful relationship with my family!

4. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

Menopausing by Davina McCall

Davina partnered with Dr Naomi Potter to create a positive road map to your second spring. Davina shares her own experience with menopause as well as stories of people’s experiences to be able to teach others. This book offers a lot of helpful resources. There’s a page at the back called menopause warriors which gives people websites and links to trusted services where they can get more information and support. Dr Naomi Potter also gives medical insights throughout the book using her expert knowledge.

“The Definitive Guide to the Perimenopause and Menopause” by Dr Louise Newson

I actually attended her book launch and listened to her share her story about her own experiences with perimenopause and menopause. She almost gave up her menopause practice when she was experiencing symptoms. She actually thought it was Lymphomic cancer. Dr Louise gives her expert advice in this book in easy-to-read ways.

“XX Brain” by Dr Lisa Moscone

Dr Lisa Moscone is a neuroscientist and director of the Alzheimers Prevention Clinic. She has many women in her family who suffered with dementia. She did a lot of research on the brain as well as how the brain affects menopausal symptoms. In this book she offers really simple tips including diet and supplements which are easy to follow, can improve brain health and possibly prevent dementia.

5. Name a person you admire and explain why you hold them in high esteem?

Tony Robbins. He’s a fireball of energy and inspiration his words and wisdom are always positive, motivational and upbeat. He started with nothing and worked his way into being the business and the brand that he is today, inspiring people all across the world and feeding families with the profits he makes. He’s also into providing menopause awareness and has some amazing medical Drs speaking at his events.

6. If you wrote a user manual for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?

I’ve come to learn that menopause can cause the brain to become overwhelmed when it gets a lot of information in it. I had someone phone me and just said “hi it’s me, Tom”. I was like, “who”? I became really confused. I was really busy and had a lot of things on my plate and I didn’t recognise this person’s name. It would have been really helpful if this person could have said “it’s Tom, this is where I’m from, and this is what I want to talk about”. This would help with giving me some focus and clarity. I’d really like it if people could schedule in zoom calls with me rather than being spontaneous. I can be caught off guard and can exasperate my anxiety. It gives me a moment to think and plan a conversation and be at ease in the chat.

7. What personality trait has got you in the most trouble? What kind of trouble does it get you in?

I can be quite opinionated and have a big mouth this can sometimes rub people up the wrong way but now I’m sitting here on your podcast being an advocate for menopause I’m trying to help people in whatever way I can. I think people pleasing. It’s something that’s important to me. I like to deliver and offer an excellent service. However, it can cause me to push myself, overwork, get overwhelmed and not take care of me. I’ve become excellent at planning time in my day to take care of myself too. I also eat regular meals as during menopause, blood sugar can fall and before you know it, lead to feeling anxious and low in energy.

8. In current industry conversation, what is an example of making a mountain out of a molehill?

In terms of menopause, I think it’s around the discussion around HRT. There’s still a lot of scaremongering about it. HRT isn’t for everyone, but it can make a big difference to a person’s health if they’re really struggling with menopause symptoms. I can certainly talk from my own experience of using HRT. From the moment I started taking it, I was sleeping better and my night sweats disappeared and I had more clarity and less anxiety. I’ve also learned from my use of it, HRT can be an experiment to get it right. There are also a lot of different forms and dosages available, it’s not a one size all prescription. There’s a lot of information in the books I recommended, which you can also talk to your Drs about. If your Dr tries to fob you off, or give you anti-depressants, then don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. We are all in charge of our own health. I think it’s the topic around AI taking over our jobs. I think AI is a wonderful innovation and I’m curious to see how it evolves and grows and what it turns into. It’s also a really creative tool that I love using.

9. When was the last time you felt like an outsider in the group what/ how did you learn?

Going through the menopause can be a really confusing time. The symptoms can really sneak up on you. I didn’t know it was because our fertility hormones decline and can even change you as a person, going from hot flushes, itchy skin, heavy bleeding, migraines and also depression and anxiety. When you don’t know what’s going on it’s hard to talk about with your colleagues and you don’t know what it is. You don’t want people to think you’re crazy. But I learned it’s really important just to share what’s going on with you no matter what. It is because people are always open to listen and give guidance and help. It also helps to write what’s going on, down as you can also take this information to your DR. By having a list already written down, you’ll be able to go through these in the short 10 minutes you’ve got. If you’re struggling, do take a friend with you too, they can take notes, and ask questions. I was in a temp job once, where people weren’t as welcoming or friendly. I was taken on to take the pressure off the team and they were supposed to delegate work to me. When they didn’t despite me asking, I found my own things to do and just became proactive. I instantly felt the vibe of “you don’t belong here” and I knew that wasn’t a place for me.

10. What’s the last image on your camera roll? Care to explain?

I went to hear Eckhart Tolle speak at the Royal Festival Hall in London. He wrote “The Power of Now”. He talked about how we are all consumed by our phones and devices and not really being present with each other anymore. I’m now tripping over people texting as they walk. I’m on a train as the sun is setting and people are missing the beauty of it because they are buried in their phones. I’ve learned on my own menopause journey to appreciate those little magic moments in life, like catching site of a rainbow, and really listening when a person is talking to me.

11. What would be the perfect gift somebody could buy you right now?

A telescope. I like looking up into the universe, and learning about the planets, it helps to put life and problems into perspective. I interviewed for a role with the Greenwich Observatory and did a presentation about Mars, using only props, no slides. Ask me anything about Mars, well, almost anything!

12. What’s the one bad quality you wouldn’t mind in a colleague? Why?

I think someone who’s nosy, who’s in my business. Having someone like this around is actually a good thing. It shows that they’re curious and that they care and if there’s something going on with you they’ll be able to spot it.

13. What role do you find yourself playing when you join a newly formed team? Can you explain why this happens

When there’s a new group of people altogether for the first time, I find myself to be the icebreaker. I’ll start with sharing a personal story about myself, get people to relate to me, feel relaxed and it also helps them to open up and get everybody sharing.

14. What is the optimal number of people in a team with you in it. What roles are those people playing?

Some people don’t feel safe or don’t have enough trust to talk to their managers. A company can set up a menopause committee, made up of people who want to be trained and educated. The committee can be an initial first point of contact for employees struggling. They can speak to your manager, and implement any menopause policies, like reasonable adjustments, and even hiring a temp to take the pressure off for a while. Menopause needs a holistic approach. It helps to have the right doctor who’s open to looking after you. Exercise is really important. Find people who like going for a walk, or even get a dog or just dance! Find a nutritionist who can show you the right foods to eat. I believe in complementary therapies like having a massage. It’s also really important to have friends and family around you that you can open up with and share.

15. When it comes to our work and industry, what scares you most?

There’s a lot of competition in recruitment and people can sometimes forget about others and become more concerned about themselves, if people see someone as weak and suffering. They may try to take advantage rather than show empathy. People can also make assumptions about people when they don’t really know them, especially if someone may need to work from home more often if they are struggling with menopause symptoms. Sometimes things can also be quite process driven and dehumanised. Recruitment is also a people business and we’re all in the industry because we care. Let’s continue driving that care with our colleagues too, keeping the focus on Diversity Equity & Inclusion and disability confidence. We can all keep up to date on the emerging trends in employment law too.

16. Name one person you would like to read these answers to. What was your relationship with them and what is the reason they should read these answers?

I’d like my current manager Nicki Thornley to read these. She’s the HR Director at Space & Time. She’d already had a menopause policy in place when I joined as well as a support group who meet up once a month. She cares a lot about the employees in her business and has also been supportive and kind when I’ve been suffering with menopause symptoms. I’m sure she’d be proud of me being an advocate for menopause in the workplace on your podcast, Hung!

17. What is your biggest professional regret? What do you think might have happened otherwise?

Before I knew I was going through the menopause, I resigned from my previous position when I was struggling and I didn’t know what was going on. I developed anxiety and depression. My workload was becoming overwhelming, I wasn’t sleeping and I found myself giving up. Instead of really talking to my employers about it, I felt that the best thing for me to do was leave. If I’d had more courage and spoke up, I may have gotten the help that I needed but I was too scared and confused, and didn’t give them the chance.

18. Which famous historical figure do you think would make the best recruiter, and why?

I have two

Marcus Aurelius, known as one of the last 5 good emperors of Rome, who ruled from AD 161 to 180. He also wrote a book I enjoyed “Meditations”. In it there’s is a quote “ Put an end once for all to this discussion of what a good man should be, and be one. “ I think he would have known his candidates well, matching those to who  “ruled” which roles best, also knowing the best fit into the ”ranks” of an organisation, and have very happy clients as well.

Carl Jung, who wrote “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious”. He would have had excellent interviewing skills, and a very deep understanding of the motivations of each candidate.  Also, knowing the “trickster” archetype, he would have known who would be a no-show at interviews. I’m sure his clients would have been very happy to have meetings with him as well, due to his insight and knowledge.

19. If you could add a question for the next person to answer, what would it be?

Do you have a menopause policy in your workplace?

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

Latte Lounge-Katie Taylor.

She’s in the UK. She was struggling with menopause symptoms and like me, left her job. She set up an online platform, Latte Lounge to offer training, support and affordable medical assistance for midlife women. She started as a Facebook group which grew and expanded in size and in services. I like her personality too!

Thank you to Kellie Millar for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Kellie on LinkedIn.

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