Word of Mouth - Kate Keddell

Kate Keddell  Senior Resolution Practitioner at Fairway Resolution. Kate sits on the Council of Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand

What are the main ways you create balance in your life?

Work/life balance is an elusive unicorn! In my work as a mediator, I encourage open communication between people. I try (emphasis on ‘try’) to practice what I preach with family members about schedules and expectations to foster understanding and cooperation.  I have learnt the hard way that I need to say no to additional commitments and to not be too proud to ask for help. My top tip is to embrace imperfection. Understand that balance doesn't always mean perfect harmony, and it's okay to prioritise certain aspects of your life over others at different times. I've mastered the art of spilling coffee from No.7 Balmac on myself at least once a day - it's become my signature fashion statement!

How do you manage your health and fitness with a demanding job?

I used to like running and boot camps, almost as a way of pushing through problems. But as I get older, I am choosing to exercise in ways that decrease my cortisol levels and increase my flexibility, like walking and going to Barre Base (barrebase.co.nz). It is more about how I feel, than how I look. In my line of work when you are dealing with other people’s conflicts, it is essential to look after your emotional health as well. I am always seeking out the happy vibes Vitamin D and fresh air gives, especially when it shines on #dunnerstunner days, so I try to get outside of the office every day.

How much pressure is there still on women to ‘look good’ in the workplace?

When I was a baby lawyer in the early 2000s, there was more conformity for men and women in the workplace, mainly around standard of dress. Recently, especially with the advent of hybrid working models, there has been a growing emphasis on individuality and acceptance of diverse appearances. Out with ties and stilettos (unless you want to wear them); in with man-buns and (smart) trainers! Personally, I have always expressed my personality and mood through what I wear, in and out of the workplace. It’s a kind of “style therapy” for looking good according to my standards. I think we should follow the mantra of conscious stylists like Lou Heller (louhellerstylist.com).

What is your beauty regime and are there any products you swear by?

I must admit, I genuinely don't have a dedicated beauty regime (although the ever-patient Theresa at Erban Spa tries). I believe in embracing my natural self, particularly my natural hair texture which is akin to a 1992 spiral perm. Finding a good hairdresser who understands your curls is key (shout out to Jamie at Zucca). I splurge on Keratase shampoo and conditioner, and then save on Pantene leave-in conditioner from the supermarket. I don’t know how to straighten my hair, and don’t feel myself unless it is wild and woolly. At the end of the day, as every curly-haired wahine knows, we are individuals and are the experts of our own crowning glories. My hair embodies my philosophy towards health and beauty – embrace imperfection and your individuality.