To celebrate International Women’s Day, we throw the spotlight on Kylie Patrick, Avisure’s principal consultant, who has been an integral part of the company since 2003.
Patrick celebrates her 20th anniversary with the company in September this year. ‘I knew pretty early on – before finishing high school – that science was the direction I wanted to go in,’ Patrick says. ‘There were so many environmental issues going on, and they seemed to be underrepresented’, she says, ‘so I did an environmental management degree at Southern Cross University at Lismore, which offered a good diversity of subjects.’
She moved to the Gold Coast in 1999 and did a second undergraduate degree at Queensland University of Technology in ecology.
Patrick has had some variety in her roles. After graduating, her first paid job was with Greenpeace, where she spent about 12 months looking after their volunteer program. Her bird ID skills were honed by five years as an ecotourism interpretive guide on Queensland’s South Stradbroke Island, while six years in Brazil necessitated learning Portuguese. ‘I had to give a 45-minute presentation in Portuguese which was pretty daunting, but it seemed to go OK.’ During those years in Brazil, working for Avisure, Patrick also kickstarted working from home – arguably putting Avisure in a better place to cope with the enforced COVID lockdowns of recent years.
She says emphatically that her favourite part of the job is the people at Avisure. ‘There is an amazing team dynamic. We started well, with people who had a good connection, and have maintained that small team foundation since,’ she says.
Her advice for young women embarking on a career in science is ‘to be bold. Back yourself and own your own ideas. Professionally, women in male-dominated industries such as aviation can struggle. If a job requires 10 things, and we’ve only got nine of them, we tend to think we’re not qualified – men are much more likely to “fake it till they make it”.’
And while she says, ‘we have come a long way, and there is so much more opportunity for women in science today, with a much better support network able to give women that leg up, there are still a lot of challenges.’
However, Patrick is optimistic for the future. ‘My daughter is four, and I believe there will be a whole new world of choices and opportunities for her, as each generation broadens the horizons for girls.’ On the eve of International Women’s Day, she says, ‘it is important to acknowledge the amazing trailblazers who have done the hard work for us to be where we are today, as well as recognise the value of supportive women who have each other’s backs.’