Interview: Rosina McAlpine

This week I interviewed Dr. Rosina McAlpine, who is the founder and CEO of Win-Win Parenting, a company that works with other companies to teach working parents how to find a balance between work and family. I interned with Rosina last semester and during that time I realized what an admiral boss and businesswoman she was. Her entrepreneurship and style of leadership is something I hoped to emulate in my own future.

The beginning

Rosina’s career was a winding road and like many people,  her original plan was strikingly different to what eventuated. She worked as an accounting lecturer at UNSW for 15 years, before becoming an associate professor of accounting at the University of Sydney. Rosina emphasized to me that she has always had a great love of learning which has shaped all of her career choices. 

Where her career path took a turn

Rosina became pregnant while working as an associate professor, and during this time she began to research into parenting styles and found that the information that is disseminated in popular culture is often very different to what the latest research states. Once Rosina had found all this information she said she cried because she felt awful that other parents didn’t know or have access to this information. This is when she started Win-Win parenting, in 2009. However Rosina was still working full-time as an associate professor, she was at her peak in her academic career, having received national accolades for her teaching, and a position which she loved. 

The Absent but Implicit 

Rosina loved helping students reach their potential at university however she believed that there were other people who could do her job. But what she could do for parents and children, no one else was doing. What was absent was the feeling that she was doing all she could to change lives. This is implicit to Rosina’s sense of self because a large part of her identity is her compassion and empathy for others. However, the decision of whether to leave her secure job to work full-time on Win-Win was difficult.  How Rosina made her decision to leave made me think of the stories we tell ourselves that are part of our internal dialogue in the workforce. She stated that,

“Every day for 6 months I would wake up and look to my left and imagine my life if I continued working at the university, then I would look to my right and imagine my life if I quit and went full time with Win-Win and one was stable, but the other excited me”

Resilience 

The hardest moment in her career narrative was very enlightening, it taught me about how other people’s stories of values can help an individual think in action. Rosina told me that when she was trying to get her first book published she was rejected time and time again by publishers. The story that helped her stay resilient was the story of the authors of chicken soup for the soul.  The authors were rejected from publishers over 140 times before they were finally published- now they have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, and it has been translated into 43 languages. In her moments of weakness, Rosina said this helped her stay strong until she was eventually published.

The words that resonated with me from Rosina’s story were: resilience, compassion, and empowerment. These key factors are what led Rosina to her dream job, and are also the key professional values that I had noticed in Rosina during my time working with her.  These values became implicit to Rosina’s capacity to feel proud of herself and her career. This spoke volumes to me, showing me how values can guide you on the right path,  even if things may seem illogical.

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