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Flexibility, support and job variety gives working parent, Janna, a career worth holding on hold to

People Stories 04 Mar 2024

Starting a family can spell career upheaval, or a possible change of employer, for many women. Fortunately, for long-time KINNECTer, Janna Riordan, a supportive workplace culture and family-friendly flexible work policies have allowed her to maintain her career as a Lead Consultant while raising her two young daughters.

Based in Cairns, Janna joined KINNECT in 2009 after graduating as an Exercise Physiologist (EP) from James Cook University.

“I wasn’t sure where I wanted to head after university. I studied EP because my Grandad had Parkinsons, and I became interested in helping the whole person rather than running specific exercise programs.

Workplace rehabilitation appealed to me in terms of the variety and the non-clinical nature of it, compared to working in a gym or clinic. KINNECT’s core values and mission of helping people were important to me so it felt like the right choice,” Janna recalled.

The role was varied from the very beginning, with Janna turning her hand to almost every service KINNECT had to offer including occupational rehabilitation and physical conditioning. “I progressed into doing work on the employer side of things with projects and training, and then started going to worksites to create job dictionaries. It was challenging, but interesting,” she said.

Janna worked full-time until the birth of her first child. KINNECT was a relatively small business at the time and Janna was the first person in the company to take maternity leave.

“It was unchartered waters in terms of the expectations – it was daunting to be the first person in the company to do that [take maternity leave]. But although no-one else had kids, they were very supportive.

“Returning to work was really important to me. Kevin [Conlon, our CEO] was great and said I could come back in whatever capacity suited me.”

Janna Riordan and the KINNECT team in Cairns

“I had trouble finding day care, so I started working a few hours a day while my children slept. It wasn’t a great deal of income, but I was able to keep up my skills on the clinical side and still be engaged in the workplace,” she said.

Despite shorter hours, Janna has still benefitted from the variety in her working day that comes from working in a business that offers so many services. She’s also still ticking off major achievements:

“My biggest accomplishments would be the client renewals I’ve done. I previously worked on renewing our contracts and undertaking self-evaluations for major compensation scheme bodies in NSW, VIC, WA and nationally but the big stand out was helping Clark Hopley (Chief Customer Officer) with the submission to work with WorkSafe Victoria. That was a great challenge however receiving approval to expand KINNECTs service delivery to Victoria was very rewarding,” Janna explained.

Now, almost 15 years later, Janna has two daughters aged seven and nine. She has gradually increased her hours over the years and is now working two days per week at home and two days per week in the office during school hours, an arrangement that she is very grateful for:

“The flexibility is amazing – I can take the girls to school, pick them up and not have to put them into after school care. The type of work I do means I can pick them up if they get ill and get back to work later when they are settled,” Janna explained.

This flexibility, together with a working part-time arrangement, has also allowed Janna to balance her work and family life, and be a great mum when she’s not in front of a computer: “I can be fully focussed on work during my hours but then I can switch off. With my manager’s support, and a reasonable workload, I don’t have to work after hours.”

When asked if KINNECT’s support is the reasons she’s stayed on so long, Janna is emphatic in her response: “100%. I wouldn’t be with KINNECT otherwise. I’ve been open with Kevin all along that work is important to me, but my family is more important. So, why change a good thing?”

KINNECT’s Parental Leave Policy

KINNECT offers all full-time, part-time, and casually employed staff 12 months of unpaid parental leave, and depending on their length of service, up to 80 days leave at full pay*.

While KINNECT’s paid leave entitlements have changed since she had children, Janna is thrilled that KINNECT are working even harder to support new parents:

“Having gone through maternity leave with only the government standard allowance I know how much it puts a strain on your family. KINNECTs paid parental leave policy helps because they’ll have a little bit of extra money when it feels like their baby is still too young to put them into day care.

“I have seen first-hand that it can hard for mothers to return part-time and get the balance right, but KINNECT have made it easy because they really value your skills and contribution. I’m sure the policy will help attract, and keep, a lot more women and mothers who have a lot of expertise to share,” she said.

If you want to join a genuinely family-friendly workplace, explore the vacancies listed in our visit our Careers Centre.


*Paid as a salary top-up to Government paid parental leave payments.