Seeking a career break back in 2013, Jessica Hickman left her small village in south Wales, backpacking to Australia and quickly falling in love with the land down under.
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Settling in Darwin at the time, the Northern Territory provided the young backpacker with the Human Resources job of her dreams.
"My background was based in youth work in the [United Kingdom] and it was exciting landing my people and culture role in HR," Mrs Hickman said.
"Being a woman in a male-dominated construction industry, I was in uncharted territory - but I was also presented with the opportunity to place priority on shifting workplace culture."
In a remote place where the complexities of isolation, loneliness and suicide are very real, Mrs Hickman said she felt honoured to have the chance to build a culture of "trust and openness".
What she didn't know, however, was that a shift in managers six months into the job, would gradually lead to incessant vomiting, sleepless nights and consecutive years of relentless trauma - borne from severe and persistent workplace harassment.
Systemic bullying took place on a daily basis for Mrs Hickman, who said that unfortunately, the more successful she became, the more intensified the torment got.
The status of her working visa was even used as blackmail.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I was in unchartered territory - but I was also presented with the opportunity to place priority on shifting workplace culture.- Jessica Hickman
"I decided to stay because I thought I will not be pushed out of a company for doing a good job, let alone the country," she said.
"This manager would belittle me, chop me down, verbally abuse me, physically throw things at me, threaten me ... 32 times I reported the behaviour to corporate, 32 times - and I was basically just told 'toughen up, it's the industry'."
Physical, emotional and mental signs of trauma were all there, she said, despite her ignoring them and trying to "toughen up", as directed.
She experienced intense anxiety, crying on the floor in her home and retracing conversations, along with poor eating habits, being unable to sleep, physical pain, difficulty breathing and bouts of violent throwing up.
Unable to conceal the pain any longer, the distress lead to her hospital admission through the Emergency Department.
"I collapsed at work in 2017 and that was a pivotal moment for me," Mrs Hickman said.
"Here I was thinking I'd suffered from a burst appendix or that something was seriously wrong from the aches and pains throughout my body, but I was having a nervous breakdown.
"I was experiencing a stress-induced burnout and my body was physically suffering from being in constant fight or flight mode for three-and-a-half years.
"Laying in that hospital bed, I made a conscious choice that I was not going to be a victim of my circumstances, so I went on a mission to develop a business that would promote change ... what happened to me became the catalyst for what I do now."
Investing in workplaces and school communities, Mrs Hickman professionally reviews cultures in those settings, before moving onto a plan of action to empower people within them and create a place of safety, connection and positive change.
Business has been thriving since its birth, which is now making waves across the Central West, with Mrs Hickman and her husband now based in Orange.
"I collapsed at work in 2017 and that was a pivotal moment for me ... Laying in that hospital bed, I made a conscious choice that I was not going to be a victim of my circumstance.- Jessica Hickman
So far, she's detected unhealthy patterns across various workplaces and communities within the region, with most unknowingly operating in their jobs without the awareness of an unhealthy environment around them.
"When we accept toxic cultures, we're not being a part of the solution; and I've seen it a lot in the Central West," she said.
"Some people bring me in and ask if they've got bullying and harassment present and I'll say well the room isn't burning, but there's a couple of spot fires here.
"So, it's about modernising those mindsets and understanding the big picture trends, and often, people in leadership positions can unknowingly set an unhealthy culture, which can cause harm sometimes unconsciously."
Mrs Hickman said she's also discovered a lot of "old school mindsets" in the west, where people are either stuck in their own ways - from language like 'that's the way we've always done it' - or have grown up in households where casual racism was accepted as banter.
With a majority of workplaces having bystander cultures, she also said there's a fair amount of outdated biases - where a "woman's place is expected at the kitchen sink."
So, without investing in people and proactively developing an "upstander culture", many employers, she said, will not maintain happy workers or retain staff for very long.
"My colleagues would stand by while I was publicly berated or launched at with sexist comments and it infuriated me at the time," she said.
"But I realised that those passive bystanders in the situation, while they had the awareness, didn't have the capability to know how to deal with it."
There's also three zones that the majority of unhealthy workplace cultures will fall into, she said, and they're the uncomfortable, unconscious and avoidant zones.
"They range from accepting old ideas, leaders operating from ego-based 'my way or the highway' mindsets or completely not addressing issues whatsoever, which is diffusing responsibility and it's toxic how that then plays out in the workplace."
Along with many local businesses, small and large, Jessica Hickman Coaching has worked with different prisons across Australia. More recently, with Orange-based organisations, too.
As human beings, we want to be seen - we want to be heard, valued and recognised for our contribution ... I'm challenging the status quo, so I've had more doors closed in my face than I've had opened.- Jessica Hickman
A "massive success", she's just completed a 12 month consultancy culture review - focusing on leadership development and resilience-building - with Orange City Council and is currently working with the city's Department of Primary Industries, to name one.
"My message is to help people understand existing patterns and develop a new, upstander culture, because as human beings, we want to be seen - we want to be heard, valued and recognised for our contribution," Mrs Hickman said.
"So, if you're a business that wants to invest in your people long-term and create change, then I'm your person."
Having published her first book, The Bullyologist: Breaking the Silence on Bullying, she's now anticipating the release of her second book, The Upstander Leader: How to develop a speak-up culture, set to drop on September 27.
"I'm challenging the status quo, so I've had more doors closed in my face than opened," she said.
"But it's positioned me as a leader and I'm on a mission to build a generation of upstanders."
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