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Studio 10’s Jessica Rowe on being fired while on maternity leave | Mumbrella360 video

During the following session from Mumbrella360, Studio 10's Jessica Rowe explains how Nine bosses encouraged her to "step aside" from her role on the Today breakfast show while on maternity leave. Their reason? "The challenges of motherhood". 

CEO of Ogilvy PR Kieran Moore moderates the following session on growth through adversity from Mumbrella360, in which the panelists lay out how a series of career and personal setbacks impacted their lives irrevocably.

Studio 10 host Jessica Rowe kicks off the session by discussing how her TV career collapsed after she was fired by Nine while on maternity leave:

“I recall after having a meeting with various lawyers who told me they were ready to muscle up for a fight, I had a six-week-old baby at home. I remember coming home, I was all dressed up in my armour of makeup and business suit, and I remember lying on my front lawn while my mum patted my head because I felt like my world had fallen apart.

“I was being encouraged to ‘step aside’ because of the ‘challenges of motherhood’, and I very angrily rallied against, but I knew that I did not have the emotional energy or capacity to fight at that time. There was a big part of me that felt like I was letting my baby down,” she adds.

Rowe: “There was a big part of me that felt like I was letting my baby down”

Sue Morphet, the former chief executive of Pacific Brands, also speaks on the panel. During her time as CEO, Morphet managed the company through an insolvency crisis, the sacking of 1,800 textile workers and moving operations offshore to China.

“I had to focus on the job I had, which was to deliver change during a very rough period. I’ve got to tell you all, it makes my heart pound even talking about it now. This is not something you leave behind very easily. I probably need a lot of therapy.”

The key to getting through the tough times, she says, was the people around her: “The people around me, they all knew what the job was, they kept focussed.”

Morphet: “It massively impacted the people around me”

Kristie Bennett, 2016’s Australian Survivor winner also speaks about overcoming challenges and making it through tough times a stronger person: “My biggest challenge was I didn’t realise how much I needed to learn how to trust myself.”

Brian Gallagher, chief sales officer of Southern Cross Austereo, then speaks about how a traumatic road accident left him badly injured and resolving to “never sell another advertising spot” as long as he lives.

He says: “I had just spent three years in a reasonably stressful situation, with a really good team of people doing impossible stuff against the wishes of a whole bunch of other people.

“What I didn’t recognise about that experience was just how stressful it was… your body’s going to tell you at some point that you’ve overstepped the mark.”

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