Danielle Dobson, author of Breaking the Gender Code. Photos supplied
THE COACH WHO CRACKED THE GENDER CODE
2515 spoke to Thirroul coach, author and speaker Danielle Dobson about her topical new book. Danielle Dobson has her middle son to thank for the ‘eureka’ moment that led her to publish a book. “Leo and I were having a one-on-one after school at Seafoam Cafe in Thirroul, and he wasn’t interested talking, so I said: ‘Okay. Let me tell you about my day. I’ve discovered this gender code and it influences how we think, how we feel and behave, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve got to do something.’ “And he said: ‘Is your gender code anything like Code It Yourself Club that I do after school?’ “I said: ‘I don’t know, but let’s talk about that.’ So I got my recorder out and I said: ‘Why is it important to you to do coding? “He said: ‘Well, mum, when I’m coding, I get to be in charge. I get to do what I want to do because I make my own code.’ “And I’m like, oh my God. “He helped me work it out. If you question the code, and understand it, then you can ask if it makes sense any more. If it doesn’t, you can do something different – keep the parts that you value, delete any parts of the code that you don’t want any more, and then create new code.” This conversation was inspirational in the writing of Breaking the Gender Code, a book Danielle self-published in May, with the help of Rooland creative director Suzanne Haddon at UOW’s Innovation Campus.
32 / 2515/ SEPTEMBER
Danielle is a coach, who brings her own varied experience to helping women create pathways to leadership. “Originally, I was a CPA [Certified Practising Accountant], I was working for multinationals, mostly male-dominated industries and in finance roles. When Alex, my eldest, came along, I didn’t go back to work.” She became a personal trainer and ran her own exercise business. Wanting to focus on mind and body, Danielle later became a wellness coach, then an executive coach. She has lived and worked around the world, including in the UK, US and China, and is the mother of three boys, aged 13, 11 and 9. All this experience – including time she laughingly describes as being a “closet single mum” when her now ex-husband was often away on work trips – led Danielle to the point where she felt driven to examine the pressures upon women. “I wanted to understand, why is it that men are in a more powerful position and women are not progressing into the leadership roles, and why do we feel guilty? Women were suffering from burnout, depletion, exhaustion – just trying to juggle and balance and feeling stretched in the process. And I’m like, what is going on? So that’s when I started my research project.” What started as a small study in October 2017 has morphed into a guide to rewriting your life that includes case studies of 50 high-achieving women,