ROSEÉ Series - In Conversation with Catherine Maynard

To celebrate four years of ROSEÉ, we bring you the ROSEÉ Series. A series of interviews from remarkable people who are not afraid to live and lead in colourful style. We hope their bravery, strength and courage inspire you to live your life in full and in colour. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us.

An employment specialist, cook, traveller, bookworm, sister, friend, wife and mother, Catherine is not afraid to lead in colourful style. We speak with Catherine on the topic of fashion, motherhood, the power of female community and her reality of living in the diaspora.

Your admirer for African inspired fashion

African fashion has evolved over the years! It's incredible. We can now see African-inspired fashion at Zara, H&M, big fashion shows in New York; It makes me proud. I love the amazing colours, fabric and versatility. I love that I can now wear an African inspired dress, skirt or top to work and be proud of promoting African fashion. We have moved from wearing African outfits at African functions. I see people wearing African inspired outfits to work, parties and fashion shows. African fashion is breaking boundaries. It's great to see

On her reality of living in the diaspora

I miss Tanzania and my family terribly, particularly my mom and brother. I lost my dad over ten years ago. COVID-19 has made me miss Tanzania even more! I am an Australian - Tanzanian and very proud of it. However, I have to work extra hard at everything I do in Australia, especially in workspaces; I have to lift my voice and have a seat at the table and always put a case forward that I am the best for this and that opportunity. Unlike Australian-born citizens, opportunities will not be given to me, and I have to fight for them. It is exhausting, at times!  As a result of these experiences, I have learnt a lot about myself and still do. Of course, the underlying racism that goes on cannot be explained or pinpointed at times, but it is there.

Apart from all of this, Australia has offered me many opportunities, and the world is my oyster in this country. It is up to me to educate others about my culture, which I am proud of. I will continue to promote multiculturalism, raise my voice, sit at the table, be heard, and respectfully share my experiences and skills with like-minded people and make contributions and impact in my community.

On the realities and journey of motherhood

Being a mother has been and still is the best gift that God could have given me. Being a parent is challenging. Being a parent in Australia without those extended supports available in Tanzania, for example, presents challenges and creates resilience. I am fortunate that Phil (husband) is very supportive. Between the two of us, we get the job done! This is done through communication, hard work, prayers, listening and learning and most importantly, working as a team to raise Sebastian (son). I also have family and friends that I rely on. Whether it’s through phone calls to my mom and brother, or Phil’s family or our friends offering to babysit so we can go on a date for example, have been very helpful.

As a mother, I have found motherhood challenging at times. I have felt guilty that I have gone to the gym during the week instead of staying at home in the morning to organise Sebastian for school. I have felt guilty that I have missed basketball practice and games or swimming lessons because of work. I am making peace with these feelings now, knowing that if I do not look after myself physically or mentally, I will not be the best mother to Sebastian and wife to Phil.

I am feeling less guilty these days because Phil is extremely supportive. I have asked other mothers at mothers’ groups or school, and it seems most have the same anxieties! We are all in the same boat; I am not alone. What I am learning now is to enjoy those moments when we are together as a family. Whether at Henley Beach Square eating an ice cream, at a coffee shop eating dinner, on holidays etc, I want to be present and learn to listen and enjoy my family. I am still learning and getting better every day.

On the power of female community

I champion all women. I have advocated for women and girls in the community, whether professionally or personally (through various community and voluntary positions I have held). It is imperative for all women to support each other. This means, as an African woman, you support and champion another woman, whether she is Afghani, Indian or another African or black sister wherever your path cross.

There is power when we celebrate each other, lift each other, support each other. This could be in meetings at work. It is time to elevate each other, not just within our communities but in other communities.

There is more to be done in this space, but I am encouraged by what all women are doing at the moment. They are raising their voices and demanding that they are heard and are given a seat at the table. In their recent book, Women and Leadership, Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said - there is a special place in hell for a woman who does not support another woman. It sounds harsh, but I couldn't agree more!

You can follow Catherine on Instagram via @cath_maynard  

Thank you, Catherine!


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