I met Kim Morley last month during our two-day #upfront training at Co-op Digital. Our session ended with every participant giving a speech about something they really cared about. I know I speak for many of us when I say I was moved by the story Kim shared about her experience of playing sports and her ambitions for her daughter to play sports too. I asked her if she'd like to share that story with Redjotter readers and she said yes!
Kim has worked in IT and software engineering since graduating in Computer Science in 1995. She worked as an engineer in the airport industry, insurance and is now a digital delivery manager at CoopDigital. Kim's agile lightbulb was turned on about 6 years ago and since then she has been an advocate of digital ways of working. Here's what she has to say...
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?
How it’s so important to encourage our daughters to play sport and stick with it. This is something I’ve been conscious of for a long time but it’s really resonated with me in this last year.
I started playing lacrosse when I was 11 (that’s the one from the Mallory Towers books if you are old enough to remember!) I’m 44 now and it’s been a huge part of my life. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve found a team to play for; it’s taken me around the world and I met my husband through playing too.
But the best thing about it is the amazing group of women I’ve been playing with for almost 20 years. We get together when we can, we still go on ‘tour’, and thanks to various messaging apps we are in constant contact. These women are my tribe.
And for me, playing sport isn’t just about being an amazing player, it’s more about learning to be part of a team. It’s about looking after your mates, and the security that comes from knowing they will look after you.
Playing lacrosse prepared me well for the world of work. It taught me to be a great team player and expect my teammates /colleagues to have high standards too. In my work, we recognise that the unit of delivery is the team.
I will try my best for you,
I expect you to do your best for me.
I will always have your back,
I expect you to have mine too.
Now I have a daughter, I hope that she finds her own tribe. I want her to have all the fun that comes with it. I want her to feel brave with the support from it. I want her to feel like she can be whatever she wants to be. And I want her to do her own job in the best way she can, whilst still looking out for her team mates.
What’s your burning question of the moment?
My daughter is just 6 and I can already see barriers to her playing a sport that don’t exist for my 9-year-old son. For one thing, she’s already worried about how she comes across. “Mummy, my friends say I like doing boys things. Do you think I act like a boy?” she asked me the other day. “No,” I told her. “You don’t act like a boy, you act like Lily.”
We’re a non-traditional family. My husband provides more of the childcare than I do, so I find it concerning that even growing up in this environment, my children already have some fixed ideas on what boys and girls can and can't do.
My burning question is: how do we dispel the idea that people ‘act like boys/girls’? And how do we make it ok for girls to want to play sport?
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?
In my lacrosse team, over the years we’ve supported each other through all kinds of ups and downs. Recently, we had our biggest tournament to play: one of us went through therapy for secondary cancer. Her illness was the reason I’ve become so much more aware of how much this set of strong women inspires me.
I have the most bizarre memories of seeing pictures of our friend hooked up to her chemo, full lacrosse kit on. We would chat online through her sessions: “I’ve got your back, am on your left, pass to me”, we’d type. And we chucked in all the teasing and in-jokes that we’ve collected together over the years.
She’s out the other end now - we won that one.
Watching and being part of that group of people pulling together, showing such strength and support makes me so proud, especially as our friend really feels we contributed to her imminent return to the lacrosse pitch.
What would be your one piece of advice to students out there?
Someone asked me recently: when do you feel your most confident self. My answer is easy. When I’m with my tribe. With their support, in every other aspect of life, I feel more powerful, secure and confident.
My advice would be, find your tribe. Whatever type it is. Because it can make a world of difference to your whole life. And if you have a daughter, encourage her to find a sport to play so she can find one too - because it really matters! Here is my daughter playing in her first match a couple of weeks ago.
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