Adversity to Wellbeing with Allison O'Shea

Corporate Diversity Pathways welcomes Allison O'Shea to the team as Associate Partner - Corporate Leadership and Wellbeing. At CDP, we believe that being able to share true and authentic stories with our clients and industry informs our WHY - why do we do what we do?

Allison O’Shea is a Non-Executive Company Director, Executive Coach and Associate Partner of Corporate Diversity Pathways who is passionate about leadership, performance and wellbeing for corporate clients and individuals.


“Always confront adversity with humour, grace and style and focus on your successes and rewards”

Allison tells her story!

I refer to my passion for corporate leadership and wellbeing as my “sixth career change” but in reality it is an amalgamation of many years of work and study in clinical and health law and business (finance, insurance and technology) along with a lifetime personal belief in the pillars of wellbeing: physical and mental health, emotional & social, financial and career. Looking after myself is not only for my benefit but the benefit of others in my work and life. 

The rollercoaster of work and life took a sudden halt for me five years ago in what I refer to as my “Adversity to Wellbeing” awakening.  It’s a long story I don’t mind sharing as it has so many important messages that many of us can relate to, either personally or those close to us.  After a good friend’s wedding I jumped out of a cab and wandered across Bondi road into the path of a Vespa (yes! I was “jaywalking” and yes it was just a Vespa not a car or bus!).  After a period of “touch and go” in intensive care, some brain surgery and a two month stint wheelchair bound in a rehabilitation unit I was released back onto the rollercoaster of work and life five months later.  I was motivated, positive and extremely grateful life was back to “normal”.  But life was different.


What did I learn? 

So many things I wish I could share them all!  But a few things really stood out for me.  When I returned to my finance career after five months rehab, all of my clients (Senior Executives & Professionals, Board Directors, Business owners) wanted to talk about my personal story and share their own experiences of adversity rather than talk about their investments.  Many of these clients had become good friends or acquaintances over the years and they had never shared their stories before but now felt they had an ally to share their experiences. 

Adversity will impact all of us throughout life (either directly or indirectly) whether it be through an accident, ill health, work or personal stress, loss of loved ones or many other scenarios.  The greatest lesson to learn is how to turn “Adversity to Wellbeing”.  As an A-Type “Pollyanna” personality I admit I had a head start but it remained a challenge.  From reading prolifically (being a health and science nerd) and speaking to experts about the best strategies I discovered the key strengths were:

                        i.         Resilience: the ability to personally or professionally succeed despite adversity

                       ii.         Positivity: allows us to discover and build new skills, knowledge and ways of being (this is my favourite and without it I believe the others are harder to develop)

                     iii.         Motivation: initiates, guides and maintains goal orientated behaviours

                      iv.         Determination: keep going and don’t give up.

In addition, I would add the following as essential traits:

a)    Gratitude:  don’t fail to recognise the opportunities for wisdom and growth that accompany adverse experiences

b)    Humour:  not always easy but certainly rewarding to see the other side of adversity, to be cheeky, to smile and to laugh

My Personal Motto: 

“Always confront adversity with humour, grace and style and focus on your successes and rewards”

For those of you that find yourself questioning your why or wanting to understand how to be at your peak both personally and professionally, especially if you also have the responsibility for others as a carer or leader, I encourage you to learn, be inspired and be motivated to make the changes you and/or your organisation need to overcome any adversity and to Be Well.

My vision is that organisations and individuals take responsibility to ensure their wellbeing is one of their highest priorities as we know from growing research that everything else falls into place more easily providing success and rewards personally and professionally.

If you would like to connect with Allison to learn more about corporate wellness for yourself or your organisation, please feel free to email here or connect on LinkedIn.