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Air force training gave Kirstin wings for a high-flying career

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Carin Pickworth

5 July 2006

MILITARY training in the air force has instilled in Kirstin Ferguson a feisty attitude and fearless demeanour — two things to which she attributes her success as a businesswoman.

But the 33-year-old chief operating officer at the Brisbane arm of international commercial law firm Deacons grew up thinking she would be a post office worker.

“I loved stationery and stamps as a child, so I always thought I might work in a post office.”

A stint at the Australian Defence Force Academy and two honours degrees later and Ms Ferguson is responsible for providing senior operational and executive management support to the chief executive officer, chairman and national board of Deacons.

“I first went to university at the ADFA in Canberra and so many of my peers are still in the military having exciting careers like flying F-111s or working on battleships in the Gulf,” she said.

Graduating from ADFA as dux of her RAAF class and the highest ranked female cadet in 1993, Ms Ferguson then spent three years at an F-111 squadron based at Amberley.

She then decided to study law and gained honours in both her law and arts degrees at the Queensland University of Technology before being awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2003.

She then went on to win the Australian Institute of Management Brisbane Young Manager of the Year award in 2005.

So where does a woman who has done so much in such a short period see herself in 10 years?

Ms Ferguson said she hated to plan that far ahead. “I could not have possibly imagined being where I am now 10 years ago and I love the idea of not knowing where I will be 10 years from now,” she said. “I can only hope that in 10 years’ time I have a challenging career with a balanced home life.”

The Right Stuff

Age: 33

Family: Married to Glenn, former F-111 navigator now with Boeing Australia. Two daughters aged six and four.

Past: Australian Defence Force Academy air force cadet.

Present: Chief operating officer at international commercial law firm Deacons.

Future: A challenging career and balanced home life.

Accolades: Brisbane Young Manager of the Year 2005; Churchill Fellowship 2003; Dux of RAAF class 1993; Best female ADFA cadet 1993.

Pastimes: Blogging her favourite films, plays and books, helping her children.

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