Jessica Hickman is a dynamic young professional. Through a three-year ordeal with bullying, she empowered herself to become an advocate and activist in workplace bullying and mental health.
“Forgiveness is a powerful weapon.”
On her arrival in Australia in 2013, Jessica worked in Corporate Human Resource position in Perth before transferring to a large Onshore Oil & Gas Project in Darwin. It’s here she learned her core lessons, identified the gap in mental health support in the Resources industry and went on her mission to be a change-maker.
In the workplace, Jessica was a true champion having won multiple awards and recognition for her work. This included the Minister for Territory Families Excellence in Youth Leadership and Exceptional Woman in resources. NT Somerville Community Service Award, the Incident & Injury Free Champion Award, Exceptional Women in Resources and the Culture & Safety Champion Award.
Behind the scenes however, Jessica was suffering from extensive workplace bullying. Misogyny, harassment, corruption, suicide, mental bullying, emotional and physical intimidation, verbal abuse and hospitalisation.
For Jessica, working at an oil and gas mining company was a decision that changed the course of her life. Her job was to implement best practice in company culture and create great working environments. Instead, the torment she was subjected to, caused her to live in fear a lot of the time.
Jessica filed a total of 32 reports to upper management about her manager, the head of human resources. This was the person supposedly responsible for ensuring this sort behaviour is not tolerated in the workplace.
Despite her suffering, Jessica worked rigorously to create a positive, culture in the workplace. She masked the toxic leadership behaviour which was tearing the company she was torn between helping others or leaving and abandoning the rise of industry suicides.
Fear into fuel
Turning her fear into fuel, Jessica now uses the valuable experience to be a Champion for Change. As the founder of Bullyology, Jessica is educating leaders on the damage that a toxic workforce culture can have on personal and business success.
Through adversity can grow strength and power. Jessica’s power came from her ability to empower herself and do something, and she did.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of workplace bullying and harassment, seek help immediately. Contact SafeWork NSW for more details.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, seek help immediately. Call Lifeline (13 11 14), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or see your family doctor.
This article was first published on TEAM Women Australia.