We chat to Linda Callander, wife to Paul and mum to Mia (9) and Macy (7) and pound-rescue kitty Yasi. Linda is an HR consultant with her “fingers in a few pies”, including as an integral member of the Mother’s Day Classic fun run committee.



Tell us about your role with Mother’s Day Classic.

I’m on the organising committee for the Gold Coast and responsible for coordinating the children’s area this year.  Lots of fantastic local Gold Coast businesses have jumped on board, which we are so excited about.


Where did the concept for the Classic come from?

The Mother’s Day Classic walk or run for breast cancer research was established in 1998 – it started as literally a walk in the park and has grown into a major national community event.    The founding organisers saw a similar event overseas and came back to Australia and spoke to Women in Super about organising an event in Australia.  The event, now in its 18th year (and with 104 events nation-wide) raises money for research into breast cancer, a disease which impacts one in eight Australian women. The event, initiated by Women in Super, will this year pass the $25 million mark in funds raised for National Breast Cancer Foundation research. My family will be walking the 8km on Mother’s Day this year along with more than 8,500 families across Australia participating in the event.


What’s your business background?

I have a degree in Hotel and Human Resource Management and have been working on the Gold Coast in HR for 20 years! I’ve worked for some fabulous companies (hotels, department stores and theme parks) and now am lucky enough to be using all that experience to work as a consultant to help Gold Coast businesses with all their Human Resources needs.  Being a consultant offers me great family-friendly work hours and versatility.


Who were your mentors along the way?

I’ve worked with some fantastic people who have helped me grow and develop skills that have been useful in my career, and as a mum (for example, my time management skills!).  My fondest work memories are from when I worked at Daimaru at Pacific Fair with an amazing manager and team that taught me so much about business and different cultures, about patience and respect.  One of my early mentors was a colleague whom I sat alongside on a Tourism Committee and worked with on some amazing projects.    She died from breast cancer after a battle that lasted a number of years.  I often wish I could pick up the phone to ask her advice on a work problem I am struggling with.  She is one of the reasons I feel so strong about MDC and the fundraising effort to help find a cure.



What time does a typical day start for you?

Early! Often before the birds are even up.  I like to be out of the house and at the gym or walking at Burleigh before the family are even out of bed! Often Mia will come along for a walk (she’s got 5km down pat).  It’s such a nice time to spend with her talking about her day and what she has planned.


Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?

I love cooking! And I do all the cooking (except for a random weekend meal that my husband rarely cooks!)  If we have a busy week ahead I’ll spend Sunday afternoon planning and cooking all our meals for the week.  It means we have a healthy quick choice when we are late home from work and one of our numerous after school activities.  I’m always trying different recipes, or reworking old favourites (I’ve got more cook books than you could count).  I just took the whole family along to That Sugar Film and now I am modifying everything to be sugar free.  My current two favourite recipes are Jerusalem Chicken and Kidney Bean Chocolate Cake.


If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you do?

Cook (part of my degree for hotel management meant I spent a year in a commercial kitchen and I really got the cooking bug!)  Or read a book. Normally I’ll squeeze in a quick walk at the beach to clear the mind.


Mama that Rocks_Linda CallanderKIDS

What do you do for childcare?

My girls are both at school but for after-school and holidays it’s a real juggling act. We’ve tried a few different options over the years including having a live-in au pair from Germany and trading days with friends.  I have the best mum in the world and great vacation care at school along with some awesome babysitters who are only a phone call away.


Do your kids do many extracurricular activities?

Yes – drama, tennis, swimming, gymnastics and netball (I’m even coaching my daughter’s netball team this season – this draws on all my negotiating skills).


What do you do for fun as a family?

We all love travelling when we have a longer break,  but for the weekend a walk around Burleigh’s national park or trip to the beach is always on the cards followed by brekky somewhere in Burleigh.



What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?

Dinner, definitely! We love to try out new restaurants and support local businesses.  Any time for just us together is so valued.


What is your favourite Gold Coast place?

Burleigh! Hands down. But we are avid Sun’s fans and never miss a home game.


How about favourite place to eat out as a family?

We love the outdoor deck at Oskars for a long Sunday brekky and are regulars at Sushi in James Street.  Street Corner is a fave of ours as well.



Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?

Depends – often just the drinks at a girlfriend’s house overlooking the water or a maybe a mojito at Justin Lane. My husband and I love entertaining so often everyone – the boys and girls and all the kids – end up at our place where I’ll cook for everyone!


What is your best beauty tip for mums?

Having a sister who is a magazine editor helps, a lot! But really for me it’s about finding products that are quick and easy, that do a good job and are as natural as possible.  Right now I’m loving BB Cream and I could kiss the person who invented dry shampoo.


Favourite place to shop?

I like to save my shopping up for holidays when I’m away and have lots of time to browse and decide.


Mama that Rocks_Linda Callander 2TIPS

Must-have parenting tip or tool?

Choose your battles (does it really matter if they wear their tutu to the supermarket?) and don’t sweat the small things.  They just grow up so quickly and I really want to remember these times together when they still want to be around me!


Can you share any tips on finding the right balance and that juggling act?

No!  You just have to go with the flow and with what works for you.  Lots and lots of lists at our place.


How do you stay motivated?

Take a deep breath, realise that being a mum is by far the hardest job I have ever had (managing 400 staff seems like a breeze in comparison) but watching my gorgeous girls grow up has made me appreciate my mum so much and the smile on their face when they see me at the end of the day or when they slip their hand into mine walking down the street – that does it for me!




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