Inspirational-women

How Scarlett V Clark Became A Teenage CEO

“A feminist can be a stay-at-home mum just as much as she can be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.”

Why The Souls Behind #NotMyAriel Are Poor, Unfortunate (And Racist)

The fact people honestly tweeted #NotMyAriel highlights a racist issue with our media. 

Why Fat Activist Dani Adriana Says “Fuck You” To Diet Culture

“I have always been larger and existed in a body that I felt didn’t feel the societal ideal of ‘beautiful’.”

18 Quotes From Extraordinary Women To Inspire You Today

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

Maria Menounos Wants To Let You In On The Secret Of Life

Being diagnosed with a brain tumor opened the door to a new way of living for the TV host.

How Natalie Ellis Became A CEO Before Turning 25

“I’m obsessed with the idea of making women feel like they can accomplish anything…”

Inspirational Women: Robin Barker

Our go-to parenting author is taking a turn and going on a new adventure. 

Inspirational Women: Jessica Mauboy

Australia’s sweetheart is taking her career to the next level. 

A Day In The Life Of… French Colignon

“Its amazing how a beautifully cut garment can elicit human emotion and this is a driving factor in my affinity with fashion.”

Inspirational Women: Josephine Perry

Each week SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Maggie Beer​

Name and role

Josephine Perry, owner of Missy French restaurant.

What is your average day like?  

I’ve just opened a brand new restaurant called Missy French in Potts Point. We’ve been open for three weeks, so at the moment I’m completely overwhelmed and exhausted but I have one of the best jobs in the world!

I host at the restaurant and I think welcoming people into this wonderful space that’s mine is such an incredible feeling! An average day for me is coming into the restaurant, replying to emails, answering the phones, taking reservations, helping the guys set up the restaurant, making all the menu changes for the day, briefing the staff and then service!

An unusual day for me could be dealing with difficult customers, dealing with very unglamorous issues in the restaurant or a day off is pretty unusual for me at the moment too.

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

When did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I started working with my dad, Neil at Spice Temple when I was 14 and a half. I started out just very innocently wanting to help a couple of nights a week and fell in love with it! I enjoyed every aspect of the restaurant.

I loved chatting to people and meeting new people, I loved my relationship I had with regular customers, who now come and dine at my restaurant. I loved working in a team environment, I loved the training and the knowledge we were given on food, wine, spirits! Since then I’ve never thought about anything else.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in all different places and people. I’ve had a lot of incredible dining experiences around the world which have inspired me greatly. My staff inspire me, my customers inspire me! I’m very lucky that I get to work with a whole bunch of extremely talented and creative people.

Do you have a mentor? 

My dad has been a huge influence in my career.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path? 

I was so young when I started working with Dad. I found working with people a lot older than me my biggest challenge. Trying to prove yourself at 15 is pretty tough!

When I decided to undertake the responsibility of my own restaurant at 20 years old, I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s been a huge learning curve for me and I’m working seven nights a week while my 21-year-old friends are out, so it can be tough sometimes, but so rewarding.

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

What are your goals for the future?

I want to be the best possible restaurateur I can be. I’m still learning every day and that’s what I love about what I do. I would love to do some travelling as well. My dad’s proved to me that hard work pays off so I want to work as hard as I possibly can now to give myself a head start to the best possible future.

What is your favourite ingredient at the moment and why?

We’re using a lot of juniper berry at the moment at Missy French. Blood oranges are coming into season as well which are so versatile! I think we’ll have a killer blood orange cocktail on the menu for spring!

Who are you enjoying on Instagram at the moment and why?

I love Dan Pepperell’s food shots – he’s the head chef at 10 William St and he takes these amazing shots on a black table with natural light coming in, they’re really nice! I love Margaret Zhang too, she takes incredible pictures.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

If you have the passion for it, give it all you’ve got! It’s not an easy industry to succeed in, it’s hard work but it’s worth it!

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

To find out more about Missy French head to the website: missyfrench.com

 

A Day In The Life Of … Erin James

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Carissa Walford 

Name and role

Erin James, plays Monica in The Little Death movie

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I guess I would describe myself as a storyteller and a communicator, bringing characters to life on stage and screen. I love engaging with people and connecting with them in as many ways as I can. What I love about my job is that I can work in so many different mediums. For the past 10 years, I have told stories in musicals, plays, cabarets, concerts and film with a host of incredible people. There has never been a dull moment, there is always something new and exciting around the corner (even when you least expect it) and that’s terribly exciting.

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an actress?

I’m sure my family will say that I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic, but I’ve never thought that it was my only option. Just as I love working in a profession which is ever-changing, evolving and always different, I am equally interested in other professions and other means of communication. I thrive when I’m learning. I discovered my love of storytelling very early on (my first acting role was playing the role of Alice in a primary school musical version of Alice in Wonderland!) but I don’t remember making the choice to pursue a career in the arts. It just happened. (And thank goodness it did). No two days are ever the same, no two jobs are ever the same and that is an absolute joy.

My early training was actually in dance (my first tap dancing lesson at age five was really the start of it all) but I studied music, musicology, voice and acting throughout my teenage years. I guess I was an inquisitive child and never stopped asking questions about all kinds of occupations. I was lucky enough to have a great support network around me who all encouraged me to remain focused on academia and remain inquisitive about the world. I’m got a Graduate Diploma in Music, so have taught HSC music at high schools in NSW, I gained my NAATI Accreditation as a sign language interpreter for the deaf and have worked in that capacity since 2007. I run an online business and I’m still studying now, would you believe! I’m in my second year of Post-Graduate Law and I’m finding it absolutely thrilling! I think as an actor you can’t be too inquisitive.

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

When I was very young I watched all of the old Hollywood movie musicals I could get my hands on with my grandmother. We started with Shirley Temple films and moved onto movies starring Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. I suppose my early inspiration was from these artists who spoke to me through the television set. In terms of having an impact on me as a creative person and my career, well that’s a very hard question to answer quickly. I love to learn – I don’t think we ever stop learning – so I think I have taken a little inspiration from almost everyone who has helped shape my career over the years. From the unwavering support of my family to my the teachers who have carefully taught me my craft. I suppose if I had to pick one person, it would be my mum. She is my lucky charm and my most honest critic. I still use her reactions to my work as a gauge.

Its not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

I am now a master at living out of a suitcase and I can pack a travel bag in record time! It is true; the bright lights and flashy side of show business is only a very small part of the job. It is hard being away from loved ones, but missing important life events because of production schedules and and working odd hours means you become very good at making the most of the time you’ve got, while you’ve got it. Also, the internet (especially Skype) has certainly helped make the world a smaller place and helped keep me connected to my family when I’m away. I’ve been very lucky in my career that I always feel busy. There is always something to work towards, always something to focus on. This could be in the form of an audition, a job, a personal goal or creating new work. That’s how I deal with the challenges: always look ahead, never look back.

Erin James

What role has had the most effect on you? Tell us a bit about your latest projects…

Professionally, Monica in The Little Death had the biggest impact. It was my first major film role and something which I am very proud of. I learned so much working on that shoot from everyone involved, not least of all our incredible director and writer Josh Lawson. Being nominated for two awards (AACTA Award and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film) absolutely blew my mind. I had a great time shooting a short film with Tom Ward (from Please Like Me) which will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival this October and I’m currently rehearsing for the Australian tour of CATS the musical with the lovely Delta Goodrem.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to work more in the film and TV realm. It’s a medium which I am falling in love with the more I work in front of a camera.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Focus, hard work and planning are just as important as talent and passion. Be kind to yourself, but remain vigilant in keeping your skills honed. You never know when they might come in handy (Side note: I was cast in The Little Death in a role that required the use of Auslan after having worked with a deaf theatre company in my first year out of drama school. If I hadn’t retained all of the language and made a point of keeping that skill up, I wouldn’t have been able to audition for the role in the first place!)

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re preparing or performing, what does a typical day involve?

My days are rarely ‘typical’, but I’ll take you through a day in my life when working on a major music theatre production.

Early am: Wake up in time to chat to my husband before he starts work (could be VERY early depending upon time zone differences)

9:30am: Cup of English breakfast tea, two weetbix and sultanas. I’ve had the same breakfast for as long as I can remember.

10am: Yoga time. Whether I’m on tour or at home I try to make sure I fit my daily yoga practice into my morning routine. If I’m performing in a musical, it’s especially necessary to wake up the body, stretch and strengthen muscles and start the day well.

11am-1pm Work time. Running an online business means lots of emails. I try to make sure all of my administration is done early in the day so I can move onto other work (like learning scripts and songs) later in the afternoon.

1pm: Lunchtime! – Catching up with a friend for lunch is one of my favourite things – especially since I’m often away from my close friends while working.

2:30 – 4:30pm: My time. Catching up with my family, learning material, scripts, songs. A reformer pilates class, depending upon the day. Getting ready for the theatre.

5:00pm: Dinner. With a performance at 8pm, I try to make sure I’ve eaten with enough time to digest before heading to the theatre.

6pm: Theatre. There are many things to do before the curtain goes up at 8pm, so I try to arrive at the theatre between 6pm and 6:30pm. I always do a full vocal and physical warm-up before the show so I minimise my chance of injury and fatigue.

11pm: Once the show is finished, it’s time to wind down with the cast. I love to have a glass of red wine and some delicious cheese before heading home.

Images courtesy of Kurt Sneddon at Blueprint Studios

Inspirational Women: Liane Sayer-Roberts

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent

Name and role

Liane Sayer-Roberts and I’m the founder and Director of Sauce Communications, an independent full-service and multi-award-winning public relations and events agency based in Leeton in rural New South Wales.

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

No two days are ever the same in my role, but every day starts – without fail – with a very strong caffeine hit and then a 9:08am stand-up meeting to check in with our team of 11 across our Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Riverina offices. Depending on our clients’ needs, I might be involved in preparing a communications strategy on a change based project, writing a speech for a CEO or Chairperson or partnering a client on a high stakes issue. I also travel – a lot (!) – to meet existing and new clients or just to support our team. It’s not unusual to clock 4000km in a month.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I have always loved to write, even when I was considering a career in the police force! I originally trained in journalism (where I got to cover the police round) before taking on a role in PR at a university and retraining in communications management. I loved the variety and complexity of some of the projects I had access to from the start. Eighteen years on, there is very little I haven’t done, from international product launches and social change programs, to Government mergers and crisis communications, and I love it all!

Your profession is often associated with big cities and bright lights, how did you find starting your business, Sauce Communications, in rural NSW?

Sauce Communications was borne out of an unwillingness to abandon my career following a tree change from Sydney to the Riverina region of NSW in 2004. I’ll admit the change in pace going from a city-based location to a rural town was challenging at first, but sometimes success comes from the most unexpected sources. What started out as a short-term tree change has changed the direction of my life – and the life of our family – because of the incredible opportunities that have opened up. On moving to Leeton, I started Sauce Communications to “tide me over” until I resumed a career in the city. Today, more than a decade later, sauce and our family remains proudly headquartered in Leeton. Leeton has been incredibly kind to us – we’ve built a business from scratch, made wonderful friends, found great coffee and care for our two small boys, aged three and seven. Also, you can’t beat the house prices and the two minute commute to work! We came to Leeton for my husband’s career, but we’ve stayed for mine and the lifestyle it affords our young family.

Sauce Communications is now over 10 years old, congratulations! How has the business developed over time? Where do you see Sauce Communications in 10 years?

I’m incredibly proud to have developed Sauce from sole trader status in 2004 (read: me and my laptop) to a national PR agency that was named the 2015 CommsCon Mid-Size Agency of the Year! We’ve just entered our 11th consecutive year of revenue growth and are proud to have leading PR guns on our team working with some of the largest agribusinesses in this country. Sauce specialises in working with medium to large organisations that are based in, represent or need to reach rural and regional audiences. We have a very strong position in this niche and are targeting further growth. If our achievements over the last 10 years are anything to go by, in 2025 the only thing that will change is the numbers – namely the number of staff, clients, offices and awards!

Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Mentor, PR, Communications, Sauce Communications

What are the key challenges/hurdles that have been critical to your success?  

People often assume that our geographical location is a challenge especially with our metropolitan-based clients. That couldn’t be any further from the truth, even with offices in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, Sauce’s HQ in rural Australia is our point of difference and an advantage that’s been crucial to our success as a business.

How did you overcome these?

Today’s world is so connected. In one sense how we operate is no different to city-based businesses that have offices across the country or around the world. To stay connected, we use teleconferences and Skype for regular meetings, while the Skype Business instant messenger tool enables Sauce’s consultants to interact and work as a team no matter where they are based. We use cloud-based applications to support much of our day-to-day work, and I for one would be lost without my iPhone, iPad and social media platforms.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in my family, in my talented team of employees and in my surroundings – whether that’s looking out a plane window at Sydney at dusk, driving those long stretches on the Jerilderie Plains, or watching my two boys play cricket in the back yard.  Inspiration is everywhere if you have the right attitude and an open mind.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?

One of my favourite quotes is from Kevin Spacey is: “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” This is so true – there are incredible women and men everywhere who want to help one-another! In my 18 year career path I’ve had a number of mentors and people who’ve both helped and challenged me to keep focused on my goals, to keep backing myself and to stay true to who I am, in good times and bad. I try and do the same for my team and for the people who seek me out for advice.

What are your goals for the future?

I have many! However one of the things I am most passionate about is providing opportunities for rural women in the fields of PR, marketing and events. It upsets me when I see talent trapped in small towns and I firmly believe you can have the best of both worlds without moving to the city. I’m proud to provide a city agency environment in a regional area, particularly for those who expected their professional careers would be limited in a regional location. I love that, and one of my goals is to create a model that connects talented rural women in my field with opportunities to pursue rewarding, high level careers without moving to the city. I can’t wait to see it come to life.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

If you’re thinking about launching your own business, some points I’d like to share that have been important in my journey include:

  • When you’ve got your business idea, really spend time on understanding what’s unique about your offering. Identify what sets you apart from your competitors – whether it’s a product or service, your customer care, technology, your location or reach. Then communicate that.
  • Never compromise your integrity or your reputation. This is so, so important in regional and rural Australia. Say ‘no’ when it’s not right, say ‘no’ if you’re not the right fit. And if a client’s values aren’t aligned with your own, walk away and walk away quickly.
  • Surround yourself with incredible people. Not only in your business, but most importantly in your support network. Find men and women who can act as mentors, champions, sponsors – who you can bounce ideas off, seek counsel from or can call on to share a glass of wine to celebrate or commiserate!
  • Invest in yourself. Whether that’s investing in education and training. Or investing in your health. Or investing in your sanity via coffee, chocolate and red wine, which is generally how I approach the peaks in my business. Whatever it is that gets you through!

Ones To Watch: Ayeshah Rose

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and, here at SHESAID, we have been lucky enough to meet a few of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make are difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

RELATED: Ones To Watch: Ashlee Harrison

Tell us a bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do?

My name is Ayeshah Rose and I am born of Eurasian origin and grew up surrounded with acres of green and endless amounts of imagination. When I was younger I found an escape from being a mixed raced girl in a rural area in my love of animals, which gave me a sense of freedom.  This was the perfect recipe to be moulded into a storyteller. But it was almost as though one path was not quite enough to pursue a life of no limits. As a tomboy, I joined the Naval Reserve Cadets as a teenager and found the focus and discipline I needed to hurtle a career in the arts. I’m now also a model with WINK Models.

You have recently completed the Kokoda Trail – is this something you have always wanted to do?

I genuinely have an addiction to the outdoors; I love to test my own limits. This was something I knew would test my physical and mental spaces. I will admit I had very little knowledge of the significance of the trail and the detailed stories of the heroes that gave us the freedom we enjoy today. I think many young Australians are uneducated on this part of our history and this trek was a way to be identified as an Australian.

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

Your journey along with your groups was filmed and made into a documentary, Life Challenge – Kokoda. How did you find out about this project?

My good friend James the founder of Life Challenge suggested I do this. We both had battled personal and physical issues with health before and decided to test ourselves and risk everything for this project.

 Ayeshah model

As a model, did you feel like people underestimated your inner strength to complete the journey?

Definitely. I was laughing with the camera guys on the final days because they all had bet with each other that I’d be the first to crumble and I’m sure even some of my close friends may have questioned my endurance for this adventure.

What were the most challenging moments for you on your journey, both physically and mentally? How did you resolve these?

The moments I went down on day 7 with dehydration. It really took me by surprise because I did drink almost 3 litres of water that day already. Going in and out and forgetting where I was and seeing cameras really shook me. Time and rest was the only way out, but the words of Charlie Lynn in my ear was the real awakening and those words of support and hope really rearranged my thoughts and enabled my wheel power.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your journey?

I loved feeling my body switch to survival mode. I loved how well I slept despite all the strange sounds, wild dogs, and torrential rain. Mostly I loved learning from Charlie and watching him with the people, helping, supporting and really investing in them and giving me the opportunity to give back too by naming a scholarship program after me. A major inspiration to me, he’s like my family now.

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

What advice would you give to those following your career path and to those hoping to one day complete Kokoda?

Purely to pay a respect and gratitude for the greatest opportunity of all, freedom. So why not?

As a creative, what inspires you?

I’m a quick learner so I love to try anything and try and master it, whether that’d be a new technique, a new style or activity. I love pushing myself to be inspired by other creative outlets; I am inspired everyday with something else, something different every time.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?  

I have so many plans! I always love doing a lot with so much variety. I want to continue building on my strength with my fitness and yoga, continue with making art that explores a variety of executions, I want to be creating characters with my own imagination and express them with my acting, and of course be travelling to climb the rest of the treks in the world!

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

If you are interested in seeing more of Ayeshah or her work with WINK Models head to http://www.winkmodels.com.au/model/ayesha-rose

Inspirational Women: Genevieve Radnan

Each week SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Sally Brown and Chrissy Biasotto

Name and role

Genna (or Genevieve) Radnan, CEO and founder of Gennarosity Abroad

Tell us about you? What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

I’m a 24-year-old registered nurse and the CEO and founder of the registered charity, Gennarosity Abroad, which is based in Kenya, East Africa. I have always had a passion for helping others and caring for those around me. I’ve always consciously been grateful of my upbringing, the family I was born into and the morals and values that I’ve been raised with. I enjoy working in a community setting and working with children which is why I work as a school nurse. I’m able to not only help the children when they’re unwell or injured; I’m able to educate them as well. One of the greatest benefits of being a school nurse is that you get to work within school hours, and have the rest of the day to continue living life. In my time outside of work I get to focus on my charity work, giving speeches to school and various communities about volunteering and the work I do, and I am about to take up a second degree in a Bachelor of Arts in International Aid and Development.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I originally went to Kenya when I graduated from high school in 2009 to take part in a teaching and building volunteering program for two weeks. I personally never thought I was academic so didn’t think seriously about university or the possible opportunities that could come from it. During my second trip to Kenya in my gap year for 6 months in 2010, I came across a family of 10. Eight children were born into a family making less than $1 a day. The mother, Zipporah, was illiterate and uneducated whilst the father, Jack, worked casually as a labourer. This was the evening that changed my life. There I was, an 18-year-old, fresh out of a private high school taking for granted that I had been accepted into a university course and had deferred it as I was certain I wouldn’t go. I didn’t want to go because of pressure from my family. And little did I realise the opportunities university would afford me, and just how lucky we are to receive the access and levels of education that we do here in Australia. I realised that school, let alone university, was something the people of this village, and specifically women and girls could only dream of. The only reason they couldn’t go was they were born into families they didn’t choose, that are so unfortunately deprived of the opportunities that we get. At 19 years of age, I felt obliged to do something about it. I wanted an education for me, and I wanted an education for these communities. Education I believe is one of the main keys to ending the cycle of poverty, and I want this to be my life.

Inspirational Women, Charity, Life Advice, Career Advice, Career Development

What drove you to creating Gennarosity Abroad?

I couldn’t help but notice a kindergarten shack made from cardboard and wood in the original state it had been when it was built thirty years prior. The same cardboard walls that were old and decrepit, the same wooden desks and chairs that were falling apart, and the same timber roof that was caving in. I wanted to help and provide a better learning environment for those children didn’t give up until I accomplished my mission. This is how Gennarosity Abroad began.

Since building the kindergarten in 2010, we have established and a training centre in Karunga. The purpose of this centre is to teach uneducated and illiterate women and girls above the age of 12 years. We promote gender equality by providing a quality school environment, helping avoid HIV/AIDS, improve maternal health, promote child protection, provide counselling services and increase accessibility to clean water and sanitation. Up to 40 students will be selected annually for this course which will enhance their abilities to support their families by teaching the following basic skills: sewing, English and Swahili, mathematics, financial literacy/business students and health education.

What were the initial stumbling blocks, getting Gennarosity Abroad started and since then?

Where do we begin? There have been a number of hurdles along the way, some of which we are still trying to overcome. A main issue we have had to work around is the corruption in Kenya. Unfortunately due to my complexion, I am a walking dollar sign for those who want to do business with us resulting in prices increase and bribes which I don’t like to condone. Numerous times we have had teaching materials shipped to Kenya from Australia as well, and unfortunately some of these boxes never make it through their customs borders. It is sad how corrupt it is and that there is no consideration for the purpose of the contents of the boxes which would so greatly help the community. Our greatest hurdle at the moment though is trying to get our DGR status approved, which will help us with getting fundraising and donations from companies and individuals who would like the claim back their donations on tax. There is a lot more paperwork and a lot more processes than we anticipated with most things, but it is all part of the learning curve.

How did you overcome these?

It’s important to be smart about these things and have an understanding of the cultural differences. I now don’t go along on business deals and have my Kenyan business manager and team organise any deals that are necessary. I have very strong views about not paying bribes, especially if it’s the charity’s money paying them when that should be going towards the project and improving lives, not for those who are greedy and misuse their power and authority. The only way to get DGR status is to continue to be hopeful and keep amending and resubmitting the documents until we’ve met the standards required.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

My mentor in high school was my tutor, David Whitcombe who always told his stories about his time in Namibia. As I already had an interest in Africa, this nourished my desire Since beginning my journey with Gennarosity Aboard, this has expanded to Margaret Lowe, the deputy principal of Emanuel School and one of my sisters, Stephanie Radnan who has stuck by my side and dedicated hours upon hours to help me lift this charity off the ground. They have helped put my charity website together, completing forms and information for registering the charity and help with fundraising events. We hold meetings monthly to convene about where the charity is, what we are working on, and where to go from here, as well as problem solving any issues we are currently facing.

You deal with issues that others often shy away from, what drives and motivates you to keep going?

I just don’t believe in giving up when times get tough. A lot of people tell me I am fighting an uphill battle. But I don’t understand why that is necessarily a bad thing. I don’t understand why people give up on things so easily. Maybe it’s a result of the culture we live in where everything seems to revolve around instant gratification. The issues of poverty aren’t going to be resolved anytime soon, and I’m in it for the long haul. Being ignorant and only observing the hardships this world faces doesn’t do anything to help resolve the issues. Poverty isn’t going to be solved by watching the news or reading about the devastation that it causes in the papers or online. And all I can do is help in whichever way I know how, and on whatever scale that might be. What drives me to keep going is that poverty won’t be solved overnight, and so you have to keep going. Everyone leaves a mark on this world somehow, and I want this to be mine.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in knowing I have the personal ability and communal support to follow my dreams. When you look at the bigger picture it is daunting however if you take it step by step and day by day it’s much more achievable. The most inspiring aspect is seeing the outcome from the work we do. Having graduates from 2013 open up their own businesses from the skills they were taught at our Grandma Jenny’s Training Centre is priceless. We have given 70 women and girls the opportunity to better not only their lives, but cascading down to their family members and community.

What are your goals for the future and the future of Gennarosity Abroad?

I would love to one day open up a medical clinic and an academy however this will only take place once the training centre is self-sufficient. I want all my projects to be run by the community for the community without depending on the help of the charity full time. This would be my ultimate success; helping the communities developing facilities that they will then be able to manage and run as part of their society.

Inspirational Women, Charity, Life Advice, Career Advice, Career Development

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Do it! Get involved, find out how and go do it. So many people want to stop you from achieving your dreams because it’s hard. Let me tell you, that’s a part of life. Once you accept that and get on with it, you’ll be further than you know. Surround yourself with likeminded people and those who have similar interests, passions and hobbies. Ask questions, all the time. Find out what you can, discover your passions, and then take action. I am always happy for people to come on board and help out. So if anyone is interested, don’t be shy and please contact me.

What’s your personal mission statement?

You can’t help the family you are born into. We should all feel obliged to help as those around us born into poverty could have just as easily have been us. We aren’t entitled to the lives we live. We are just so incredibly fortunate for how fate guided us. If we could all just spend 5 minutes a day doing something for someone else then this world would be a much greater place. I am all about recognising my fortunes, and helping to spread them to those who weren’t so lucky.

 Images via gennarosityabroad.org

A Day In The Life Of… Amber Scott

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Jordan Mercer

Name and role

Amber Scott, principal artist with the Australian Ballet

Tell us a bit about what you do?

My life as a ballerina is a combination of dedicated routine alongside a great deal of travel and performing. From the outside, a life on the stage and performing around Australia and overseas may seem glamorous, but in reality there is a hidden backstage world where all dancers work themselves to peak physical condition every day. Sweating it out in the studio for hours leads to the reward of performing when a new season opens.

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be a dancer?

When I was a young girl my mother noted my boundless energy and took me to creative dance classes. I loved these as it was such a fun way to express all that energy. I grew up on the Sunshine Coast QLD so being physical was such a huge part of my youth. I feel all the running, swimming and climbing I did as a youngster really helped condition my body for the life ahead. My parents took me to see Swan Lake when I was five and it was definitely an epiphany, I think that was my fated moment when I knew what I wanted to do. Along the way, the years of training and endless dedication occasionally became a bit tedious and I probably had ulterior careers such as a paediatrician or actress up my sleeve, but my true love of dance always won out!

Inspirational Women, A Day In The Life Of, Career Development, Career Advice, Ballet, Performance, Talent, Theatre

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I have been inspired by every teacher I have been lucky enough to learn from. My first teacher Anne Fraser was so important in teaching me the pure beauty of classical technique. Eileen Tasker from the National TheatreBallet school in Melbourne gave me the courage to go for it and try new steps and even if they weren’t perfect she gave me a real sense of joy in performing. Marilyn Rowe OBE, Gailene Stock CBE AM and Leigh Rowles picked me out from a room of eleven-year-olds to join their associate program and thus began my life within The Australian Ballet family. Marilyn Jones OBE directed me as young girl and taught me my first solo en pointe. I feel so lucky to have been inspired by these women from a young age. They all gave so generously of their time and shared their ballerina secrets with me. When I think of grace, kindness and humility I think of all these ladies. My mother is also a beacon of light for me. She gave up a lot of her dreams so I could have mine and we had so much fun learning together about this wondrous world of ballet. It’s always so special to perform when my family are in the audience. Thinking of them comforts me and makes me want to express all the joy of life when I’m onstage.

It’s not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

The toughest times have been when I have been off because of an injury, or having to dance through pain because of one. It is par for the course in our line of work and fortunately we have a brilliant medical team to guide us through these times and keep us strong. I certainly wouldn’t have lasted this long without their care! Sometimes early in my career the amount of shows our company perform each year (160+) would really wear me down and even though we would be performing beautiful works, the grind would be really hard to push through. Looking back I can see how all those years of pushing through endless corps de ballet roles really gives you the grit you need to have longevity in this career.

What role has had the most effect on you? Tell us a bit about your latest projects…

I think the role of Odette in both Graeme Murphy’s and Stephen Baynes’ versions of Swan Lake have had the biggest impact on my career. It was my first big break when David McAllister asked me to be Odette when I was 21. I still feel so grateful for that leap of faith he took in me, it was terrifying and wonderful all at once! I still am dancing that role and growing with the ballet each year we perform it. I think I will always be learning more about her character. The other special Odette moment was when Stephen Baynes said I would be in his premiere cast for a new traditional version. I was a principal artist at that point, terrified all over again but so humbled to be stepping into that iconic ballerina role. I love the score of Swan Lake and always find this motivates the emotions I feel for the ballet.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re preparing or performing, what does a typical day involve?

My workday is certainly not the usual 9-5 but it also varies a great deal depending on our performance schedule. Over years of late theatre nights I am certainly not a “morning person”! Because of this I tend to push back waking up until 8am and then dawdle over breakfast. chores and emails at home. After a stop off at a local café for a flat white I get to work about 9:45am to warm up for class.

Class is generally a similar affair each day. We begin at the barre to warm and stretch our bodies and gradually the intensity increases to include turns and jumping in the centre of the room. After a 15-minute break it’s back into the studio for two and a half hours of whatever ballet is coming up. At the moment there are four different ballets being rehearsed so it is a typically busy time at the Australian Ballet. If it is a show day we will stop at 3pm to rest, eat and maybe get some physio before heading to the theatre at 5pm to put make-up on and prepare for the 7:30pm performance. After a big show I like to jump in the ice buckets up to my knees to combat any swelling or muscle soreness the next day. Then it’s time to go home and have a late dinner, usually an omelette or leftover pasta, around 11pm. Not ideal dietary advice but I prefer to relax and eat dinner after the show so I don’t feel queasy during pas de deuxs! On the days when we don’t perform I keep rehearsing after lunch till 6:30pm and then head home to cook dinner or catch up with friends and family if I can. I love cooking, it’s one of my favourite ways to unwind at the end of the day. The Ugg boots go on and then it’s straight to the kitchen to try a new recipe out with my boyfriend. Actually he is more of a “recipe” person and a great cook. I tend to make up dishes depending on what we have in the house. Luckily he is always very encouraging of my experimentation!

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

What are your goals for the future?

My most immediate goal for the future is to give my all to performing Aurora and Lilac Fairy in David McAllister’s new production The Sleeping Beauty. I am loving revisiting both these roles and re-interpreting them with a more mature approach. There have been many rewarding hours spent with David and our Ballet Mistress Fiona Tonkin helping me develop my interpretation. The staff of the company spend so much time with us, they see us at our best and worst, I always feel so lucky to be able to be completely honest in the studio with them.

In the distant future, I would like to study health science and continue learning about human anatomy which is something I am currently studying online. I think it will tie in really well with my ballet background and hopefully enable me to give back to the artform in some way in the future. Of course, I hope to keep dancing as long as possible and hopefully revisit some of my favourite roles such as Tatiana in Onegin, and Manon. Beyond that, I daydream of travels to Europe, having a family, a garden, and staying happy and healthy.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

As advice for someone wanting to be a ballerina I can only offer advice based on my own experience. I think if I was speaking to myself as young person I would say, be patient and be kind to yourself. It’s natural for dancers to be very self-critical but if you spend so much energy focussing on the negative you lose that feeling of joy and escapism that dance can offer. I would also say to embrace your uniqueness. Forget about lack of physical symmetry, stiff joints, not being flexible enough, and celebrate your strengths. The audience doesn’t want to see all that worry, they want to be swept away into another world.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Career Development, Career Advice, Life Advice, Ballet, Theatre, Performance, Talent

Amber will be performing in The Australian Ballet’s upcoming contemporary triple bill, 20:21. The show in Sydney will run from 5th – 21st of November. For tickets head to www.australianballet.com.au

Inspirational Women: Celeste Barber

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Juliette Wright

Name and role

Celeste Barber Actor, comedian, #celestechallengeaccepted creator.

Tell us about your passion as a comedian? How long have you known you wanted to make people laugh?

People have been laughing at me for as long as I can remember. From a really young age people would always laugh at stupid things I did, it used to frustrate me because I wanted to be taken seriously.

What was the hardest time in your career and why?

It’s really hard to have a consistent ongoing career in Australia. It can be quite disheartening at times. I know some of the most amazing actors that are working for their parents to pay the bills. So whenever I am working I’m really grateful. The hardest time I have had while actually working was when Mark died. We worked together on All Saints and he was my best friend. When he died I never wanted to act again.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My friends. I have the greatest friends in the whole wide world, I’m sure other people say that but they are lying, MY FRIENDS ARE BETTER THAN ANYONES. I’m pretty picky with the people I spend my time with, so the people I surround myself with are quality. I LOVE actors and creative people, they really inspire me, but most of my friends have ‘normal’ jobs from HR management to retail assistants. My sister, Olivia is a university tutor and is by far my favourite person in the whole wide world.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

How do you feel about the huge amount of media you have received in the past two weeks?

Weird, fun, scary, awesome, stupid, crazy and exciting.

What has been the craziest minute of the past few weeks?

Sitting with my husband and two friends Kate and Phil last saturday night. My sister called and told me the Daily Mail online had done an article on me. So we spent the rest of the night watching my Instagram account grow. We invented some fun drinking games: ‘For every 100 followers we must scull.’

Why?

Because it’s weird. I’ve been working in the industry since 2003 and all of a sudden I post a photo of myself lying half naked on a dirt pile and BAM, I’m running for president.

How did you handle it?

I drank, A LOT.

Why do you think people have responded so well to your take-offs of celebrity photos?

I don’t really know, I think people like to laugh, I know I do. Seeing fancy people do fancy things that require A LOT of fancy money and calling it ‘everyday’ is kind of tiring to see all the time. So I wanted to be me, not so fancy, a bit silly and super honest.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

Did you have a mentor?

I have a few, I ask a lot of different people what they think about a script or a photo I want to post before I do it, the people that are close to me are my mentors.

Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?

MY PARENTS, my mum has always said to me is “just be yourself” and that has always stuck in my head. As well as financial supporting when I as younger, they were always said and lead by me. If I called them and said that I wanted to leave my agent and freelance for a while, even though the security of an agent was appealing to them they were always supportive of my decision. My dad would say: “Whatever you want to do princess is great.”

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path and since then?

It wasn’t until I actually started working on All Saints that I realised I was funny. I had done the Big Laugh Comedy Festival before I started on the show, but I didn’t really think I was great at it. I really love and respect the people I worked with on that show and we had so much fun. Joking around on set with people like Mark Priestly, Virginia Gay, Wil Traval – people I think are fucking hilarious was where I think I found my confidence in comedy.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

How did you overcome these?

I feel like I got old really fast, I have always been the youngest in my group of friends. But then it felt like all of a sudden there were people younger than me audition for the same things and I thought: ‘Okay, it’s time to realise that funny is your thing, and if you’re not going to wrap your head around that soon and have a crack at this acting thing then there are a lot of younger people who will do it for you.’

You said “next step Ellen”, which is so totally possible (and we cant wait!).  What would you love to ask Ellen about her career as a comedian?

The first thing I would ask her is if I could go house shopping with her, I LOVE interior design (I’m constantly moving my house around, much to my hot husbands disgust) and she seems to buy a house live in it then move 6 months later. I’m quite angry, loud and self- deprecating with my comedy, whereas I find Ellen to be upbeat and positive which I LOVE. I would ask her if I could borrow some of her ‘happy pills’ so I could be more like her.

Who makes you laugh?  

My 4 year old son Lou, he LOVES making people laugh.  My sister and the way my mum talks to my dad when she knows she has an audience. Also, my husband falling over is the funniest thing ever. He is the most grounded, coordinated, centred human I have ever met. He surfs, skates, snowboards and can ride a bike one handed while carrying our sleeping 4 year old son. So when he slips or trips on something, I have to stop what I’m doing so I can respect the belly laugh that is about to spew out of me.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as y?

I really struggle with giving people advice. There is SO MUCH advice being given by people that are really privileged and out of touch. Insta quotes will be the death of me. So I guess my non advice would be: Have a crack at it, or don’t. Whatever.

What is your biggest dream for your career?

Work with Tina Fey, I want to do more TV. I LOVE working in TV. Sitting around on set a lot of people talk about doing films, but my heart lies in TV.  I want to be given lots of money to work on the scripts that my friend Belinda and I have and when they are ready, shop them around. That would be pretty cool. To be honest, I’d like to be offered something, I’m HORRIBLE at auditions I hate them so to skip that step and just be offered a comedy role would be a highlight. I’d love to be part of SNL.

To see more of Celeste’s work and #celestechallengeaccepted follow her on Instagram: @celestebarber

A Day In The Life Of… The Style Co.

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Sara Caverley

Names and roles

Marie Cruz and Sarah Gonsalves, owners of The Style Co. 

Tell us about The Style Co. How did it come about and what makes it unique to others?

The Style Co. was born from Marie’s frustrations over the lack of unique options to customise the design and feel of her own wedding. This belief that every event whether it be an wedding or private event, should be customised to make people feel something, is the oxygen that fuels our super talented team of twelve to continuously show clients that thinking outside the box is the only way to execute an event.

When did you both discover your talent? Where you always creative bodies?

Marie: I’ve always been creative, from making jewellery right through to designing stationery, so event design was a natural progression and one that only become my serious career path after years of working as travel agent left me feeling uninspired and hungry to start my own business.

Sarah: I was lulled into the world of events whilst completing an internship at a creative agency. It was here that I fell in love how styling could significantly impact people’s experiences and I knew that finally I had found my calling.

The Style Co. , Inspirational Women, events, Style, Career Advice, Career Development , A Day In The Life Of

You create beautiful custom events that continually push the boundaries, do you ever feel the pressure to continually design, create and impress?

We love the challenge of continuously thinking outside the box and designing something that is innovative, fresh and experiential. We don’t feel any pressure externally, it’s more so an internal drive within our team, that sees us always reaching for bigger and brighter ideas that we know will create lifelong memories for our clients and their guests.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Our inspiration comes from so many amazing places, particularly from this amazing city – Melbourne! We’re obsessed with architecture, interiors, fashion, travelling and soaking up the millions of beautiful images we see on blogs and Pinterest.

The Style Co is now in its fifth year of operation, congratulations! What were the initial stumbling blocks and how have you overcome them?

The finance side of the business. Day to day cashflow was difficult to manage at the beginning.  It’s not something that comes easily to a lot of creatives and also something you don’t think about when starting a creative business. Not being able to pay myself an income the first few months also meant that I took a hit personally and had to juggle bills and a mortgage.

The Style Co. , Inspirational Women, events, Style, Career Advice, Career Development , A Day In The Life Of

What are your goals for the future and the future of The Style Co.?

To continue pushing the boundaries and showing people the possibilities when designing events.  We also have our eyes set on doing a few events overseas and workshops.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in the same career path as yourself?

Get as much experience as possible.  If it means putting your hand up for free work, do it.  And work hard!  Call the people in the industry that inspire you and ask them what they look for when hiring.  Each business is looking for something different.. but something we all have in common is that we’re all looking for the hardest working and most eager to learn.

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. What does a work day for you involve? Particularly if you were planning or the day of an event!

The designing and planning of an event can sometimes be more hectic than event day itself..  but there really is no typical day..

Marie

6:45am: Hit snooze on the old alarm

7am: Wake up, get ready and pack Harrison’s things

8am: Wake Harrison up, feed him and get him ready (pray to God I don’t have a screaming baby on my hands)

8.45am: Head to work with baby on board

9am: Have breakfast and check my emails

9.30am: Daily team meeting to discuss the week ahead

10am-6pm: Is generally filled with site visits, concept meetings, supplier meetings, sourcing, workshop and marketing planning all while juggling Harrison feeding routine.

6pm to 7pm: Client meetings where the team present our latest concepts

7.30pm: Put Harrison to bed, have dinner and catch up on daily gossip with hubby or watch the next episode of whatever series I happen to be obsessed with at the time

10pm: Respond to emails and troll the Internet for design inspiration or check out and obsess over unrealistic holiday destinations that I can’t take a baby to (sad face).

11:30pm: Hit the sack and hope that bub sleeps through the night.

The Style Co. , Inspirational Women, events, Style, Career Advice, Career Development , A Day In The Life Of

Sarah

6am: Alarm goes off. Denial sets in…….snooze!

6:15am: Alarm goes off again!!! Get up & shower relunctantly. Throw on some (hopefully clean) gym gear, grab a change of clothes and head out the door.

6:30am: Drive to Pilates listening to Triple J.On the way I’m brainwashing myself by repeating the mantra ‘exercise is a good thing’

7am: Pilates with some of my fellow Style Co. team members

7:45am: Pull my broken body off the reformer bed and hit the showers.

8:30am: Back in the car heading to the studio.

8:45am: Arrive at studio, make brekky whilst gossiping about the night before’s Bachelor episode. #welovebachie

9am: Sit down and map out my day and prioritising my tasks.

9:30am: Daily Meeting with the team to get a run down of everyone’s top priorities.

10:00am – 6:00pm: A standard ‘work’ day consists of lengthy phone calls with overwhelmed brides, site inspections, new client appointments, management meetings, design presentations, catching up on my fav blogs and daydreaming on Pinterest.

6:30pm: Switch into girlfriend mode (Damien my boyfriend also works at The Style Co.) and we head out for a bite to eat choosing from a Broadsheet wishlist he’s enthusiastically created over the weekend.

9:30pm: Get home, shower, read a chapter of whatever happens to be resting on my bedside table.

10:30pm: Bedtime. *High-five* Damien for remembering to turn the electric blankets on!

Images via The Style Co.

Inspirational Women: Juliette Wright

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent 

Name and role

Juliette Wright, GIVIT Founder and CEO, Australia’s Local Hero 2015

Tell us a bit about what you do, what do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

On a day to day basis I take care of two gorgeous kids who are 6 and 8 years old and although I am CEO of Australian charity GIVIT during the week, on weekends I’m supporting my family manage a cattle property on the NSW / QLD border.

What drove you to establish GIVIT? When did you realise this was what you wanted to do?

Following the birth of my second child in 2008, I was surprised at the struggle endured trying to donate my second-hand baby clothes to someone in need. Instead, local charities were searching desperately for essential items such as sanitary products for women who had fled domestic violence, steel-capped boots to enable unemployed fathers to secure work and clean mattresses to stop children sleeping on the floor. I quickly realised it wasn’t about overloading charities with items, but instead recognising the specific needs they already had to help pull their clients out of poverty. That’s where the idea of creating a website which connects those who can give items, to those charities which need those items, began.

Did you know there are more than 2.5 MILLION people (1 in 6 children) living in poverty in Australia? When I started GIVIT I had one goal – to make giving easy. I wanted to alleviate the effects of poverty by making sure every charity has what it needs through the simple act of giving… and what better way to do this than online. The following year I created GIVIT (www.givit.org.au) an online platform connecting those who have with those who need. Through GIVIT’s website everyday Australians are able to see exactly what is required by vulnerable members of their local community and easily donate those items. Somewhere in Australia, there is a pair of unwanted work boots which could help that father secure work to support his family, a reliable washing machine to allow a single mother the time to apply for work instead of washing clothes by hand and texts books to enable a disadvantaged student the chance to graduate university.

Since I established GIVIT in 2009, more than 210,000 items have been donated through our website to assist those in need. More than 1,000 trusted Australian charities are supported as these urgently needed items are sourced direct from the public. GIVIT supports the charities, but we also provide a platform encouraging and inspiring people to feel good about giving. Tens of thousands of Australians in every state and territory have donated through GIVIT to help someone else with an exact need. It is an amazingly uplifting experience to help someone who desperately needs it – I believe we help the givers too.

Inspirational Women: Juliette Wright

What have been the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then? How did you overcome these?

I have had a number of learnings. Business learnings and management learnings… so many in each of those. My biggest learning has been the importance of staying true to you.  When I have pretended to be someone I’m not, I’ve always failed.  For example, I am not bureaucratic at all and initially found working with government very challenging as they have such a huge (and essential) focus on risks and failure.  When I decided to be myself, mitigate issues my way and relate to them naturally, my relationship with them became stronger.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in how generous people are – we see it every day. At GIVIT, we constantly hear amazing stories of how one simple donated item pulled someone else out of poverty. A personal favourite of mine was when a soccer ball was given to a young refugee boy struggling to fit in at school. He was very talented and playing soccer allowed him to go from zero to hero with the other children.  Donated rugby boots helped kick-start a rugby league team on the remote Mornington Island in far north Queensland. The disadvantaged community was struggling to form their first league team as they had just one pair of boots to share among 18 players. As part of an effort to help foster healthy community connections, local council contacted us in hopes our donors would respond. We shared their plight through our website and social media channels and within hours more than double the amount of requested boots had been donated from right across Australia. To me, that is simply amazing.  I’m also inspired by our reality – how can anyone rest when there is such awful poverty around us.

GIVIT not only helps those less fortunate but has stepped up in times of natural disaster. Can you tell us a bit about GIVIT’s involvement in the Queensland floods?

In 2011 Queensland was hit by devastating floods and an overwhelming number of people desperately needed essential items to help rebuild their lives. Then-Premier Anna Bligh turned to me for help and GIVIT became the state government’s official website for matching donations so charities weren’t swamped with excess, unwanted goods. The GIVIT website received 1.8 million hits in 10 days and more than 33,500 goods were matched in three weeks. This led to the establishment of a dedicated GIVIT Disaster Recovery service. In partnership with the Queensland Government, GIVIT is now the only reliable source of exactly what is needed in disaster response and recovery. I am incredibly proud of the system we created and the power it has to help Australia’s most vulnerable, especially during traumatic times such as Cyclone Marcia, the Moreton Bay floods, Logan House Fire and Ravenshoe café explosion.

Inspirational Women, Mentor, Charity, GIVIT, Queensland, Career Development, Life Advice

 

Your amazing work has seen you nominated for Queensland’s Business Women’s Award for Innovation and winning the Local Hero category at this year’s Australian of the Year awards. How do these recognitions affect you and GIVIT?

I feel unbelievably honoured to have received these awards and now be on the Australia Day Honour roll. Accepting an award from the Australian Prime Minister was the most humbling experience of my life. I this award helps inspire people who want to make a difference – don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done! With GIVIT, this recognition and endorsement has provided me with renewed energy and passion. It’s given me the confidence to chase my goals, continue growing GIVIT and keep reaching out further to those who need it.

What are your goals for the future and the future of GIVIT?

In future, I would like GIVIT to be a household name nationally as I want all Australians to understand how one simple, donated item has the ability to pull someone else out of poverty. In Queensland, GIVIT will be heavily focused on disaster recovery – expanding from natural disasters to a disaster of any kind, including the support of families after a tragic event. On a personal level, my family and I grow cattle and run 1,000 breeders on a property outside Warwick in Queensland. Spending time on the property, I have grown an understanding of and empathy towards the land and those working on it. I am grief stricken by the stories coming from the land of how our farmers and local communities are being affected by the drought.  This has led me to create a Drought Campaign, aiming to pull every drought-affected community up by the boot-straps. As a result, next year I will be heavily focused on helping those living in remote, rural and regional areas.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

I have three…

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway. So many people told me GIVIT couldn’t be done and wouldn’t work. It has. If I listened to everyone who said no or I thought failure was a sign I was not supposed to be doing GIVIT, I would not have helped more than 210,000 people who are impoverished, marginalised or vulnerable.  
  • As social enterprises are always new and exciting, think about getting a law firm’s support.  When I started I was told I have the T&Cs of a hairdresser! Lawyers seem scary as a breed, but I think they have been the most surprisingly warm and supportive group. I said I wanted to start a donation portal and you know risk adverse they are! Get a ProBono lawyer, get their advice and solid T&Cs.
  • “It will be a roller coaster, enjoy the ride!” If I had have known that, I would not have been so surprised by the difficulties I have had to overcome to make it happen. GIVIT is supposed to be a positive, inspiring website but to obtain money to support its growth has been a constant challenge.

Inspirational Women, Mentor, Charity, GIVIT, Queensland, Career Development, Life Advice

A Day In The Life Of… Jordan Mercer

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Anna Flanagan

Name and role

Jordan Mercer, Surf IronWoman

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I am a professional surf athlete. My discipline changes dependent on the time of the year, but basically it’s broken into the sprint season where I compete in the Kellog Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series, before transitioning into the long-distance paddleboard season. My paddleboard specialty is the prone paddleboarding event, which means either lying down on my stomach or on my knees, paddling the ocean.

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The sport gene runs through your veins. At a just 13 years old you were asked by the AIS to be a part of their training squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What made your turn your back on gymnastics and head to the water?

Lifestyle was probably a big one – I think deep down I knew that I did love the ocean and that coastal lifestyle. With gymnastics I had to move to Canberra to be at the AIS training for the upcoming Olympic Games – I wouldn’t be able to be at the beach. The big decision was knowing that I had a growing passion for being in the ocean – racing there and the fact that I had such a good group of girl friends. The environment and that team spirit that was created when I did surf sports was something that drew me towards a change of career path at such a young age.

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re in season, what does a typical day involve? 

I train Monday to Friday, doing three to four sessions a day. Saturday is my big session, where, depending on what time of season it is, I’m either doing very long board paddle sessions anywhere from four to six hours, or it could be an Ironwoman session, which is over and done with in an hour and 15 minutes and is extremely high-intensity – a real vomitron of a session, and the lactic usually lingers for a day or so. Sunday is ‘Sunday fun-day’ for me. I like to do a light session but usually it’s just family time, spending time with friends and generally being at the beach. I’m not quite over the beach yet so through the week I still like to go down, relax, kick the ball, and go surfing.

6am: Generally, throughout the season I’m swim training for two hours in the morning.

10am: I’ll head off from there – have a little snack and into the gym where I work out for about an hour. I like to do a lot of body weight exercises, lots of balance and strength exercises, and obviously getting the heart rate up with cardio in the gym. Sometimes, I’ve got a trainer throughout the week, other times I might be doing my own stuff in the gym. I also love to do a bit of pad boxing when I get the chance.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

12pm: I like to have a nap or a surf. That, for me, is refreshing and a little bit of personal time. After a nice lunch I’ll be ready for the afternoon sessions where I’ll be running, or alternating from run to gym. When I’m running I’m either at the National Park in Noosa or I like sand running. Track running’s always good too. Sometimes it’s nice to go for a flat road run. My runs go from maybe four to 10km.

3pm: For my final session for the day I’m in the ocean. I’m paddling my board or on my ski, or putting all the disciplines together and doing an IronWoman session with a run, swim, ski, board, all in the surf.  That usually goes for an hour or so and it’s my favourite session of the day.

I just like challenging myself, trying new things, being in the ocean, playing guitar, I love listening to music, creating things and spending time with loved ones and family!

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an athlete?

From a young age I was always determined to be the best. Not just at sport but anything I tried, I always strived to do things perfectly. I did a lot of sports through my early years running and gymnastics being my focus. From the age of six until I was thirteen I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast. That dream came very close to fruition when I was offered a position at the Australian Institute of Sport in the gymnastics team to train for the upcoming games. My dreams and future vision have changed through the years but sport has always remained a very important part of who I am and what I wanted to do. But one of the big moments where I thought I can do this, I can be a professional athlete was when I was 16 and in year 11 at school, when I was just old enough to trial for the professional IronWoman Series. I remember being on the beach ready to race, the surf was huge and the weather pretty wild. I hadn’t been paddling a ski for much longer than three months and my swimming wasn’t very strong. It was going to be tough, to say the least. But I knew there wasn’t one thing that would stop me from giving this trial the fight of my life. I had never wanted something so badly in my life, with every ounce of my being I wanted to become a professional IronWoman and it was going to happen that weekend! I knew I deserved it and I believed I could do it!

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a few people. Children with special needs and disabilities, which I have had the chance to work with through some amazing charities. Noosa Seahorse Nippers is for children with disabilities and special needs allowing them to enjoy junior surf life saving activities. Also, Surfers Healing and Paddle4Autism both program’s which allow Autistic children to surf and enjoy the ocean with watermen and women! Jamie Mitchell one of the best watermen in the world, 10x Molokai2Oahu World Paddle Board Champion and big wave surfer is a special mentor of mine, and a great friend. Mikey Mendoza, skating sensation and fellow Red Bull teammate is someone who makes the most out of every opportunity in life and has a contagiously powerful and positive attitude and my Aunty Jenny, for personal reasons.

What are your goals for the future?

To do what it takes to be proud of the person I am and never stop learning. I know by doing this I will be inspiring people to follow their dreams and supporting those less fortunate. To live a life of giving and learning surrounded by my loved ones, is my ultimate goal.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Growing up I’ve been given a lot of advice and a lot of people with great experience in sport have said some pretty special things to me, but the most import piece of advice I was given was to go out there and have fun. I used to laugh it off because I found it very hard to do that with the amount of pressure that I put on myself, and how nervous I got before any event or any race or any run I did. But in the last couple of years I’ve learnt how important it is for me to enjoy myself and have fun out there. My best results have come from when I’m relaxed, when I’m out there and happy to be where I am – and so it is, I think, the most important advice I’ve been given in life and of course racing. So the best piece of advice I could pass on from my experience is hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and there is no easy road to any place worth going.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, paddleboard, Red Bull, elite athlete, talent, sportswoman, sport

Images via © Red Bull Media House

Inspirational Women: Maggie Beer

Each week SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Pippa Hallas

Name and role

Maggie Beer, founder of Maggie Beer Products

What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

Everything in my life has been an ‘organic’ process that has developed rather than necessarily been planned… that’s not to say it has always been easy but more so that I have learnt to ‘go with the flow’. So when it came to a career involving food it really just evolved. There was no grand plan – but moving to the Barossa when I married Colin and being surrounded by such wonderful, seasonal produce certainly sparked my existing interest in food to be taken to the next level.

There isn’t really too much that’s ‘regular’ on a day-to-day basis! Every day is different for me, I might be filming and cooking in an aged care facility to promote my latest project, the Maggie Beer Foundation, teaming up with my favourite side kick from our TV days, Simon Bryant to cook on stage to a live performance by the WASO, taste testing and fine tuning my latest ice cream flavours with my product development team, cooking for a photo shoot for a magazine or my website, or picking produce from my garden to cook for dinner – always a common theme of food, food, food.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was growing up, so when I left school I carried out a career ‘degustation’ of sorts – from a lift driver in a New Zealand department store to the assistant to the senior geophysicist for British Petroleum in Libya and in the fields of light aircraft to being a citizenship law clerk for the American Embassy and undertaking house management at the Women’s College of Sydney University. So when it came to a career involving food, it really just evolved.

Where do you think your passion for food developed from?

This is a tough one. In many ways it was my parents; my father, particularly, was a great cook and was obsessive about freshness and quality. As a child I learnt so much without realising it. Even when financially there were really tough times in our family, quality of food never suffered. Then the luck of coming to live in the Barossa continued my journey. This is where I really learnt about seasonality, simply because we lived it and it framed my whole philosophy on food. We were so busy surviving in the days of the Pheasant Farm Restaurant that we could not afford to eat out or travel for years. But that very thing allowed me to develop my own style by simply being a produce-driven cook. I loved the writings of Elizabeth David. She had abundant ideas and suggestions that spoke to me as I’ve never had the patience to follow recipes. Then later, I was influenced through my friendship with Stephanie Alexander, whose knowledge and writing adds so much to so many Australians.

What drove you to first create the Farm Shop/Barossa Pheasant Farm Restaurant?  

I guess the path chose me in that it was a necessity that turned into serendipity. When we first started breeding pheasants we could sell them just for novelty value but no one knew how to cook them. Any written recipes that people might have tried were pretty horrific and would have resulted in dry, overcooked birds – so no wonder they didn’t come back a second time. Cooking came naturally to me so that’s what I started to do – cook our pheasants, our quail, pickle our quail eggs, make our pate and utilise every bit of the birds. We started the farm shop and sold fresh birds with instructions on how I cooked them and offered roasted pheasant and stuffed quails as picnic food on the side of the dam. Still I wonder how I had the audacity, with no experience or training, to start a restaurant (the acclaimed Pheasant Farm Restaurant which closed in 1993) but I’m so happy I did. And today we’re a farm shop again, serving picnic fare, so we’ve truly come full circle.

,nspirational Women, Career Development, Life Advice, Cooking, Cook, Recipes, Career Advice

What were the initial stumbling blocks, getting started and since then?

My original food philosophy from all those years ago still stands today; to always cook from the heart, with ingredients at hand, never letting anything go to waste. This is the basis that underpins all that we did in the Farm Shop’s starting years, and all that I still hold dear now. Of course things have developed quite a bit since those early days of peaches arriving by the ute-full at the Farm Shop, and the pate being made in 10kg batches. Those first days of pate production, using a domestic food processor, didn’t even muster enough profit to cover our costs but it started something I could never have envisaged. Our first dedicated pate kitchen was the incubator shed rebuilt after a fire. That lasted for 10 years until we were bursting at the seams. In November 1996 we built our state-of-the-art Export Kitchen where even though our pate is now made in the thousands we still make it with as much care and attention to detail as we did in those first production days of only 4 to 5 blocks a week.

As an indication of terrific growth, the Pheasant Farm Pate is currently available in just under 2000 retail outlets across Australia, but it certainly hasn’t been all smooth sailing. When you rely on produce sourced in season you are completely dependant on the weather and its lack of predictability; fire, flood, pestilence, we’ve had it all. Even though it’s been tough at times, I love it. I have never been someone who is governed by convention, so I am always looking for another way of doing things.

You are much more than a humble cook, now a successful author, television presenter and businesswomen. What caused you to create and grow? Did you ever think your work would be such a hit?

Moving to the Valley and being surrounded by ever changing seasonal produce has always been my greatest inspiration, and that in turn has allowed me to learn my craft by trial and error and I’ve gone along from one idea to the next.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Superior seasonal produce is key to everything I create. Living in the Valley has certainly taught me a great deal about the rhythm of the seasons, how to delight in fruit and vegetables picked ripe and at their best, and how to maximise the potential of not only what can be grown here, but what is available in the wild too. There is nothing more engaging for a cook than to work closely with the freshest of fresh produce. It continues to be my inspiration and starting point for any new product that comes into the range.p

What are your goals for the future?

Given that I love what I do and have more ideas than I have time in life to fulfil them, my quest is simply for a bit more time for myself and my family and friends.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Be tenacious, have a point of difference, think laterally and be prepared to work like the blazes!

Ones To Watch: Ashlee Harrison

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and, here at SHESAID, we have been lucky enough to meet a few of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make are difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

There is no doubt Ashlee Harrison is generating positive change. At a young age, she experienced first hand the grief and overwhelming impact suicide can bring to a community. However, instead of letting the event hinder her, the WA native chose to use her position to benefit the lives of others and it was with this in mind that zero2hero was formed. zero2hero aims to ensure every child and young person is educated and empowered to effectively communicate and deal with mental health issues. Focused on providing programs and raising awareness, Ashlee’s hard work and commitment to the cause is inspiring. This week, we managed to find a spare moment in her busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.

RELATED: Ones To Watch: Claudia McEwen

Tell us a bit about you. Where are you from, what do you do?

I am 27 and live in Perth, WA and am about to embark on the journey called ‘motherhood’ for the first time.  I work as the CEO of a WA –based charity called zero2hero and I am the Director of a media consultancy Social Say. I value family, growth & development, new experiences, community and health.

What was the catalyst for starting zero2hero? When did you realise that this was something that you wanted to do?

At the age of 20 I lost my step-dad to suicide. The moment it happened I was shocked that someone close to me could have been struggling on such a deep level and I didn’t know. Suicide never just impacts the person that’s lost; it has a massive ripple effect. My whole family and friends were affected. After Graham’s death, I felt a deep desire to ensure that this didn’t happen to others. When I learnt that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44, I knew I had to do something. So at 21 years of age I started zero2hero.

At first we hosted events and fundraisers with the aim to have people speak up and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. All of our fundraising went to mental health services such as Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Australia. I spent years educating myself on mental health and suicide prevention, completed courses and learnt from people and mentors running very successful not-for-profits. It was then that I saw that there was a gap in education for people before they reached the point of crisis. To prevent suicide we must start by educating our entire population on the basics of mental health and mental illness. Similar to the education we receive about our physical health, we must learn about the health of our brain. This was the turning point for zero2hero.

Today zero2hero is a WA-based charity that provides mental health and suicide prevention programs to youth across the state. We aim to achieve three outcomes with young people:

  • Educate: young people about mental health, mental illness and suicide
  • Engage: young people in open conversations about mental health with the aim to eliminate stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, and increase help-seeking behaviour
  • Empower: young leaders to become mental health ambassadors

Each year zero2hero reaches over 70,000 young people and has trained more than 180 mental health ambassadors in suicide first aid.

What makes zero2hero unique to other organisations?

We believe that in order to impact our social issue we need to train young people to become mental health leaders and ambassadors in their community. Our research has shown that the majority of young people seek support from their friends and peers when they are in need. Using this knowledge we created programs that equip school-aged children and teenagers with the skills to speak up when they are struggling and the confidence to stand up and support their friends when they may be experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, bullying, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Our programs are created in partnership with the people we serve i.e.: young people. They are the advisors for all of the youth programs we run. Our programs are also free for all schools across WA to access. We believe that each and every young person needs to be educated about mental health and we don’t believe that finances should be a barrier. I believe so much in what we do, that for 6 years 100% of our income has been invested into our programs. It is only now that we are looking at hiring staff to ensure our programs are sustainable and increase our reach to rural WA.

What have been the stumbling blocks for you, initially getting started with zero2hero and since then?

The subject we are dealing with has not always been palatable. 6 years ago people were even more hesitant to say the word ‘suicide’ than they are today, however this is shifting. Funding is always a clear stumbling block for any not-for-profit when getting started. However, starting with zero has taught us to be very resourceful and innovative with the funds we do have. A big challenge for me personally has been in questioning my own leadership, asking myself ‘am I on track’ or ‘am I practicing what I preach 100% of the time.’ I am committed to being a person of integrity and this means facing where I am not being authentic to myself. Facing yourself is one of the biggest challenges a person will ever face. Worth it? Yes, but easy? Never.

What were your initial goals with the organisation and what are your plans for the next few years? How do you plan to expand and evolve?

The initial goals for zero2hero were an increase in the conversations about mental health and eliminating the stigma. This is still a goal however now we want to re-educate an entire country on mental health and how to look after their own. As an organisation we are looking at ways we can be financially sustainable and innovative. We want to create new programs and increase our reach to primary school students and rural communities.

Who do you look to for inspiration? Do you have a mentor?

The kids I work with inspire me every day, which is why I continue to do what I do. My family keeps me grounded and focused, and my peer network provides an immense amount of inspiration. I have many mentors. I would not be in the position I am today without them. I have connected with mentors through organisations such as Foundation for Young Australians and the School of Social Entrepreneurs, and I have also created mentor relationships with business people and charity leaders who inspire me.

Zero2hero focuses on some pretty heavy topics, what drives/motivates you to keep going?

I have one major rule: look after you before you even think about looking after others. I make sure that I check in with myself every day. When I am out of balance I am little good to myself or others. I also believe that in order to do the work that I am doing I must keep my feet on the ground. This means that I attend all of our youth leadership camps. These give me an opportunity to see our work first hand. It is these young people that motivate and inspire me.

Through zero2hero you have been honoured with being a State Finalist for the Australian of the Year Award. How do these recognitions such as this affect you and your organisation?

The Australia Day Council (who host the awards) has been extremely supportive of the work we do. These awards have significantly increased community awareness of our organisation and suicide prevention. They also provide recognition of the work we are doing and increase enquiries for our programs. For that we are thankful, however awards are not our focus. Our vision is that every child and young person is educated and empowered to effectively deal with mental health issues. It is important that we keep focused and let our work speak for itself. We recognise that both doing what we do and promoting it are important, as long as there is balance. Seeing the impact our programs have on young people is the true reward.

Do you find your position, as a young person aiming to change the culture among young Australians, makes your message resonate with your audience?

Working with teenagers I feel old – all the time. I think the belief and passion behind what I do would resonate regardless of my age. I do however know that being young makes it easier to connect and engage with young people. I used to get hooked on the ‘age concern’ in the business community and then when I stopped questioning myself and my age, so did others.

What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

With a 5-year-old, camping with 50 of Australia’s most prominent young mental health leaders in a facility that’s located off the grid (i.e. no Facebook) that is owned by zero2hero and forms part of our social enterprise.

If someone else were looking to follow the same path as you, what advice would you give to them?

I think there are 7 billion paths and the advice I would give to anyone is to find their own and follow it with nothing less than 100% passion, love and authenticity.

To find out more about zero2hero or to donate towards the cause click here

Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Meredith Cranmer

Name and role:

Jillian Broadbent and Chair of Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Chair of Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited, director of Woolworths Ltd and Chancellor of Wollongong University.

Tell us about your role?  What is it?  What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

After 25 years working in banking and finance I moved from an executive role to take up a number of non-executive directorships. I have served in this capacity on publically listed company boards, government corporations and in the not for profit sector. As a non-executive director I participate on the boards of organisations overseeing the strategy, governance and management of them.

Your professional career has been quite diverse, how has it developed and evolved over the years?

I have been lucky to have opportunities to work in a wide range of fields. After graduating my first professional job was as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Most of my banking career was with Bankers Trust/BT Australia, which grew from 60 to 4000 employees over my 22 years there. At BT, I built a number of different departments, which was both satisfying and rewarding. Through the wide-ranging contacts I had with industry clients in building this banking business, many opportunities arose. These involved requests to apply my financial skills in the not for profit sector in particular, at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Through my participation in these diverse activities my career developed and evolved to span positions in the public and the private sector.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career, I just responded to the opportunities with diligence, enthusiasm and capacity.

What where the stumbling blocks when you first started on your career path and how did you overcome these?

There were always stumbling blocks starting with self-doubt, exacerbated by a male dominated sector and culture. The first step to overcoming stumbling blocks is to deal with the internally generated ones, building your confidence, observing success and the learnings it carries and not wasting any of your precious energy on blame and ill will.

Did/do you have a mentor?

I did not have a mentor but I did observe successful people whom I liked and admired their approach and effectiveness. This helped me develop my own sense of self and confidence.

You have been honoured for your hard work with many accolades to your name – what to you feel has been your biggest achievement?

I feel satisfied by a number of achievements:

–  Building a successful business at BT and a positive culture, where people were enthusiastic to come to work each day, the business was profitable and the clients we serviced were appreciative and supportive;

–  Serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia for three terms which was beyond the term of most RBA Board members and acting to improve the wellbeing of all Australians, was a great honour; and

–  Chairing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation through a change of government and keeping the corporation on track and enthusiastic despite the current government’s policy to abolish the CEFC.

Your success has paved the way for many women in business.  How have things changed for women since you began?

Many things have changed over the nearly 50 years of my career. There are more women in business, though still not enough.  Childcare choices have expanded, and the attitude from partners and fellow workers is more supportive or at least benign.

What are you goals for the future?

After 50 years in a working career, I am not focused on goals for the future but I would like to continue to use my private sector skills to facilitate public policy outcomes as I have done at the CEFC and the RBA.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Advice: Work on your inner stability, develop a bit of teflon coating, not being super sensitive to criticism or insensitive comments from male colleagues.  Do your homework and be prepared as it will improve your effectiveness and help your confidence and sense of belonging.

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