Friday, June 6, 2014

Women as role models, women as leaders

Back, left to right: Virginia Haussegger (ABC), Holly Ransom (G20 Youth Summit), Martine Jager (RAMS), Margaret Staib (Airservices Australia), Lucille Halloran (EY); front Helen Zimmermann (Navitas), Lee Kelly (CEDA).

I've been thinking a lot lately about my career and how women have influenced it. Some have helped, others have hindered, there have been many acts of kindness along the way, professional sharing of information and ideas and outright netball bitchiness or worse.

Today I went to a lunch organised by the Committee for Economic Development Australian (ceda) at the National Press Club in Canberra.

Lucille Halloran, managing partner, Canberra/Commonwealth Govt Lead Ernst and Young was the chair and the four brilliant speakers were Martine Jager CEO RAMS, Virginia Haussegger ABC TV News Presenter and Champion of Women, Holly Ransom, G20 Youth Summit Chair and my big brother's boss, Margaret Staib who is CEO of Airservices Australia.

The topic was Influence and Action - driving change in your organisation.

Wow. What a group. It was so good to hear the positive attitudes that these women have and employ in their many roles. They were also woman enough to admit their failings, although as they explained, men rarely do that.

With 3 brothers and no sisters, a penchant for "alpha males", the mother of an Aries boy I am quite comfortable with the male of the species.

It has not been until adulthood that I have really understood female friendships. Oh I had best friends at school, but those experiences are different to what we have as adults.  Now I have the great fortune to have some incredible women in my life. Some of them are Jude, Bridget, Deborah, Linda, Donna and of course my beautiful daughter Bliss. There are other beautiful friends with whom I can share my deepest darkest thoughts. I am truly blessed.

It was a shame we only had two hours today as the discussion and questions and answers could have gone on all day.

I am so glad to be living in a country where even though we may moan about women's representation on boards and at senior levels on management and government, girls and women can do anything they want. There are so many countries where girls cannot even get an education or go to the toilet in safety.

That's not to say let's accept the status quo but with women like those I saw today, that will never happen.

I grew up with a mother telling me I could do anything and be anything. I am glad I am a mother of two and a journalist/communicator. I also love that I am an artist and that I am a loyal and loving friend to my dear friends, female and male.

I have been thwarted along the way, many times, but the older I get more of the real me returns and I know that I have a path to follow. If others want to join me along the way they are welcome. If not, great. They have their own path to follow.

Maybe I sound like a beauty queen, Virginia Haussegger, but I would love world peace. I will do my utmost to ensure those around me are at peace in their lives so that they can go about their business of making their world a better place. The more of us who do that, the better it will be for everyone.