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Really Interesting Women
36 minutes | Nov 16, 2022
Dr Kirstin Ferguson
Ep 90 Dr Kirstin FergusonKirstin Ferguson is an award-winning and globally recognised leader, executive coach, company director, writer and speaker. She is one of Australia’s most prominent leadership experts. Kirstin has an incredible and varied career starting as an Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force where she graduated Dux in her class, to senior executive with a leading law firm, to CEO of a global consulting company to over a decade on a range of company boards. And in between that, she obtained a PhD in leadership and culture. She’s also making a global impact, with UK- based Thinkers50 naming her as the only Australian in the world’s top 30 “Thinkers to Watch” and she was shortlisted for the Distinguished Award in Leadership in 2021. Put simply, my next guest is changing the way the world looks at leadership.Her new book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership will be published by Penguin Random House early next year. Below is a link to order the book:https://headheartleader.com/store/
33 minutes | Nov 2, 2022
Major General Elizabeth Cosson AM, CSC
Ep. 89 Maj. General Elizabeth Cosson AM, CSCLiz Cosson was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Major General in the Australian Army. She enlisted in the Army in 1979. She was selected with 32 other women for the first male-equivalent officer training course. Throughout her distinguished military career, she held significant logistics and administrative positions. She received a commendation for her work in Cambodia. In 1999 she was responsible for logistics planning for the East Timor operation, and she was subsequently appointed as Chief of Staff of the Peace monitoring group in Bougainville for which she was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2001. In 2007, she was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Major General in the Australian Army. Following this remarkable career, she retired from full time military service in November 2010 and joined the Australian Public Service where she eventually reached her current role as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.But it hasn't all been without its obstacles. We discuss a career threatening issue that Liz had to overcome. How she did that can be taken as a valuable lesson. As is our discussion on the value of values in becoming a worthy leader - in any field.
46 minutes | Oct 19, 2022
Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General of NZ
Ep 88 The Rt Hon. Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General of New ZealandDame Cindy Kiro's story is an extraordinary one. Her mother was born in a hut with a mud floor. Her Father was from a poor family who lived in a mining town in the north of England. From these humble beginnings Dame Cindy rose to become the 22nd Governor-General of New Zealand. The first Maori woman to be appointed as Governor-General.She never forgot where she came from and, most importantly, the invaluable life lessons she learnt from her collective experiences growing up. The secret to her success? I'm not too sure but I would venture to guess that it has a lot to do with the strong moral values instilled from her grandmother together with having a genuine interest in others and an abiding curiosity.She vowed to be a Governor-General for ALL New Zealanders and, with her background and intelligence and compassion and empathy, I have absolutely no doubt she will be. *some of the audio is a little unclear but please persist. It's worth it.
41 minutes | Oct 5, 2022
Professor Jenny Martin
Ep. 87 Professor Jenny MartinJenny Martin is a dual-trained clinical pharmacologist and practicing general physician, has studied politics and health economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, is serving as Chair of Clinical Pharmacology in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle and is the Director of Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE),On principle she resigned from Newcastle University’s council in protest over the appointment of former deputy Prime Minister and Chair of Whitehaven Coal, Mark Vaile to the position of Chancellor of that University. Such was the feeling in the community, his appointment did not go ahead and she was reappointed to the position by popular demand. So, as a practicing physician, teacher, researcher, multiple committee and editorial board member, and mother of four, you might wonder where she finds the time to join me in conversation. I’m certainly curious. Oh… I nearly forgot, she’s due in 2023 to also take up the position of President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Have a listen to Professor Jenny Martin’s episode on Really Interesting Women.
36 minutes | Sep 21, 2022
Ilana Atlas AO
Ep. 86 Ilana Atlas AOIlana Atlas is an exceptionally successful business woman....who still suffers from imposter syndrome. But she knows how to deal with it and she shares that secret with us. In fact Ilana shares a lot of her wisdom and advice on how to not only cope, but succeed in a constantly evolving work place. And there's very few better qualified to give that wisdom and advice.We cover a lot of things. For example, the courage it takes and the benefits of taking unexpected opportunities. The importance of learning by watching and listening as well as being well prepared yourself so others will take you very seriously. The aforementioned imposter syndrome and how Ilana has tamed that beast. The different styles of leadership. The enormous benefits of getting involved in not for profit organisations (see below for reference to Jarwun). The importance of compassion and empathy in business. I was also fascinated in what she's learnt from leaders such as David Gonski (who she succeeded as Chair of Coca Cola Amatil), Frank Lowy (with whom she sat on the board of Westfield) and John Bell (founder of Bell Shakespeare, the Board of which Ilana Chaired).Ilana has seen a huge change in corporate culture (which she acknowledges still needs a fair way to go). In fact, I'd venture to say she's been an integral part of that change in her 40 years of working life, the vast majority of which has been in senior and executive roles. Her advice on how we can achieve gender balance and level the playing field, will benefit everyone. Ilana refers to her work with Jawun - a place where corporate, government and philanthropic organisations come together with Indigenous people to affect real change. Have a look at their website. Fascinating reading. www.jawun.org.au
34 minutes | Sep 7, 2022
Prof. Lyria Bennett Moses
Ep. 85 Professor Lyria Bennett MosesLyria is my first guest that is the daughter of a previous guest, Annabelle Bennett (ep. 37). And they are both....well, quite brilliant.Lyria is currently the Director of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation she’s a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney. She herself graduated with a science law degree with honours in pure mathematics, did her Masters and Doctorate at Columbia University where her dissertation was on the impact of technological change on law. Her ongoing research continues to explore those issues. More specifically she has recently been working on legal and policy issues associated with the use of artificial intelligence. It's an area of law that requires an academic approach combined with a very practical one. The events and inventions you may need to apply a legal mind to....haven't occurred or been invented yet. But it's that sort of situation that stimulates Lyria's mind. We broach a number of topics, including the work of another of my guests, artificial intelligence pioneer, Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell (ep. 58). And there's a lot of mutual respect there. It's a complex and fascinating area. Way out of my pay grade.Head to the link in the bio to hear Lyria's episode.
32 minutes | Aug 24, 2022
Senator Lidia Thorpe
Ep. 84 Senator Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe's sense of injustice is always close to the surface. Her first hand experiences inform her. Growing up, her dinner table conversations and education with the family matriarchs were also hugely influential. Her life experiences continue to play a big part in who she is today and what she fervently believes will be best for not only indigenous Australians, but all Australians. Senator Thorpe has faced plenty of hurdles in life. She grew up in poverty in housing commission flats in Collingwood Victoria. Left school at 14. Was a single mum at 17, survived domestic violence. Became bankrupt as a direct result of the domestic violence. Then...having worked in public policy, advocacy, small business, government, and NGO’s... in 2017, her career and life changed dramatically. She became the first aboriginal woman elected to Victorian parliament. Then, in September 2020, she became Victoria’s first Aboriginal Senator in the Federal Parliament and is now deputy leader of the Greens in the Senate. Her views and methods can divide people but, all would agree, she cannot be ignored. So, as with all my guests, I thought the best place to start was to just listen.
42 minutes | Aug 10, 2022
Traci Houpapa MNZM
Ep. 83 Traci HoupapaTraci Houpapa is a company director and business advisor from New Zealand. But a simple scratching of the surface reveals a unique and inspiring story. Her early life influences could well have something to do with her Maori father who was very active in campaigns to return properties back into Maori management in the 1980s. As to her own career, she was advised to experience a wide range of occupations after high school before settling on a career... and that education was essential to her success. She sits on numerous Boards an Foundations. She is, amongst many other things, chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities, a Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors, an advisor to Maori, Government, public and private sector organisations and has an unwavering commitment to advancing the interests of indigenous women in New Zealand. In the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to business and Maori. In 2015, she won the Board and Management award at the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards. In 2016 she named as one of the BBC's 100 Most Influential Women in the World for that year. She has some great advice for life and career. And an optimism that we’re heading in the right direction on a number of fronts including gender bias and racism.
47 minutes | Jul 27, 2022
Ep 82 Natalie WalkerNatalie Walker is, amongst many other achievements, the inaugural CEO of two start-up businesses with huge agendas - Supply Nation and Inside Policy. She was Australia's representative on the G20's Women Business Leaders Taskforce. She’s held positions in human rights, indigenous affairs and human services in the government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She is the Social Commissioner on the Greater Cities Commission, sat on the Indigenous Advisory groups for a range of corporations, including Telstra and the National Australia Bank and has current directorships with not-for-profit organisations the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Goodstart Early Learning and Life Without Barriers. She is also, most importantly, a proud Kuku Yalanji woman from the Daintree Rainforest. And she's fabulous. Very informed and informative. To listen to Nat helps you understand. Even when you thought you already knew.
42 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
Professor Michelle Haber AM
Ep. 81 Professor Michelle Haber AM FAA FAHMSMichelle Haber has dedicated her entire professional life to improving clinical outcomes for children with cancer. She is one of this country’s leading researchers and has become the face of Australian childhood cancer research internationally. But she almost wasn't. In the late 1970’s she had one of many sliding door moments that changed the course of her career and has subsequently saved many lives around the globe. You see, Michelle had just completed her Honours in Clinical Psychology and, being inquisitive and curious, she walked into the nearby offices of the faculty of medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia. There she happened to meet a Professor of Pathology who helped change everything. She wanted to do research to make a difference. The professor recommended she do a PhD around the topic of the chemical causes of cancer. So, she did. In 1984 she became the inaugural staff scientist at what is now known as the Children’s Cancer Institute and eventually became Executive Director of that Institute in 2003. The results of her research are astonishing. Amongst many examples, an 11 month old girl had a tumour the size of a football in her stomach. While on life support some ‘precision medicine’ resulting from advances in genomic sequencing, and international co-operation finding the right medicine in the US meant this child was off life support in 4 weeks and out of ICU 2 weeks later. And recently celebrated her 5th birthday. But Professor Haber is not quite happy with just that. She wants to eradicate children’s cancers altogether. I wouldn’t bet against her either. To hear Michelle’s extraordinary story, head to the podcast link in my bio.
31 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
Professor Bronwyn Fox
Ep. 80 Professor Bronwyn FoxProfessor Bronwyn Fox has come a long way since blowing things up in her back yard with her brother. Mind you that curiosity and practical application of their ideas was probably quite informative, because from there she would go on to become the Chief Scientist of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. She’s been described by CSIRO’s Chief Executive as ‘driven to deliver, brilliant but humble, leading by listening and a generous collaborator’. What a great description, don't you reckon? 'Leading by listening'. We explore that as well as a multitude of other things vital to a fulfilling career. Finding mentors, taking opportunities, the importance of creativity and diversity, empathy and real world applications of all those things. I also found fascinating her take on future proofing a career in an ever changing and unpredictable world. I reckon that's worth the price of admission alone (don't worry - it's still free). And then there's the chief scientist's enormous admiration and utilisation of 60,000 years of indigenous knowledge and what it can teach scientists. Professor Fox is motivated by making a difference in other people's lives. And she has. Have a listen to her episode and find out how.
33 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
Gemma Sisia AM
Gemma Sisia has earned a global reputation through building one of the top performing schools in Tanzania, East Africa. And she built it, literally, from scratch. Well, that’s not quite true - a friend had donated $10 to the cause. Can you imagine the challenges? All this is a long way from the sheep farm she grew up on in northern New South Wales, Australia, where education, hard work as well as plenty of fun, were considered essential. After gaining her tertiary qualifications, like a lot of people, she set off to Africa and also like most people, she fell in love with the place. Her greatest desire was to try and do something to help the poor. But unlike most people, actually, let’s face it, unlike nearly all people, she did do something to help the poor. And twenty years later, she’s still helping them. Gemma's work continues to leave such an indelible mark that, in 2007 she was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal, her story has featured not once, but twice on ABC TV’s Australia Story as well as 60 Minutes. The School of St Jude, in Tanzania, provides a free, high-quality education to nearly 2000 of the poorest and brightest students in that region. And it’s not just the children that benefit. St Jude puts back around $7M US into the local economy supporting builders, farmers, mechanics, teachers, school staff etc. The school is celebrating its 20th year this year….and its first group of doctors that have now graduated from university (one with the University Medal) all of whom started with St Jude when it first opened its doors. 90% of it is really really hard work. But she wouldn’t change a thing. And a lot of people are very grateful for that. Head to their website www.schoolofstjude.org to see how you may be able to help this remarkable woman.
49 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Dr Anne Summers AO
Episode 78 Dr Anne Summers AODr Anne Summers AO is a pioneering Australian feminist, a best-selling author and journalist with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia, Europe, and the United States. It would not be a stretch to say her first book, published in 1975,Damned Whores and God's Police, changed the way Australia viewed women. Her career is almost the ultimate example of taking opportunities as they present themselves, even if they’re outside your comfort zone. Consider a few things she undertook with little or no previous experience....moving to Canberra to become bureau chief for the Australian Financial Review, working in politics as an adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and later Prime Minister Paul Keating. Moving to New York to become editor in chief of the iconic feminist magazine Ms. And, when a young Warwick Fairfax decided the magazine businesses of his media empire should be sold, Anne with her business partner, undertook for only the second time in U.S. corporate history, an all-female management buyout of the magazine. And then there’s the first ever post prime ministerial interview with Julia Gillard - at a sold out Opera House in Sydney if you don’t mind. The rock star reception for both Anne and Julia on the night was not only unforeseen but unprecedented for a political interview. And there’s more to come in her career. Indefatigable, unrelenting, dogged, outspoken, fearless and driven by injustice (it seems to me anyway)...with a wicked sense of humour. It was a fabulous opportunity for me to have this conversation with Anne Summers. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Her books, Damned Whores and God’s Police and her memoir, Unfettered and Alive are available at Booktopia.com.au
48 minutes | May 18, 2022
Ep. 77 Roma TorreRoma Torre is a 2 time Emmy Award winning TV journalist and theater critic. She is best known for her time at New York City’s first 24 hour local news station, the much loved and revered cable news channel NY1, where she was a lead news presenter for over 28 years. She’s had an amazing career. She has received over 30 broadcasting awards including those 2 aforementioned Emmy’s, the most recent in 2019, which would obviously justify feeling like she was in the prime of her career. But just as NY1 (the cable news channel) was taken over by a new owner (whose focus to that point was as a broadband supplier), things seemed to be inexplicably unravelling for her and 4 other senior female journalists at NY1. They were replaced. All of them. At the same time. Over 100 years of journalistic experience that the new owner must have thought was superfluous, or outdated, or lacking in skill, or....something. Roma, of course, can't comment on it because of legal restrictions - but there is a lot of public information on this out there that I could comment on. It certainly intrigued me. The fact that Roma had won her second Emmy award just months earlier intrigued me. The fact that the incoming female anchors looked - to me - eerily similar to the outgoing anchors but for one interesting fact, intrigued me. The fact that they are not allowed to say anything about this for fear of legal reprisals, intrigued me. There are similarities to the conversation I had with journalist Gretchen Carlson not so long ago. But it seems things may be changing. We had a really interesting conversation about journalism and democracy in today's social media obsessed world. We spoke about her amazing mother, also a journalist, who owns a unique piece of journalistic history. And her love of theater - first as an actor and then as a fan and eventually, a theater critic. She's - rightfully - proud of the stance she took. Her mother did the same thing. An imposing combination. Have a listen.
42 minutes | May 4, 2022
Ep. 76 Robin WhiteRobin White started her career as an operations manager in the rail industry. As a result of being discriminated against and denied promotion, she reassessed.... everything. You see, Robin was blocked for any promotion because she is transgender. Could be front office management or transgender. Couldn’t be both. After much soul searching and introspection, she decided to pivot and reinvent herself (although ‘reinventing’ probably short-changes what she had to do). Robin ‘reinvented’ herself as an employment and discrimination barrister. In fact, in 2011, she became the first barrister in practise to transition from male to female at the discrimination Bar. She is, without doubt, a pioneer. There’s a lot of noise out there at the moment about transgender women. It didn’t appear to me that there was enough of a voice that could discuss this from a transgender perspective. I’m sure there was a lot…I just wasn’t hearing it. Anyway, I thought it might be a good thing to have a conversation with an intelligent, informed, funny woman who is transgender and, as it turns out, is an attorney who specialises in the rights of transgender women and men. Probably the sort of voice worth listening to don’t you reckon?
42 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
Ep. 75 Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AMRosalind Croucher is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. She's been pretty busy these last couple of years.It's a fascinating career and one which emphasises the importance of taking opportunities as they present themselves. Even when you are having doubts. We talk about the anatomy of a career move (or several big ones in her case), her thoughts on leadership and how to progress yourself towards that, should that be your goal. The importance of not getting bogged down by mistakes but, instead, embracing what she calls the 'foetal 48 hours' (you'll have to listen).Perhaps most importantly, we talk about the Australian Human Rights Commission - I don't think I knew there were seven separate divisions within the Commission and each has its own President and Rosalind is the overarching President of all divisions! The last two years have proved particularly challenging given the impact of covid restrictions on human rights generally. It's a fascinating insight. And, unexpectedly, we touched on the delights of Telemann's flute and recorder concertos and Rosalind's side gig as a concert musician. And, I must admit, the idea of a recorder concerto tended to make me flinch slightly...but no more! As with everything, education is the key to understanding. www.humanrights.gov.auExcerpt is from George Philip Telemann's Concerto for Recorder and Flute in E Minor, TWV 52:e1:IV. Presto Gunther Holler, Konrad Hunteler, Cappella Coloniensis, Georg Fischer
34 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Ep. 74 Tzipi LivniEx Mossad, former Israeli Foreign Minister, Minister of Justice and chief negotiator of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. An incredible journey. Tzipi Livni has been widely considered the most powerful woman in Israel since Golda Meir. She served in the Israeli Defence Force and, in 1980, joined Mossad - the national intelligence agency of Israel. After she resigned from that she continued her law studies, and then practiced for 10 years before entering politics in 1996. She achieved a number of milestones in Israeli government. She was the second woman in Israel’s history to become Foreign Minister (after Golda Meir who went on to become PM), she was the first female vice prime minister, justice minister, agriculture minister and housing minister. In 2011 she was named one of ‘150 women who shake the world’ by Newsweek. Forbes magazine ranked her on its list of ‘100 Most Powerful Women’ three years in a row from 2006-2008 and Time Magazine included her in its 2007, ‘Time 100 Most Influential People in the World’.Head to the link in my bio above, or copy and paste below…https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/really-interesting-women/id1526764849?i=1000556453751
36 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
Belinda Hutchinson AC FRSN
Episode 73 Belinda Hutchinson AC FRSNBelinda Hutchinson has become one of the most sought-after directors among private companies, public sector and not for profit organisations, in Australia. She is Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Chairman of Thales Australia, a Director of Australian Philanthropic Services, Qantas Airways Limited, a member of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board and a Trustee of the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation. Belinda was previously Chairman of QBE Insurance Group, Chairman of Future Generation Global Investment Company and a Director of Telstra Corporation, Coles Myer, Crane Group, Energy Australia, TAB, Snowy Hydro Trading and Sydney Water. Her executive career included her role as an Executive Director of Macquarie Group, a Vice President of Citibank, and a senior manager at Andersen Consulting. She has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Belinda is a past President of the State Library of New South Wales and Chief Executive Women of which she is still a member. In the 2020 Queen’s birthday honours she was elevated to the highest honour, a Companion of the Order of Australia for "eminent service to business, to tertiary education and scientific research, and through philanthropic endeavours to address social disadvantage” She is one of this country’s most experienced directors, and has some brilliant advice and a truckload of wisdom for those at any stage of their journey. Something for everyone here.
38 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE FRCP (Hon)
Ep. 72 Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE FRCP (Hon)Baroness Susan Greenfield is, by any standards, quite an extraordinary woman. An English scientist, writer, broadcaster, and member of the House of Lords, she has held research fellowships in the Department of Physiology Oxford, the College de France Paris, and NYU Medical Center New York. She has been awarded 32 Honorary Degrees from British and foreign universities. From 1998- 2010 she served as Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. She is known for her role in popularising science through her many public lectures and appearances on radio and television as well as her many published papers and several books about the brain, including the British best seller – The Human Brain: A Guided Tour. She is now CEO of an incredible biotech company (www.neuro-bio.com) which she founded in 2013 to develop a disruptive approach to Alzheimer’s disease based on her research exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegeneration. She’s regularly listed as one of the most influential women in Britain. And she’s a lot of fun. As she closes in on an early detection system and potential cure for Alzheimer’s disease, she’s promised, when it does happen, to join me in dancing in the streets to mark the occasion. I’ve alerted her already that I’m limbering up. We all hope it’s sooner rather than later. The little I know of Lady Greenfield makes me realise that she will be relentless in making it happen. Head to the link in my bio to listen to this episode. www.susangreenfield.com www.neuro-bio.com
45 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Dame Elizabeth Anionwu DBE FRCN
Ep. 71 Dame Elizabeth Anionwu DBE FRCN - Really Interesting Women podcastDame Elizabeth Anionwu’s amazing career and life had as its foundation, very humble beginnings. A tough childhood in the 1940’s and 1950’s was marked by the stigma of illegitimacy and racism. Despite all this, it was the kindness of one particular nun at a children’s home when she was a very young child that resonated so much with her that, even at that age, it would stay with her forever and eventually lead to her life’s work. Dame Elizabeth spent 40 years in the nursing profession in the UK and has been named one of the most influential nurses in the 70-year history of the National Health Scheme. Back In 1979, she became the United Kingdom's first sickle cell and thalassaemia nurse specialist, helping establish the Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Counselling centre. There are now 30 such centres in the UK. In 1998, by then a professor of nursing, she created the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at the University of West London where she is Emeritus Professor of Nursing, she holds a PhD, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). But despite all this....as someone who never had a black role model until she met her father late in life...I would venture to guess that Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is most proud of being an inspiration and role model to her granddaughter. Head to my dedicated Really Interesting Women Instagram account:@richardinstagraham, to see some fabulous photos capturing part of Dame Elizabeth’s journey. Dame Elizabeth’s book Dreams From My Mother https://www.booktopia.com.au/dreams-from-my-mother-dame-elizabeth-anionwu/book/9781841885223.html)
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