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The Weekly

Meet our Judges of the 2022 Women of the Future Awards!

Our six judges share their top tips and experiences on how they got to where they are today.

By Genevieve Gannon
Has Ita Buttrose ever been mansplained to? What does Julie Bishop wish she could tell her younger self?
This year's Women of the Future judges share some wisdom they've picked up on the way to the top of their illustrious careers.

Ita Buttrose AC, OBE - ABC chair

What do you admire most in young women you meet?
Their confidence. It's outstanding and very noticeable indeed. There seems to be a big difference between younger women today and middle-aged and older women, who still don't quite realise how good they are and sometimes need to be told, "You can do that."
Younger women have no doubt that they can do that.
Have you ever had a male champion or mentor?
All my mentors have been male, actually. That's because, at the beginning of my career, there were no women at my level. So all I had were men and from them I learnt that I could have a go.
Most of all I learnt that they loved what they did. I think it's important to love your work because we spend a lot of time there.
What is the one thing we need to stop saying as women?
"I was lucky." We get to the top, we get a promotion, we get on a board, we start a business, and we say, "Well, I was lucky." It's got nothing to do with luck. It's our hard work and talent that has got us to where we are.
What is the one thing you wish men would stop mansplaining?
One of my best male friends was explaining something to me twice, as if I didn't understand, and when he got to the third time I said, "I heard you the first time."
So fellas, once is enough. Don't keep repeating yourself.
Ita Buttrose AC, OBE - ABC chair. (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Narelda Jacobs - Network 10 journalist and presenter

What do you admire most in the young women you meet these days?
I admire how articulate they are – how they articulate emotions, how they interact with other people. They can put the words together to describe something so beautifully.
In younger women I also admire how they work smarter. They can walk into a situation, read the room and identify how things can be done better, and it ends up saving time and the outcome is the same or better for a fraction of the effort.
What advice would you give to a younger you?
The younger Narelda was really lacking in confidence. I could get up in front of a group of people because my parents were pastors in a church – I always saw them standing up in front of people and speaking, so it wasn't a fear of that.
It was a fear of being able to communicate my own ideas and opinions. At first, I didn't think I had opinions. Now I know that I do have opinions that I want to share, and I realise that people are interested in them.
So, my advice to younger me would be, "Back yourself. People want to know what you think."
What is the one thing we need to stop saying as women?
As women, I would like us to stop saying that we've got impostor syndrome. The first time I heard 'imposter syndrome' I completely related to it, and I recognise that I have had it many times throughout my life.
But we all deserve to be where we are, and we deserve to be, as women, in every setting in the world. So, that is not being an imposter, that is being needed.
Narelda Jacobs - Network 10 journalist and presenter. (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Julie Bishop - Australian National University Chancellor and former Foreign Minister

What do you admire most in the young women you meet?
I find that young women today are more aware of social and cultural issues, even on a global scale, and they have the confidence to talk about them and challenge stereotypes and the status quo.
I really admire that self-confidence and self-belief.
What advice would you give to a younger you?
Never let others define who you are or what you can achieve. Set your own high standards and then work hard to meet your standards.
There are plenty of people out there who will set benchmarks for you that they wouldn't or couldn't meet themselves.
What is the one thing we need to stop saying as women?
I wish women would stop saying, "I don't think I'm qualified" or "I don't think I'm right for that position" when, in fact, they certainly are qualified and right for that position.
Julie Bishop - Australian National University Chancellor and former Foreign Minister. (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Nicole Byers - Editor-in-chief of The Australian Women's Weekly, Group Publisher Women's Lifestyle & Food at Are Media

What do you admire most in young women you meet?
The young women I encounter seem to exude a self-assurance and confidence that I and many of my peers lacked at a similar age.
They have the courage of their convictions and are not afraid to speak their minds on the things that matter to them. It's certainly true of the Women of the Future candidates we unearth every year.
What's a thing you wish men would stop mansplaining?
Sport! So many men assume that, as a woman, I know nothing about sports like AFL and football. Truth is I can probably explain the offside rule, or any quirk of the game, better than most of them.
There are some great inroads being made in terms of women's voices being heard in the sporting arena, but there is still a way to go.
What advice would you give to a younger you?
Have the courage to follow your gut and walk away – be it from am unfulfilling relationship or a job that isn't right for you (yes, you will have both!).
Have you ever had a male champion or mentor?
One man who springs to mind is my husband. He not only actively supports my career aspirations, he constantly steps up on the home and parenting front to allow me to fulfil my ambitions.
We are a team at the end of the day, but I can 100 per cent say he is my greatest champion.
Nicole Byers - Editor-in-chief of The Australian Women's Weekly, Group Publisher Women's Lifestyle & Food at Are Media (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Sarah Moran - Girl Geek Academy CEO and co-founder

What do you admire most in the young women you meet?
What I love about young women is that they have the expectation that we will help them. So, when I'm working with young people, they look at me and say, "You're helping me, right?".
I just love that because I can meet those expectations and really make sure that I support them. They hold you accountable!
What is the one thing we need to stop saying as women?
"Oh no! I might break it." As a woman working in technology, I can tell you men never say, "Oh no! I might break it." And if we're going to be changing things, we need to be willing to break things, to make mistakes and to fail, because that's the only way we're going to learn.
What's the one thing you wish men would stop mansplaining?
It's more than one thing, but up there would be politics, economics, women's bodies, our reproductive rights. There's a whole host of things that we actually know and so they should stop mansplaining and start listening.
Sarah Moran - Girl Geek Academy CEO and co-founder (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)

Caterina Nesci - Head of La Trobe Financial's Charitable foundation

What do you admire most in the young women you meet?
Today's women are so much more confident and entrepreneurial. They show so much enthusiasm and potential. You can see that they're future leaders.
They're not the intimidated woman that I once was when I was younger.
What advice would you give to a younger you?I grew up very shy, but I think it would have been easier if I wasn't so intimidated. If I was to say something to me, I would say, "Go out there, be yourself and shine."
What is the one thing we need to stop saying as women?
The one thing that we need to stop saying is that we can't do it. We can.
I would like to tell every woman, "Just go out there, reach for the stars and never stop reaching for the stars, because you can make dreams [come true] and make a difference as well."
Caterina Nesci - Head of La Trobe Financial's Charitable foundation (Photo: Peter Brew-Bevan)
We're searching for women aged 18-34 working to achieve success in their chosen field and make the world better. This is a chance to highlight your work and win a prize pool worth more than $100,000.
Six finalists will be flown to Sydney to attend the Women of the Future event held later in the year, and the overall winner will receive:
  • A $40,000 investment in a 12 Month Term Account with La Trobe Financial.
  • A full-page advertisement in The Australian Women's Weekly and Marie Claire to promote their cause.
  • A mentoring session with an ambassador or judge from this year's panel.
  • Additional exposure and support for their cause in Marie Claire.
To enter, head to the following link and tell us in 250 words or less about yourself and how you would use the prize to achieve your dreams and benefit others.
Full terms and conditions are available at https://www.aremedia.com.au/competitions/
You can read this story and many others in the August issue of The Australian Women's Weekly - on sale now

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