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You have a lifetime to do things you want...

07 March 2011

So, you better get going.

Sounds harsh. One might even say, aggressive! But, on average, our long and hopefully productive life spans allow us the time to do much but procrastinate more. Which is why it pays to have a plan, take the lead whenever and wherever we can, and find role models that can inspire and drive us forward.

Live local

Spending the holiday break tied up in the wonder of reacquainting myself with my own home-space has been very regenerating. Not the least for my garden, which is now fertilized, mulched, watered and brilliantly productive.

For much of 2008-2009, I was on the road, overseas and always at work. So the decision to stay home for three weeks of R&R was brilliant for me - and the local economy. I know I've spent more this past break than if I'd gone away somewhere. I caught up with my daughters, took the dogs for walks, did a massive (albeit late) 'spring' clean, loved-up the garden and, because of where I live, had many a coffee, lunch and drink out in the local area, which was remarkably devoid of people: who had chosen to go away. It was heaven.

(Of course, I also spent the time keeping up to date, reading newspapers, magazines, watching broadcast news, and was aware of what was happening at work because of my untreatable addiction to Crackberry.)

Model rows

I haven't missed the spate of untouched photos of models on front covers: Sarah Murdoch, Jennifer Hawkins and Ricky Lee Coulter. In the case of Jennifer Hawkins on \"marie claire\" - nude, untouched (no air-brushing) and celebrating what real women look like ¬- it has been a media nightmare for the ex Miss Universe.

I'm not saying what she looks like untouched is her fault. But to put it out there that Hawkins is what real women look like... well, that leaves a little to the imagination.

I believe the photos were to go to auction and the proceeds to be donated to the Butterfly Foundation, an eating disorders support group.

I am not sure what this says about choosing role models that are appropriate.

When I think of leadership and leaders I also think of who those people are, and what sort of role model they make, and if they inspire controversy is that good or bad?

Or is all publicity good publicity?

I also noticed Maggie Tabberer in the media on her decision to retire. At 74 she has, as have other contemporaries (Ita Buttrose, Margaret Fulton), reached icon stage in the Australian psyche. Her long and productive career began at 14. She was married at 17, had two children by her 20s and a successful modeling career. Her decision to pursue her career in that and then in the media as a single mum was a brave one, but one she felt capable of doing. I wonder if it is ever really over?

When I think about how long we will all work, it's pretty obvious that pacing ourselves is important. If we are to achieve our potential and remain in the game without burning out, we need a plan and to take the lead on judging our own well-being.

Scapegoats, I don't think so

Not so long ago when you heard about the world of business and women, all you ever saw mentioned was the name Margaret Jackson. Things have begun to change (in my view, not fast enough and certainly not enough) and we now have major business news items featuring the names of a few more women: Gail Kelly, Catherine Walter, Cate Quinn spring to mind. Each has been in the news for controversial reasons and they have been under fire. Gail for interest rate rises, Catherine for her position on the synchrotron board and Cate Quinn for her position as head of the drug and alcohol unit in the Victoria Police Forensic Services Centre.

A few people said to me they were being attacked because they were women - scapegoated. I don't agree.

They were being brought to task because they are in leadership roles and had made decisions the general public did not like. If they had been men they would have undergone the same scrutiny. My view is: finally, there are women in those positions and it's fantastic to have the chance to see them cope with the pressures.

Everybody has an opinion on how each should have coped - and those differences of opinion are what makes the world go round - but what I saw were three key women having to give reasons for why they had done what they had done. And they all got through it. We need to see more women in these top roles making the decisions - popular or not - and coping with the pressure as well as any of their counterparts might.

Shameless plugs

This year we are concentrating on growing ruby and taking her to the next level of leadership just as we are with our program of Ascend workshops for corporate women looking for the next move up. It is something close to my heart, the establishment of ways to navigate the leadership path and the creation of great role models from those leaders.

2010 is a new decade, a place to consolidate our positions and grown our influence. So, take a look at what is on offer and plan your next career moves.

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2 comments

  • Larke Riemer

    Larke Riemer 8 years ago

    Hello Carol,I agree with you hence you will note on our new site that we speak about women in general. My team are also the Women's Markets team and not Women in Business as it gives everyone the wrong impression that we are only about women who own a business. This particular blog was covering something that I was doing that month - if you read other blogs you will note I speak a lot about rural women and the wonderful achievements they have made. We are also the major sponsor of the Rural Women's Awards (RIRDC) and profile these winners on Ruby.Thank you for your feedback and rest assured I am a big supporter of rural women having come from rural Queensland myself.

  • Carol Smith

    Carol Smith 8 years ago

    I think that \"Women in Business\" as described is NOT indicative of Women in Business at all. Many of us are rurally situated, attired in jeans,shirts & workboots. We climb gates, drive quads,tractors,4WD utes etc,throw out hay,shift 40kg bags & physically tackle the stock.Ruby should NOT just be about corporate.We need to encompass the WHOLE of Aus Bus women.Rural women are the backbone of the foodchain for Aus.Without food, there is NO Australia.