Yesterday I spoke in the chamber about the achievements of Amanda Whitley and HerCanberra. I mentioned that just last week HerCanberra had moved from an online forum to a hard-copy publication in launching their first magazine, called Magazine. Tonight I would like to talk about some of the women that were outlined and honoured in this magazine in the feature item “15 women to watch in 2015”.
The feature was designed to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March. I had the great honour of being included among these amazing women, and I would now like to take the opportunity to mention them. They come from a range of sectors in the Canberra community - from the design and creative sector to the publishing sector, the community sector, the science and research sector, the music sector, the community sector and the business sector. I would also like to note, on the back of Dr Bourke’s adjournment speech, that two of the women are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Nellie Peoples, referred to in the magazine as “The maker”, is a designer in metal smithing. Nellie first studied architecture, which led to her decision to study gold and silver smithing at the ANU. In that role she was recognised internationally and subsequently went on to win the inaugural design CBR Designcraft Craft + Design Award. In 2015 Nellie has plans to develop a studio and work space and a goal to expand her practice internationally.
There is Zoya Patel, referred to as “The publisher”. Zoya is only 25, but already she has been editor-in-chief of Lip magazine and last year founded her own publication, Feminartsy, a space which explores gender through personal stories and creativity. Zoya came to Australia at the age of three and has had cultural challenges in her own life, but she and her family are proud to have overcome these and set out on their own path.
Joanna Allebone is referred to as “The communicator”. Many will know Joanna through her role as a director of corporate relations and communications at the YWCA of Canberra. As Joanna herself says, she is working towards a “world where reconciliation, justice, peace, health, human dignity, freedom and care for the environment are promoted and sustained through women’s leadership”. In this role, Jo dreams of “telling important community stories, and making the world a better place” to live as well as benefiting women in her own backyard.
Tegan McAuley and Belinda Neame, referred to as “The marketers”, are from the well-known marketers Hustle and Scout and the Forage. Tegan and Belinda found that there was a lack of opportunities for the creative community in Canberra. Instead of despairing about that, they set up their own markets. They originally established the Forage and Hustle and Scout in New Acton, but very quickly grew out of those digs and then moved to the Fairbairn precinct. In 2015 they are going to bring new initiatives and a new location for the Forage and Hustle and Scout.
Louisa De Smet is referred to as “The trailblazer”. Louisa, as a fashion design student, was showcased in Sydney fashion week, a huge achievement, and since then has been one of the stalwarts of the Canberra fashion industry. As Magazine quotes: Her love of design inspires her to create pieces that are not “mere garments” but “wearable, functional sculptures for the human form”.
On Friday, Louisa and her business partner, Steven, launched a new fashion design showcase in conjunction with one of the oldest German furniture manufacturers, Walter Knoll, at Designcraft in Hume.
Sally Moylan is described as “The wild child” but is perhaps more widely known as a fantastic cricketer for the ACT Meteors. She had a childhood dream of becoming a wildlife warrior and was recently recognised as the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student of the year at the ACT Training Excellence Awards for her studies in horticulture, conservation and land management. She juggles full-time work, study and national cricket; for a 26-year-old, that is no mean feat. One of the things that Sally said to me when I met her last week was, “If just one per cent of the budget that goes to paying our male cricketing national players went to the women’s national team, they would be able to afford to play cricket full time.” That is quite an interesting statistic.
Heidi Stratford, a public servant, is referred to as “The advocate”. Heidi’s role behind the scenes in promoting brand Canberra is vital. She is passionate about Canberra and believes that Canberra’s secret weapon is a passion and belief in itself. She has the title of the world’s coolest capital in her sights, as does this government, and she is looking forward to capturing that title from our near neighbour Wellington.
Kaleid, “The triple threat”, is made up of three talented women, Kirrah Amosa, Amy Jenkins and Jacqui Douglas. They sang beautifully at the launch of Magazine and this year, in addition to the re-imagined covers they have been singing for the last couple of years, they look forward to singing and recording their own original music.
Kylie Travers, “The survivor”, is still in her 20s, but has done much and experienced much, both the highs and the lows. She is a published author, international public speaker and blogger. She is a mum who was also an ACT finalist for the 2015 Young Australian of the Year. But she is also a survivor of domestic violence, rape, robbery and homelessness. In this year hers will be an important local voice as together as a community we come together to find new ways to tackle domestic and family violence. She has a passion for helping others but, importantly, changing perceptions of homelessness and domestic violence and creating a better future not just for her own children but for all children.
It is hard to know how to describe Tara Cheyne, “The patriot”. The words have to include “Canberra” and “community”. She is the very effective chair of the Belconnen Community Council, is a member of the Belconnen Community Arts Centre Board, and runs one of the most successful blogs in the territory that sings Canberra’s praises. Her passion for Belconnen in particular is clear. As Magazine notes: Whether it’s with her blog, community work or her professional life, this is one young woman whose future is as bright as her signature hair.
Michelle Melbourne, “The innovator”, is much more than just a self-described IT nerd. A bit over 20 years ago, she and her husband, Phillip Williamson, founded Intelledox, a digitalisation software company. Intelledox now employs 35 people internationally, with offices in Singapore, Toronto, New York and London, and won the 2014 Telstra ACT business of the year awards. Michelle is also past president of the Canberra Business Council. Her natural curiosity and enthusiasm for the sector have won her many awards. As a Canberran she says her defining moment was donating $1 million worth of Infiniti software back to her alma mater, the Australian National University, to enable them to become a digital leader.
In relation to Dr Sudha Rao, “The game changer”, Magazine notes: It’s one thing to grow up with ‘curing cancer’ as a life goal … it’s another thing entirely to actually do it. But that’s what Dr Sudha Rao, Associate Professor (Molecular & Cellular Biology) at the University of Canberra, is on the verge of doing. Sudha is working on a therapy to prevent cancer recurrence and will soon embark on clinical development which will bring her one step closer to transforming the lives of women with aggressive breast cancer.
Carla and Emma Papas are “The merrymakers”. How many people dream of quitting their jobs and following their dreams? Carla and Emma Papas have done just this and spread their irrepressible energy and enthusiasm through their highly successful blog, the Merrymaker Sisters. They have blogged their way to New York City and shared the stage with paleo chef Pete Evans. For Carla and Emma Papas, merrymaking is a way of life. They spread their paleo message to others, their merrymaking rubbing off and inspiring people to live a life of health and happiness, and 2015 may well see a merrymaker app available.
Julie Oakley is “The entrepreneur”. Julie Oakley’s natural energy and passion have seen her own and run businesses from her late teens. She is a natural entrepreneur with two hair salons who recently launched Dilkara Essence of Australia, the first range of hair products in the country to use indigenous Australian ingredients. This range brings together her own Aboriginal heritage and business knowledge. In 2015, in addition to all of this, she will seek to have Dilkara products distributed internationally, and she hopes to set up Dilkara hair academy, Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hairdressing academy. As Magazine notes, Julie is a “businesswoman with heart”.
It was my honour to meet all these women. I acknowledge again the work of Amanda Whitley, Jess Aberdeen, Belinda Neame, Ali Price, Javier Steel, Lori Cicchini, Emma Grey and everyone else involved with HerCanberra and the folks at Coordinate for launching this terrific new magazine.