Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do:
I’m a journalist who’s been in the industry for some 30 years. I currently present 7 News Brisbane, but over the years I have held a variety of roles which have taken me from working in North Queensland to Sydney and back to Brisbane. Along the way, my partner Paul and I had 2 beautiful children and life is now one great big juggle. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always feel privileged to have lived the life I have.
What are you most proud of in life?
My 2 boys.. Austin and Darcy. They bring Paul and me so much joy. We love their company and they make us laugh. They complete our little family.
Which person inspires you to be the best person you can be?
My mother, Cheryl. She has always been an incredible inspiration to me. She taught me to always put others before myself and to think of the consequences before I act. Her words of wisdom often guide me along the way.
What has been a life-changing moment for you in your life?
Landing my first job in television at NQTV in Cairns. I had never really considered becoming a broadcast journalist. I always loved writing and thought I’d end up working in newspapers, which I so wanted to do. But, life had a different idea. NQTV needed a young journalist 2 weeks after I’d graduated from University. That allowed me to forge the career I have today and to meet my partner Paul. The rest is history, on both a professional and personal front.
What drives you as a woman in the media?
To be honest, I never really pay much attention to being a woman in this game. I have always been driven by doing the best job I possibly can and I’ve never seen my gender as a hindrance or a bonus. I have been given jobs because I am female and I have missed out on them because I’m not a man, but personally for me, doing the best job I can is the driving force.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt (in life or career)?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.. When I was younger, I would agonise over the smallest of mistakes. Then I realised the best in the business make mistakes. No one is ever perfect, which means I now have a much healthier attitude. Life is too short to think any other way.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?
My mum once told me that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I’ve tried to live by that ever since. As a journalist, dogged determination does come in handy.
What quote do you live by in your everyday life?
“Happiness is the highest level of success.” If you aren’t happy, it really doesn’t matter what you achieve. Success to me, is happiness.
Talk us through a typical day in your life…
Wake up EARLY… read the paper.. watch the TV/listen to the radio to get the latest news… get 2 kids to school (hopefully, in the correct uniform and on time!).. cook dinner.. get ready for work.. spend an hour in hair and makeup.. present updates and promos throughout the day.. prep for 7’s 6pm news bulletin… go home.. relax for 5 mins.. go to bed EARLY… and then do it all over again.
On other days, I may be out covering a story, particularly when big news events happen like natural disasters.. or I could be anchoring our rolling coverage from the studio. Some days I’ve been live on air 10 hours straight.
What has been the highlight of your media career to date?
Landing this job as co-anchor of 7’s flagship 6pm news bulletin is definitely up there. Being the newsreader on programs like Weekend Sunrise and Today were also major highlights. Such lofty ambitions were never on my radar growing up in a small country town in North Queensland.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
This is not what most people expect, but as a child I used to love sewing my own clothes and making outlandish designs. It was something my Nana did. It was also something my Mum did. So, I did briefly consider becoming a fashion designer. Of course, I’m very glad I didn’t. I definitely wouldn’t have had the talent to make that happen at all.
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
1. To travel to the many countries I’ve still yet to explore. I started travelling very late in life. I feel I have a lot of making up to do on that front.
2. To publish the many children’s books I’ve written, that are still sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere.
3. To finish a novel I started many years ago. It’s a common writer’s lament, but I do hope I achieve that one day.
What attracted you to your career?
Honestly, I just fell into it. I went to university with a burning desire to write, as I was a voracious reader as a child. How I got to where I did, still astounds me. I guess I just love asking questions, I am naturally inquisitive and I see such value in communicating the days news to a wider audience. I feel incredibly privileged to be invited into people’s lounge rooms to deliver them the news of the day.
What do you think the key to success is?
Never going into a situation unprepared.. always accepting that there is still so much to learn from others and never ever resting on your laurels. Success only comes when you work hard at it.
Who has had the biggest impact on your life?
My parents, Romey & Cheryl and my partner Paul. All have inspired me in different ways. I could never have done it without them.
We know you support many causes outside of work, tell us a bit about these.
Giving something back is so important to me. I have been involved with charitable organisations since I first started in journalism, because I believe we all need to contribute in some way to make the world a better place. I’ve done everything from delivering Meals on Wheels, to cleaning poo out of cages for a wonderful lady who used to rescue dogs from the pound so they wouldn’t be put down. These days, since having children, I’ve had to cut back a little, but I am still a very proud ambassador for the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation and the Kokoda Track Foundation and I’m also on the Board of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation. All do amazing work and all make a huge difference in improving the lives of others.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the media?
Most young women in the media are so talented, sometimes I think I should be getting advice off them. They never cease to amaze. But if asked, I always tell young women to never underestimate the talent they have. If they have a particular goal, only they can make it happen. Confidence is the key to success. And I always tell them to never be afraid to ask for what you want. Too many times in my career, I’ve seen less qualified and less talented people leapfrog over others who were more deserving of a promotion. They simply failed to ask for it, when someone else did.
How can we encourage and support more females in the media in Australia?
With more and more female journalists rising up the ranks, hopefully that will equate to more support for women. Women also need to be more supportive of each other. As a collective, we wield more power and can then bring about change.
What women in the media do you admire the most?
I really admire women like Barbara Walters and Christiane Amanpour, who helped pave the way for female journalists around the world. I also greatly admire women I’ve worked with like Jana Wendt, Tracy Grimshaw & Liz Hayes. Just by observing the way they operate, it has taught me so much.
Which women in the media do you call a friend?
I try to be a friend to everyone I work with. In my mind, a colleague is a friend first and a workmate, second.
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.