4 minute read

Changing normal with Women of the Future 2019

Hayley Greensmith
Hayley Greensmith
23 May 2019

The Australian Women’s Weekly 'Women of the Future Awards' recognises Australian women aged 18-34 with a business, charity, or idea that aims to bring positive change to the lives of others.

This initiative will feature prominently in The Women's Weekly from May to September, and AGL is proud to be involved once again as the naming rights sponsor.

Why did we offer our support again this year?

We’re a part of a rapidly evolving industry and we’re always striving to think and innovate for what’s next.

We also know that greater diversity – not just in terms of gender, but across culture, experience and education – inspires better conversation, greater innovation, and better business outcomes.

Meet our judge: Lisa Harrington

Like last year, Lisa Harrington, AGL’s Executive General Manager Stakeholder Relations, will sit on the judging panel alongside Lisa Wilkinson and Julie Bishop to decide on winners across three categories: Innovation and Technology; Entrepreneur and Business; and Community Health and Charity.


So, what advice would Lisa offer to the Women of the Future? Let’s see…

Considering your own career journey, what advice would you offer to young women as they try to realise their dream?

The first is to follow your gut. My career has taken turns that I could have never predicted - I never had a long-term career plan but I sought out leaders who inspired me and organisations where I thought I could make a difference. The second is to give people your time. You can’t build a career on your own. You need to connect with people who you can learn from and who you can share your learnings with - people will remember when you help them, and it will be repaid. Finally, seize opportunities. Early in my career I knocked back opportunities because I didn’t feel ready. Later you realise that you never feel ready, you just need to dive in and learn by doing. Knocking back those opportunities early on gave me a great hunger to not refuse any later on!

What challenges do you think young women face today?

I am so heartened that finally - finally - after all the generations where women had no voice, we are now seeing the tide turn where bias is being called out and we are actively tipping the scales in favour of equality. Not just gender equality but broader diversity - celebrating what makes us unique. Having said that, we still have so far to go. I think the greatest challenge young people face today is the difficulty of balancing life and work. I say people rather than women because - shock, horror! - parenting is not just a woman’s job. With smart phones we are always on, work follows us home, and it is incredibly difficult to switch off. The other challenge unique to women is finding a partner who is self-assured enough to support them having a satisfying career and taking on at least half of the parenting load - I am so fortunate to have that but I know many aren’t.

What do you hope for the future?

I hope we free ourselves of all stereotypes so people can choose a path that uses their unique skills - that means more women leading big operations and more men playing with their kids in the park. Not only would this be excellent for kids to look up to a wide array of role models, I’m convinced it would make more happy marriages as people would be free to be who they are.

Want to read more?

AGL’s efforts to fight gender inequality both inside and outside the workplace will be showcased in the Australian Women’s Weekly until November – the first will be appearing in the June issue.

Encouraging readers to ‘change normal’ and look at things in a new way, these stories run in tandem with articles right here on The Hub, showing how AGL is continually working on building a diverse and inclusive workplace for all its people.

For more information about the judges, including Lisa Wilkinson, Julie Bishop, and Ita Buttrose, read the Women of the Future launch feature on the Australian Women's Weekly website.