Without a shadow of a doubt, this nomination is to date & will probably always be; the highlight of my career.
I was sent a letter from the National Australia Day Council Chairman, Ben Roberts-Smith VC from Old Parliament House notifying me that I had been nominated for my work in ‘leading by example, inspiring others & making a difference in the community at a local, national or global level’, and that I am one of 128 state & territory finalists around the country.
Unlike an actress or singer, when you set out as a career as a designer, you don’t assume a public profile comes with the gig – but in this digital age we exist in – it has. And as anyone who has ever done karaoke with me knows, give this gal a microphone & I’ll use it! So I would like to take the opportunity of this nomination to talk about something I am truly passionate about.
Being based in the USA, I can report that when I ask Americans ‘Have you ever been to Australia’, that 99% of them say ‘Oh I would love to go, but its just so far away!’ – and they are right. It is so far away – that’s why when Australian’s travel internationally, they usually do so for long periods of time given the distance it takes to get anywhere! This geographical distance can often times make you feel very isolated from the rest of the world – ‘that’s not such a bad thing’ some would say, and its not – unless your ambition is to take your dreams global.
I believe Australia has some of the most incredible talent across so many industries, and the best of home grown talent should not stay at home – it should be able to spread its wings & take the talent to an international stage, to grow further, and learn, and climb to new heights alongside the best in the world – and all the while doing so, putting our beautiful country on a global stage.
Growing up in a small town (Port Macquarie, NSW), I graduated high school in 1999, a time where the internet was just starting to filter through homes – I am now a Creative Director – which is my dream job, but in 1999… even in 2003 – I didn’t even know the role of Creative Director existed, what they did, let alone that I could possibly ever be one. Young people have unlimited access to the world via the digital age now – but while they might be able to read about what is possible, I can imagine, especially for the kids in small rural towns, that even a city like Sydney feels like a world away to them (like it did to me, hell, even Coffs Harbour felt like going to the city from Port Macquarie!), let alone New York City.
So I would like to use the platform of this nomination, to tell the kids in Port Macquarie and all the small or isolated rural towns across the country, and the kids that don’t come from an affluent background, and the kids who might not be able to attend university, and the kids who have been told that this is their lot in life – that you are not defined by any of these things. You are not defined by where you come from, you are not defined by your financial status, you are not defined by your education & you are not defined by how people treat you.
Dream your biggest dreams, and chase them with aggression & integrity. I am proof that YOU, no matter what your background can do whatever you want to do – no matter how far away that seems right now.
I also encourage you to dream global dreams. Spread your wings & take the beauty of your Australian upbringing & curiosities overseas, absorb experience, learn about other cultures, understand how other people your age live, listen to their stories.
What ever you choose to do, do it with purpose. You have influence. Your actions have influence. So make them count.
Thank you to Karen Lindsay & the incredible army of inspiring women who nominated me to – The camaraderie you ladies show in building other (myself, my team & each other) women up, is rare & so inspiring & I am so thrilled for your daughters who have such incredible role models – the future will be in good hands! And thank you to the Australian Day council for the selection – I am so honored.
Thank you, most importantly to My Dad & Mum - for always telling me to dream the biggest, for encouraging me to go & see the world and for teaching me the only option in life was to be exactly who you wanted to be. I love you.
‘I am a very proud Australian, and its such an honour to be able to fly our flag Stateside! I am thrilled to have been notified of this nomination in New York City, but I still call Australia home.’ – SWx