On China’s Rise and a New World Order

It’s the name of my lecture in October with ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which is being held in conjunction with the Ideas & Society series convened by La Trobe University’s Emeritus Professor Robert Manne – tickets are already on sale given the Paul Keating lecture held earlier this year sold out within a week.  Kevin Rudd is a different person altogether from Paul Keating but they share in common an interest in the Asian region and what it means for Australia.  This lecture will also be different in that it’s a lunchtime event (light lunch provided at the Sofitel!) so targeted more at a CBD-based business audience.  Kevin’s an interesting man from what I can gather from my friends and colleagues who’ve previously worked with him in the media space.

https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f342393872f1087472139252f12foriginal
Image via Eventbrite

It’s Spring in another fortnight and I can’t wait for it to begin.  This house at 43 Alexander Street in Montmorency has caught my eye.  It’s an Alistair Knox home with gardens inspired by Gordon Ford and it looks just beautiful – it is the home of a local Montsalvat studio artist and I think it would be well worth a look if you’re in the area or looking to buy in the area given how close it is to the Were Street village and surrounding parkland – Monty is a lovely suburb.

main1
Image via www.realestate.com.au

We’re about to start some minor renovations at home and I’m looking forward to finishing the painting that we started last Spring but never quite finished, and continuing to de-clutter.  Mr Rosanna’s Dad has told me that you never finish once you have a house of your own – there’s always something to do maintenance-wise!  Argh!

Politics, protests and prison life

It’s the story of the La Trobe Three – Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York – three young student activists who were jailed indefinitely for disobeying a University order to stay off campus almost 45 years ago and my next Bold Thinking Series lecture brings all three together for the first time to talk about their story – what happened then and what has happened since.  Tickets are almost sold out but if you’re interested in coming along to the State Library Theatrette on Thursday 24 August, you can still purchase these on Eventbrite.

https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f327593812f1087472139252f12foriginal
Image via Eventbrite

I’ve spoken to all three men and the gravity of what they went through has stayed with me and I have no doubt that their time in prison as young men has left an indelible impact on their lives – I’m very much looking forward to hearing them speak.  The lecture will be facilitated as usual by MC Francis Leach but La Trobe historian Professor Katie Holmes will also be on the panel to provide some wider context about that period of time in the early 1970s.

michael-kirby-web
Michael Kirby image via La Trobe University

I’ve been interested reading Michael Kirby’s remarks in the news this week about the same sex postal vote and it was an honour to meet the great man in May – it’s been a humbling experience to work on the whole Bold Thinking lecture series and witness some real change taking place in the community as a result of a staging an open discussion with both sides having a chance to voice their opinion and further action being taken post-event, as was the case in Bendigo (multiculturalism) earlier this year.

wf-steamtrain-shuttles2017
Image via Wattle Festival Hurstbridge

My lecture next month in Shepparton will be along similar lines to Bendigo while the October lecture will see me working with another former Australian Prime Minister…I will reveal details soon but may also need to catch my breath at some stage.  Winter’s almost over and I’ve started seeing blossom on the trees and a blaze of bright yellow wattle at work, which means the Wattle Festival in Hurstbridge isn’t far away. Bring on Spring!

Cooking up a storm

My Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science lecture with chef Shane Delia and charismatic ABC National broadcaster Dr Norman Swan was held last night to a packed audience at the State Library Theatrette, including a number of my La Trobe colleagues who had to stand at the back. There’s a certain level of skill involved in making sure everyone’s properly briefed, prepared and comfortable with the format for the evening but it’s always an interesting exercise seeing how the panel (who are often meeting each other for the first time) come together and do their thing on stage.  Our MC Francis Leach always makes it look easy but I sometimes think he’s got the toughest job of all trying to guide the conversation and give all the speakers a turn to shine on stage.

IMG_5989
L-R: Shane Delia, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Antigone Kouris, Francis Leach, Antigone Kouris & Norman Swan

 

 

It was a very entertaining conversation last night with Scottish-born Norman Swan saying a few naughty words and cheeky comments.  Shane Delia was also a very natural panelist sharing his perspectives and food journey as a chef, including mentioning that he suffers from ADHD which is something he shares in common with fellow chef Heston Blumenthal.  We are all human at the end of the day but it’s very courageous to be so open in a public forum and it was lovely to hear him speak about his passion for food, inherited from cooking rituals he enjoyed as a young boy with his grandparents, which led him down the food path.  He is also a very busy man who works 14 hour days – he had two other gigs to go to after our lecture finished last night and Dr Swan had also jetted in that afternoon and was flying out again this morning.https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f321479182f1087472139252f12foriginal

It was also fascinating for me to listen to La Trobe’s two health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris explain why the Mediterranean Diet in particular is so good for you health-wise (including evidence-based data to support longevity and anti-ageing).  I will be doing a lot more slow cooking, braising and casseroles after finding out it’s a much healthier process than caramelising, barbecuing and roasting as well as eating more plant-based foods especially leafy greens, nuts, legumes and olives and extra virgin olive oil.the-mediterranean-diet-cookbook

The lecture touched on the fact that more educated and affluent people have the knowledge and access to healthier food including fresh fruit and vegetables and I will be interested to watch Shane Delia’s upcoming SBS documentary on better access for children at poorer schools in Melbourne’s growth corridors – he was horrified to drive past at least 14 McDonalds outlets on the way from his home to Tarneit in Melbourne’s outer west while filming the series.  I get just as cross about gambling outlets and sports betting targeting the less educated and more vulnerable people in our society but don’t get me started…

Have a wonderful weekend and I am looking forward to the last month of Winter, which starts next week.

Mind over madness

Yoga in Times Square, New York to celebrate the summer solstice and International Yoga Day is something I’ve not yet made it to, but it’s on my bucket list. Every year at this time, I start dreaming of holidays in sunnier places and this one fits the bill.  If you’re a yogi, you may be interested in some of the winter workshops being held at Clifton Hill Yoga School.

13516659_10154366077967526_6946499332240752882_n
Image via Yoga Flava Facebook page

I’ve been busy organising my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Thursday 27 July at the State Library and wanted to give you advance notice if you’d like to book tickets to Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science where my two La Trobe health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris will be joined by Maha Restaurant Owner and Chef Shane Delia and Dr Norman Swan, host of ABC Radio National’s The Health Report.  Tickets can be purchased here and we’ll start officially promoting via Facebook next week.

https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f321479182f1087472139252f12foriginal

I’m a big fan of Shane Delia’s Spice Journey program on SBS so looking forward to working with him on this lecture and his middle Eastern Maha Restaurant in the city, where a couple of my best friends have dined, has been on my radar for a while as much as some of my male work colleagues are fans of his kebabs at the more lo-fi Biggie Smalls in Collingwood.  I also think his related cookbook below would have some great recipes if you’re wanting to experiment over the winter.

9781743367209
Image via Murdoch Books

I was reflecting the other day with Mr Rosanna that it’s been an interesting professional journey for me working mainly with men at La Trobe.  Public Relations tends to be female-dominated as well as many of the industries I’ve worked in such as fashion, beauty, retail and the visual arts.  It’s been refreshing to work with guys this time around from my two bosses, to my colleagues who help coordinate the advertising, event management and livestream filming.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine today.

Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

IMG_5743
L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

IMG_5746
My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

b95ead_b5398ac1f8584e59a587b568321f3151mv2_d_3840_2160_s_2
Image via louisemahler.com.au

But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

drjasonfoxinterviewthumbnail
Image via drjasonfox.com.au

I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.

A Garden State

It’s been a really busy start to the year and I can’t believe my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Michael Kirby on Health, Law & Sexuality is on next week at the NGV Great Hall, which holds 600 people and we are almost at capacity.  La Trobe University has been bringing out the big guns in terms of names with former PM Paul Keating being the keynote speaker at the Ideas & Society lecture on our role in Asia the Trump era, run by Emeritus Professor and public intellectual Robert Manne, at the Melbourne Recital Centre this Friday.  This event sold out within the first week or so of being advertised.

cache_3065267
Image via Speakeasy HQ

I also out went out on Sunday night with my workmates to see my Irish friend Colum perform in his show Improv Against Humanity (based on the naughty card game) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Before the show, we tried for a table at Supernormal in Flinders Lane, which was super crowded and so decided to go to the Garden State Hotel (on the former Rosati’s site), which was also going off when we entered.  The resident DJ was spinning some pretty groovy tunes so it was a shame we couldn’t stay for a dance – we opted for a basement booth table away from the noise and ordered counter meals after walking into the restaurant, which was more pricey.

teaserbox_1861998
Image via Speakeasy HQ

Colum’s gig had been shifted to Speakeasy HQ past the Waterside Hotel in Flinders Street – it’s Melbourne’s only dedicated vaudeville venue (and art gallery) located upstairs with a lounge bar outside the stage area and is housed in a former gold-rush era bank building – I was admiring the beautiful patterned ceiling while I was there.  And the gig?  It was very funny and improv performers are brave souls indeed – so quick off the mark….let’s just say that the words ‘semen’ and ‘dolphin’ were put to good use over the course of the evening.  Colum is not my only talented work friend, I discovered another friend Michelle used to be a high school teacher by day and a salsa dancer by night!  Next time out there will definitely be a bit of boogie-ing on down.

shr_gardenstatehtl_c2a9smg_252640-1-800x540
Image via Garden State Hotel

If you attended a Dawn Service this morning, I hope you managed to have a restful afternoon this Anzac Day.  It’s been nice to pause and reflect.

facebook
Image via Garden State Hotel

Big city

I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time in the city the past few days.  My Bold Thinking Series lecture was held on the last balmy night of Autumn last week.  I had to fight my way through the crowds sitting outside the front of the State Library and on the nearby streets to get my noodles before the lecture started and emerged after my event, to find just as many people enjoying the night – including a dance off and some pretty rad moves by a group of guys out the front.  Melbourne really has become an international metropolis in many ways – I just hope we can continue to grow in a sustainable way and I’m grateful for the relative peace we live in given all that is currently happening on the world stage.

IMG_5638
L-R: David Metcalfe, Dr Fiona McKenzie, MC Francis Leach, Jan Owen & James Fazzino

My lecture itself was fascinating – both futurist Dr Fiona McKenzie and businessman James Fazzino did a great job of flying the flag for La Trobe University while digital transformer David Metcalfe from Linked In and Foundation for Young Australians CEO Jan Owen collectively provided enlightening and insightful perspectives on what the future of work might look like – including the need for soft skills such as cognitive flexibility, emotional intelligence, social awareness, entrepreneurship, leadership, digital and communication skills.  The landscape is changing and we need to change with it in order to keep up.  You can watch it all on livestream here if you’re interested.

400px-acmi_panorama
ACMI image via Wikipedia

From warmth to freezing cold, I was back in the city on Sunday as my children were booked into an Easter school holiday workshop at ACMI.  We also had a prior engagement at Docklands beforehand and it was a nightmare trying to work our way back to the top of town given the inclement weather and the fact that Flinders Street was closed for Run for the Kids.  I was impressed with the runners who still competed despite the 11 degree rainy day outdoors – tough stuff indeed.  I was happy to escape into the studios at ACMI and grab coffee and lunch from the cafe.  Enjoy the rest of the week – I’m counting down to Easter and I’m sure I’m not the only one!