If not now, when?

Hello!  Welcome to 2018 – I hope you’ve head a great start to the forthcoming Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology but more on that another time.

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Me and Mr Rosanna at Ocean Grove

I’m not referring to instant gratification in my post title above but more about dreams becoming reality.  Procrastination, fear and general laziness can stop us from going after what we truly want sometimes right here and now, not at some future point somewhere in the distance.  I think it’s important to go after what you want more of in your life, do what gives you the greatest sense of joy and purpose (whatever that may be) as well as find time and space to lose yourself in – ‘follow your bliss’ as the yogis say.  This is not always easy given the realities of work (you are lucky if you can incorporate any of the above into your day job) and caring for others but I’m determined to spend more time doing the things I love with the people I care about the most in this coming year.  Mr Rosanna and I talk about flow – the need to move more in the direction you wish to head by spending more time doing that activity in general as well as being persistent – ‘persistence beats resistance’ is another one of our own sayings.  People often give up too easily.  Patience and persistence are good long-term habits to cultivate.

My word for last year was ‘expansion’ and this year it’s ‘consolidation’ – I admit not terribly sexy sounding but I feel the need to capitalise on the opportunities I was given last year and build some kind of foundation from there in which to move forward again.  It’s also good to stop and smell the roses and while I don’t want to rest on my laurels or be complacent, ambition without some kind of end goal isn’t terribly useful nor is continuing to push yourself to make things happen when everything happens in its own time – it’s good to live in a state of acceptance.  I think it’s also important to appreciate how far you’ve come, what you have already achieved and where you are currently at – we have much to be grateful for, if you happen to be reading this blog in our particular part of the world.  Do you have a word for the year?

When I was at the Leading Now leadership summit in NSW last year, keynote speaker Dr Jason Fox also mentioned his archetypes or characters he creates for himself to inhabit which again, is an interesting exercise in itself.  My character last year was the ‘magician’ which I found helpful as the person who makes things happen by bringing thought leaders together in a public arena, in terms of my day job.  Again, you may like to create your own character this year!  It’s good to have something to inspire you.

Lazy days in the sun are here even if you are back at work this week like me.  We had a great Christmas and New Year here in Melbourne and down at the beach and I’ll be back with more later this week.

The Guilt Trip

It’s the name of Kasey Edwards’ new book , which is a meditation on the guilt women feel about their bodies, relationships, pregnancy and childbirth, motherhood and careers.  It’s published by Black Inc. Books who have partnered with La Trobe to form La Trobe University Press and the University’s 50th Anniversary book – From the paddock to the Agora – a copy of which was given to me as a thank you from Vice Chancellor John Dewar for working on the 50th.  Kasey’s invited me to her upcoming book launch, in conversation with Clare Bowditch, being held on Thursday 25 May at Readings Hawthorn in Melbourne.  If you’re interested in attending, it’s free but please register on Eventbrite.  Being the small world that it is, Kasey has previously worked with Mr Rosanna while I have had dealings with her partner, an Associate Professor, who works at La Trobe University.

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Image via Black Inc. Books

I missed the recent launch of local author Les Zigomanis’ book for Young Adults called Pride (published under his pseudonym Lazaros Zigomanis) the other week.  I met Les last year at the Busybird Publishing Karma Kinglake writing retreat as he is the Publications Manager there, working closely with owner Blaise van Hecke.  I love the preamble to his book ‘dreams mean nothing unless you have the courage to pursue them’ so it’s another one to add to my list.

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Image via Black Inc. Books

Indeed it was interesting to note at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit some of the practices of our greatest leaders include waking up early, yoga, meditation and reading books, and lots of them.  Apparently Elon Musk reads two books a day on average and many leaders curate the content of what they take in – choosing books over the noise of traditional and social media and being pedantic about their energy management.  I think it’s something the average person can take on board as well so we’re not feeling drained at the end of every day.

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Image via Busybird Publishing

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend so I just wanted to wish all the mums out there a fun day on Sunday.  If you’re interested in doing something arty, there are also two exhibition openings on tomorrow afternoon at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre – Technician’s Choice and Group Formalism.  The Homestead has recently re-introduced a lunch menu but also does great scones and jam.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The future of work

This is the title of my next Bold Thinking Series lecture and I’ve assembled an interesting panel of futurist, businessman, youth advocate and digital disrupter for Thursday 6 April at the State Library which will consider amongst other things, the jobs that will disappear in the next 20 years and the jobs of the future, the rise of robotics and Artificial Intelligence and what digitalisation and automation mean for us in middle class professional jobs or the service industry.  I’m thinking that perhaps I should have studied psychology instead of public relations!

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Image via www.latrobe.edu.au

But having said that I think I’m a natural communicator and I will be holding a couple of workshops at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit taking place at Mantra on Salt by the beach in Kingscliff, NSW from 7 – 9 May.  There will be some impressive keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler and Dr Jason Fox and I’m grateful to have been invited to be part of this event by my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray.  If you are interested in attending, there is actually an early bird discount if you book before Friday 31 March and even better, you’ll get an extra 15% discount if you use the code: Christina in the promotion code box when checking out – it would be lovely to see some familiar faces there from this part of the world if you can manage it.

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Image via www.trybooking.com

I’m also pleased to say that Valentina Maxwell-Tansley, Ella Hinkley and I were successful in our funding application to Darebin Council on behalf of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with Council unanimously agreeing to increase investment in the centre along with expanding funding over the next three years in line with our recommendations.  Instrumental to this has been the work of the previous Board, current Homestead staff as well as Vicky Guglielmo from Creative Culture at Council.  I am looking forward to introducing the new La Trobe Art Institute team to my friends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in the next few weeks.

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Image via Facebook

Speaking of Darebin, the Darebin Community and Kite Festival is on this weekend, as well as the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for any petrol heads out there.  I’m planning on taking it easy after a very busy past few weeks.  I was out with some work colleagues last night for a casual dinner at Indian restaurant Horn Please (near the Moroccan Soup Bar) which was a great night out – the samosas, dahl and cauliflower starter dish are highly recommended.  Needless to say, I forced myself to go to training at Cinch PT this morning in Macleod and Nikki and the girls at training recommended reading Tools of Titans which looks at the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers and what commonalities there are between them in terms of concrete and actionable goals, as opposed to abstract dreams.  Have a great weekend!

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Image via Horn Please