I love hearing other women’s stories. Learning about their lives, what drives them, the choices they’ve made and both why and how they made them. I’m interested in their defining moments, the narratives that guide them and how they see themselves. Sharing stories and experiences can reveal vulnerabilities and to open yourself up through your story demonstrates an openness and generosity of spirit. Such stories are entrusted to the listener with the hope that their experiences will be treated with the care and respect that is deserved.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing two outstanding women to hear their stories before an audience of 150 women (mostly) for the launch of the Planning Institute of Australia Queensland Women in Planning Network. The esteemed women were Her Honour Judge Kefford, and my dear friend, the fabulous Dyan Currie, who is the Chief Planner for the Brisbane City Council, and the President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners. Through the stories of their careers and experiences they provided personal insight into their choices, influences and the moments that defined their careers and that spurred them to rise to the heights that they have in their respective careers. They also spoke on the value that women bring to planning and at times, their deeply personal perspectives and experiences.
Some of the points discussed during the event that struck a chord for me included:
The role of mentors (formal and informal) in supporting and challenging women to recognise and seize opportunities to step up in their careers.
The need for women to develop their confidence and social business skills to support them stepping up.
Understanding the self-talk that can inhibit growth and prevent women from stepping forward.
How valuable a supportive network can be and the importance of women helping each other to rise.
The enthralled audience hung on every word of these two high achieving women. What was clear was that although there have been significant advances in the gender balance in planning, there is much more to be done in supporting the careers of women to achieve their full potential.
This will be the first of many opportunities for Queensland women in planning to share and support each other. I was delighted to be involved and look forward to supporting the growth of other women through my involvement in the Women in Planning Network.
And what an excellent hashtag too! #WomenWhoPlanTheWorld