FAB­U­LOUS AT EV­ERY AGE

From the worlds of film, fash­ion, food, busi­ness and so­cial jus­tice, 2016’s line-up em­bod­ies both style and sub­stance. In as­so­ci­a­tion with Georg Jensen, BAZAAR salutes the women mak­ing their years count

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - Pho­tographed by GE­ORGES AN­TONI By GE­ORGINA SAFE

A port­fo­lio of in­spi­ra­tional Aus­tralian women.

HOLLY RAN­SOM

26, Port Ade­laide Foot­ball Club di­rec­tor and busi­ness­woman As a fe­male di­rec­tor in a no­to­ri­ously male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, Ran­som re­tains a sense of hu­mour as she paints a pic­ture of the gen­der dis­par­ity on the na­tion’s top boards. “Un­for­tu­nately, the num­bers haven’t dra­mat­i­cally changed: there are more men called Peter on the ASX 200 boards than women,” she says. “but speak­ing from my own ex­pe­ri­ence, I think there is a gen­uine be­lief in the busi­ness case [for hav­ing more women on boards] and the de­sire to make it hap­pen is get­ting broader up­take.”

As the CEO of Emer­gent, a com­pany fo­cused on build­ing in­ter­gen­er­a­tional work­forces, lead­er­ship and so­cial out­comes, Ran­som is lead­ing the way and has squeezed more into her 26 years than most peo­ple do in a life­time.at the age of 10 she pledged to spend her life as­sist­ing the un­der­priv­i­leged, and at 18 she was among the youngest del­e­gates at the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s 2020 Sum­mit. Since then she’s worked with women in a slum in Kenya, be­come the world’s youngest Ro­tary pres­i­dent and rep­re­sented 1.5 bil­lion young peo­ple by lead­ing the G20 Youth Sum­mit. “i’m pas­sion­ate about im­prov­ing the lives of those less for­tu­nate and giv­ing a voice to peo­ple who don’t have one,” she says. “I love work­ing out how sys­tems can knit to­gether to cre­ate more op­ti­mal out­comes.”

Ran­som is fo­cused on bring­ing the cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment and non-profit sec­tors to­gether for com­mon good and says the big­gest life les­son she has learnt so far is to con­stantly chal­lenge the status quo. “you al­ways have an abil­ity to choose your at­ti­tude and ac­tions,” she says. “When­ever I’m chal­lenged by a sit­u­a­tion, I al­ways en­cour­age my­self to think, ‘how could I make a dif­fer­ent choice to im­prove the out­come?’”

DR LILA LANDOWSKI

28, neu­ro­sci­en­tist and ed­u­ca­tor At just 28, Landowski has al­ready made a ma­jor sci­en­tific break­through with her dis­cov­ery that a cer­tain nat­u­ral mol­e­cule can as­sist nerve re­gen­er­a­tion. The find­ing could rev­o­lu­tionise treat­ment for pe­riph­eral neu­ropa­thy, which af­fects nerves that send mes­sages be­tween the body and brain. “it is ab­so­lutely thrilling to find your­self look­ing down the mi­cro­scope and in that mo­ment be the first per­son in the world to see the re­sults of that ex­per­i­ment,” says the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia lec­turer. “i’m in­spired by re­sults, I’m in­spired by fail­ure and I’m in­spired by new chal­lenges … See­ing others be­come cap­ti­vated by sci­ence re­ally val­i­dates what I do and keeps me feel­ing in­spired ev­ery day.”

The 2015 Tas­ma­nian Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year and state fi­nal­ist in the 2016 Young Aus­tralian of theyear is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for in­volv­ing young peo­ple in sci­ence. She works with stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia and through its Wick­ing De­men­tia Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre’s Un­der­stand­ing De­men­tia on­line course, which has more than 70,000 health­care providers en­rolled around the world. “i get an in­cred­i­ble sense of sat­is­fac­tion when I’m teach­ing stu­dents or ju­nior re­searchers and see them find pas­sion in what they are do­ing. watch­ing knowl­edge blos­som in others is one of the great­est re­wards.”

ALLY WAT­SON

28, Code Like a Girl founder When Wat­son was grow­ing up, she spent most of her time do­ing arts and crafts. To­day, tech­nol­ogy is her cre­ative out­let. “I’ve al­ways been a maker and that side of me has never stopped,” she says. “i now use tech­nol­ogy as my tool, and creativ­ity in my cod­ing.”

As a coder work­ing in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, wat­son founded Code Like a Girl as a net­work­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion for women in dig­i­tal in­dus­tries. The group of Aus­tralian fe­male tech lead­ers aims to en­cour­age more women into ca­reers in IT and com­put­ing, and then to help those women move into lead­er­ship roles. wat­son be­lieves the great­est im­ped­i­ment to suc­cess is the fear of fail­ure, and en­cour­ages young women to take risks — reg­u­larly. “fail fast and fail of­ten,” she says. “we teach girls to value per­fec­tion and not brav­ery, and this needs to change. We grav­i­tate to­wards ca­reers and pro­fes­sions we think we’ll do well in and avoid risk in or­der to play it safe. Cod­ing is about prob­lem solv­ing, and the jour­ney to the so­lu­tion is lit­tered with er­rors. We need to teach girls that fail­ure is of­ten the path to suc­cess.”

While Code Like a Girl is based in Mel­bourne, wat­son plans to ex­pand na­tion­wide and in­crease its con­nec­tion with women new to the field, who she says can feel lonely when sur­rounded mostly by male tech­ni­cal lead­ers. “we want to make big­ger in­roads to reach a younger au­di­ence … but we’re tak­ing it step by step.”

“WE TEACH GIRLS TO VALUE PER­FEC­TION AND NOT BRAV­ERY, AND THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.” – Ally Wat­son

“When I started House of Riot I was liv­ing in Newyork and I was re­ally fed up with the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in Aus­tralia. when I came back to Aus­tralia for fash­ion week that year [2014], I painted 100 shirts with po­lit­i­cal slo­gans to give to friends and col­leagues to wear dur­ing the event. I wanted to open up the po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion to peo­ple who aren’t in­ter­ested in the dry ver­sion of pol­i­tics, to give them an al­ter­na­tive. It was far more suc­cess­ful than I an­tic­i­pated, and af­ter the event I was con­tacted by in­di­vid­u­als and stores want­ing to pur­chase the T-shirts.

“House of Riot has been con­stantly evolv­ing since then, and there was never a plan to it, so it’s been very much me mak­ing it up as I go along — but that’s what keeps it ex­cit­ing.at the be­gin­ning we only hadt-shirts, but now we do other pieces of cloth­ing and run events to raise po­lit­i­cal aware­ness, and we also col­lab­o­rate with lo­cal artists. I see run­ning events through our or­gan­i­sa­tion, On the Floor, as an­other way of achiev­ing the same goal of in­volv­ing more young peo­ple in pol­i­tics.

“When I started House of Riot, I no­ticed a change in my mod­el­ling client base and my agency dis­cussed this with me. As a model, your per­sonal brand be­comes some­thing that is aligned with a client’s brand when you are used for a cam­paign. My agency ad­vised me to be cau­tious, and I did lose some clients, but I also gained more clients that are af­fil­i­ated with my views. Run­ning House of Riot has made me a lot more ac­count­able for my views, so in some ways it’s made me more cau­tious about what I go yelling about, but at the same time I’m much more in­formed about what I talk about when I do talk.”

“I pas­sion­ately hate cru­elty, in­jus­tice, hu­mil­i­a­tion. I pas­sion­ately love kind­ness. Kind­ness, even when peo­ple may not de­serve it — per­haps es­pe­cially when peo­ple may not de­serve it — is the hard­est and most im­por­tant thing any of us can do to im­prove so­ci­ety and im­prove our­selves. I’m in­spired by peo­ple who do im­por­tant work with no thanks or recog­ni­tion. I look to them con­stantly when I’m tired or over ev­ery­thing and want to give up, and just know­ing they are there, beaver­ing away, gives me a se­cond wind. In all my work — aca­demic, com­mu­nity, me­dia — I love it when I feel I have man­aged to dis­till and trans­mit an idea suc­cess­fully, es­pe­cially an idea or way of look­ing at things that peo­ple haven’t con­sid­ered be­fore. In the long term, I al­ways ask my­self, ‘What greater good is this serv­ing? How is this work im­prov­ing so­ci­ety, ex­pand­ing minds, hum­bling me or adding light to dark­ness?’

“The older I get, the less I’m con­cerned with what other peo­ple think of me. I’ve learnt that the idea that you are only ac­cept­able if ev­ery­one likes or agrees with you is not just a point­less er­rand, it’s also mis­placed.why did universal ap­proval be­come a goal? If I’m wrong about some­thing, I trust the peo­ple around me who I re­spect to tell me so. Strangers on Twit­ter with fake names? Not so much. I’m madly turn­ing my PHD the­sis into a book and will hope­fully con­tinue my aca­demic work at Monash Univer­sity, but be­yond that I have no idea. I have no spe­cific plans, and just try to take op­por­tu­ni­ties as they come my way.”

ANNA PLUN­KETT 33, Ro­mance Was Born co-founder Plun­kett be­lieves in the power of imag­i­na­tion. “I’m ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about cre­at­ing and I love the free­dom of ideas and the po­ten­tial­ity of life,” she says. “for me, in­spi­ra­tion is ev­ery­where.”

For the Ro­mance Was Born show at this year’s Mercedes-benz Fash­ion Week Aus­tralia, in­spi­ra­tion be­gan with a book of Lib­er­ace’s cos­tumes and swelled into a vis­ual ex­trav­a­ganza in­clud­ing a clack­ing dress made of Per­spex piano keys, a cape em­bla­zoned with gold an­gel wings and a dress en­crusted with be­jew­elled bud­gies — an ode to the love of Aus­traliana Plun­kett shares with her co-de­signer, Luke Sales.

The the­atri­cal show at the his­toric house Carthona on Syd­ney Har­bour marked the 10th an­niver­sary of Ro­mance Was Born, which in the past year ex­pe­ri­enced a re­mark­able 400 per cent growth in re­sponse to de­mand for its de­signs.the Syd­ney-based la­bel be­gan af­ter Plun­kett and Sales met while study­ing fash­ion de­sign at East Syd­ney tech­ni­cal Col­lege and then fa­mously turned down an in­tern­ship with John Gal­liano in Paris. In­stead they de­cided to con­cen­trate on Ro­mance Was Born, which to­day is stocked in David Jones and top Aus­tralian bou­tiques, and whose fan base in­cludes Cate Blanchett, Deb­o­rah Harry, M.I.A. and Karen O.

A love of col­lab­o­ra­tion re­mains at the core of the brand, which has worked with artists such as Del Kathryn Barton, Pa­trick Do­herty and Esme Tim­bery; de­signed cos­tumes for Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany; and joined forces with fel­low de­sign­ers Jenny Kee and Linda Jack­son. “i love work­ing with peo­ple and shar­ing ideas,” Plun­kett says. “I love see­ing things come to life. It’s prob­a­bly the most re­ward­ing part of what I do.”

BIANCA MONLEY 36, Eat Fit Food founder Monley founded gourmet home-de­liv­ery ser­vice Eat Fit Food in 2002, well be­fore the cur­rent boom in the health and well­ness in­dus­tries. then just 22, she started cre­at­ing meals for time-poor fam­i­lies, op­er­at­ing alone from her tiny apart­ment kitchen in Bondi. It was one of the first com­pa­nies of its kind in Aus­tralia, of­fer­ing fresh meals made with sus­tain­ably grown, eth­i­cally farmed and lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents. “ev­ery­thing I do in my life is sur­rounded by eat­ing well and liv­ing a ful­filled life,” Monley says. “My aim is to make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives by de­liv­er­ing fresh farm-to-fork meals to them.”

Four­teen years on, Eat Fit Food has evolved into a busi­ness with a team of chefs, nu­tri­tion­ists and health ex­perts work­ing in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, with plans to ex­pand na­tion­wide. But it hasn’t been all ap­ples and wa­ter­mel­ons — in 2004, au­thor­i­ties came to re­pos­sess kitchen equip­ment dur­ing tough times be­fore Monley suc­cess­fully turned the busi­ness around in 2006.“The harder you fall, the higher you bounce,” she says. “no mat­ter how hard it may seem, you can al­ways get through. The more chal­leng­ing times I have been through have taught me so much and made me who I am to­day.you can al­ways dig a lit­tle deeper to find that in­ner strength to stay strong and re­main pos­i­tive.”

To­day, Eat Fit Foot’s cus­tomer base in­cludes Mi­randa Kerr, Hugh Jack­man, Lara Wor­thing­ton and Jesinta Camp­bell, but Monley’s am­bi­tion re­mains con­stant: to help all Aus­tralians live a healthy and whole­some life. “my pas­sion is ev­ery­thing that in­volves fresh, whole­some food,” she says.

Af­ter re­cently buy­ing land in the South­ern High­lands of New South Wales, Monley founded Eat Fit Farm, a 40-hectare prop­erty grow­ing pro­duce for Eat Fit Food meals. “it has al­lowed me to take my pas­sions to a whole new level, as I can now use this in­cred­i­ble place to host farm-to-fork well­be­ing work­shops and classes,” she says.and the brand is wag­ing war on of­fice junk food through its new vend­ing ma­chines, rolling out to work­places this year and stocked with pop­u­lar Eat Fit Food dishes in­clud­ing veg­e­tar­ian and gluten- and dairy-free op­tions, all heated up in 80 sec­onds and yours for $10 — cut­lery in­cluded.

JESS SCULLY 35, Vivid Ideas found­ing di­rec­tor & cu­ra­tor, Tedxsyd­ney cu­ra­tor Through her work with cul­tural events Vivid Ideas and Tedxsyd­ney, Scully is con­stantly un­earthing new tal­ent. “there’s so much cre­ative work be­ing made and shared ev­ery day, I feel like I’m al­ways dis­cov­er­ing new move­ments and styles of ex­pres­sion,” she says.

Scully is most in­spired by “creativ­ity with pur­pose” — de­sign, in­ven­tion or sto­ry­telling driven by a de­sire for so­cial change. She en­joys work­ing with prac­ti­tion­ers and thinkers whose work can make a tan­gi­ble im­pact on peo­ple’s lives by ex­pand­ing the scope of what is pos­si­ble in ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, so­cial in­clu­sion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and hu­man rights.

She be­gan her ca­reer as a jour­nal­ist and ed­i­tor. In 2010 and 2011 she served as pol­icy ad­vi­sor to the NSW Min­is­ter of the Arts af­ter a stint from 2007–10 as di­rec­tor of the Qan­tas Spirit of youth Awards (SOYA), a na­tional men­tor­ship and grant pro­gram for emerg­ing artists, mu­si­cians, film­mak­ers and de­sign­ers. To­day she works as an in­de­pen­dent cu­ra­tor across a range of dis­ci­plines and is cur­rently a mem­ber of the Baranga­roo Arts and Cul­ture Panel and a board mem­ber of Mu­sic NSW. “I love the free­dom I have to de­velop con­ver­sa­tions with fas­ci­nat­ing peo­ple,” she says.

Scully is per­haps best known for vivid Ideas, a pro­gram that brings to­gether close to 40,000 par­tic­i­pants to ex­plore their roles in the fu­ture knowl­edge econ­omy. The Guardian UK named it one of the top 10 ideas fes­ti­vals in the world. “I’m driven by the idea that our imag­i­na­tion, creativ­ity and ca­pac­ity for con­nec­tion can be the ba­sis of our knowl­edge econ­omy,” she says.

“THE OLDER I GET, THE LESS I’M CON­CERNED WITH WHAT OTHER PEO­PLE THINK OF ME.”

– Dr Su­san Carland

– Laura Brown

ANNABEL CRABB 43, po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ist & au­thor Crabb jokes that she is driven by her in­ner sloth. “i have a fear that my in­ner lazy per­son, who never wants to work an­other day in her life, will one day tri­umph and I’ll be sofa bound for­ever,” she says with a laugh. “i work best when I’m slightly over­loaded — I’ve al­ways been that way.”

That is an un­der­state­ment. One of Aus­tralia’s fore­most po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ists and com­men­ta­tors, and the ABC’S chief on­line po­lit­i­cal writer, Crabb has au­thored two books cov­er­ing events within the Aus­tralian La­bor Party, and in 2014 wrote The Wife Drought, a book about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween women, men and work. “i look at my life and the way it works and I feel so for­tu­nate, be­cause I think there is no way I could have jug­gled this work with three chil­dren if I’d been do­ing it a decade ago.the fact that I can time-shift work and still be around for my chil­dren is the great­est priv­i­lege, and I trea­sure it.”

Crabb also fronts the TV pro­gram Kitchen Cabi­net, in which she in­for­mally in­ter­views politi­cians over a meal they cook to­gether. “the fact that I can in­cor­po­rate my recre­ational love of cook­ing into my ac­tual job — it’s a scan­dal, re­ally,” she says, laugh­ing.

A con­stant source of in­spi­ra­tion is the women around her, in­clud­ing fel­low jour­nal­ist Leigh Sales, with whom she pro­duces cul­tural pod­cast Chat 10 Looks 3.“I’ve never had that thing I read about all the time where women are sup­posed to be each other’s worst en­e­mies,” she says. “I can­not re­call ever re­sent­ing the suc­cess of an­other woman. It’s one of the joys of my job to work with pow­er­ful, smart women who also look af­ter each other, like Leigh, Ju­lia Baird and count­less others at the ABC.”

JEN­NIFER PEEDOM 40, film di­rec­tor Peedom makes ex­tra­or­di­nary doc­u­men­taries about peo­ple in ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances, whether it’s an avalanche on Mount Ever­est (Sherpa), peo­ple pre­par­ing to die( Liv­ing the End) or a tragic transtas­man kayak­ing mis­sion( Solo ).“there is a beau­ti­ful power in vul­ner­a­bil­ity ,” she says .“de­fen­sive­ness is a waste of time. I am in­spired by acts of selflessness, creativ­ity, even just good old com­mon sense. If I ever run out of in­spi­ra­tion, I know I can al­ways find it in the nat­u­ral world.”

But Mother Na­ture can be cruel, as Peedom dis­cov­ered when she went to Nepal to make a doc­u­men­tary about the Sher­pas who act as moun­tain guides. A dev­as­tat­ing avalanche forced her to change her fo­cus, as she learnt four peo­ple had al­ready been con­firmed dead. Peedom pulled on her boots, woke her crew and started film­ing those af­fected by the avalanche as it un­folded in real time. “One of the great­est skills in life is the abil­ity to lis­ten,” she says. “i’m driven by the de­sire to cre­ate bold, mean­ing­ful and hon­est work.”

Sherpa pre­miered to rave re­views at the 2015 Syd­ney Film Fes­ti­val be­fore go­ing on the in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­val cir­cuit, re­ceiv­ing a BAFTA nom­i­na­tion and win­ning the pres­ti­gious Gri­er­son Award for the best doc­u­men­tary at the BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val. Next up is an ad­ven­ture of a dif­fer­ent kind: a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Aus­tralian Cham­ber Orches­tra artis­tic di­rec­tor Richard Tognetti, ex­plor­ing our fas­ci­na­tion with moun­tains.the film will play as part of a live per­for­mance at Syd­ney Opera House dur­ing next year’s Syd­ney Film Fes­ti­val, as well as be­ing re­leased as a stan­dalone project. “It’s a cin­e­matic, po­etic and mu­si­cal odyssey, so dif­fer­ent to Sherpa, but very vis­ual,” she says. “A KEY PIECE OF AD­VICE: UNDERTHINK IT. IT’S COM­PLETELY BE­COME MY MANTRA.” LAURA BROWN 42, ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor/spe­cial projects di­rec­tor, Harper’s BAZAAR US There is no such thing as a typ­i­cal day for Laura Brown. “Liv­ing in New York and trav­el­ling so much, I never know how the week will end. I al­ways seem to have the most epic ex­pe­ri­ences on a … Tues­day,” she says with a laugh.

Brown’s role is to cre­ate the most talked-about cov­ers and shoots for Harper’s BAZAAR, which she joined in 2005.That can range from col­lab­o­ra­tions with film di­rec­tors such as Martin Scors­ese, Pe­dro Almod­ó­var and Tim Bur­ton, to pro­fil­ing in­flu­en­tial women in­clud­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and Michelle Obama. When she’s not in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Hol­ly­wood’s and Wash­ing­ton’s A-lists, Brown is an am­bas­sador for the ti­tle she moved to af­ter work­ing for Harper’s BAZAAR Aus­tralia as fea­tures ed­i­tor.to clear her head af­ter a par­tic­u­larly fran­tic week, Brown finds respite with Mother Na­ture.

“Na­ture and an­i­mals — be it in shoots for the mag­a­zine or just a walk on a Sun­day,” she says. “The more time I’ve spent in New York, the more time I need air. a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est is men­tor­ing the next gen­er­a­tion. I’m pas­sion­ate about men­tor­ing young women — I have to have some­thing use­ful to tell them af­ter all this time. And a key piece of ad­vice is not to over­com­pli­cate things. Underthink it. It’s com­pletely be­come my mantra — I even do speeches about it. Over­think­ing any­thing leads to self-doubt and dis­as­ter. I’ve learnt to surf — not lit­er­ally; God, no — through wher­ever life takes me.”

Next up for her is a man­u­script, fol­lowed by more col­lab­o­ra­tions with the peo­ple who in­spire her. “i’m writ­ing a book pro­posal — or try­ing to, with the crazy de­mands of this job — and work­ing on more mo­bil­ity,” she says. “i love to col­lab­o­rate with peo­ple ev­ery­where, but I al­ways bring it back to BAZAAR.” KATE JENK­INS 48, sex dis­crim­i­na­tion com­mis­sioner “My role is to en­sure in both word and in spirit that the laws pro­hibit­ing sex dis­crim­i­na­tion are ap­plied across the coun­try. I have three im­me­di­ate pri­or­i­ties and they are: to re­sist violence against women and their chil­dren; to im­prove eco­nomic se­cu­rity for women — who on av­er­age re­tire with half the re­tire­ment sav­ings of men; and to look at in­creas­ing roles for women in de­ci­sion-mak­ing and lead­er­ship. In Aus­tralia, women are un­der­rep­re­sented in many ar­eas of lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing the work­ing world, pol­i­tics and in com­mu­nity roles. th­ese are three ar­eas where we know on a global stage we are a long way from gen­der equal­ity. I am also en­gag­ing widely to see what other ar­eas need at­ten­tion. I rely on an ev­i­dence base to iden­tify what the pri­or­i­ties are and what ac­tion needs to be taken, by look­ing at the facts and lis­ten­ing to the sto­ries and be­ing clear about what the chal­lenges are.

“I work with others to solve the prob­lem, not just talk­ing to one group of women but also trans­gen­der women, abo­rig­i­nal women and men who ex­pe­ri­ence dis­crim­i­na­tion. I want to get more mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to step up to help with equal­ity. Gen­der in­equal­ity ex­ists in so many parts of our com­mu­nity — sport, work and home — so we need more than just the pas­sion­ate peo­ple in­volved, we need a wider com­mu­nity to take part.

“I’m driven by a pas­sion for jus­tice and fair­ness and I have a very strong be­lief that work­ing to­gether achieves pow­er­ful out­comes.the thing I most en­joy is en­gag­ing with peo­ple in all walks of life, the idea I can learn about and help peo­ple with dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences to mine and the sense that I can make changes for the bet­ter.”

“MY EN­TIRE LIFE, I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO TAKE A STEP FUR­THER THAN I THOUGHT WAS POS­SI­BLE.” – Leanne Ben­jamin

LUCY TURN­BULL

58, chief com­mis­sioner, Greater Syd­ney Com­mis­sion In her role with the Greater Syd­ney Com­mis­sion, a body with sig­nif­i­cant pow­ers to shape Syd­ney’s growth, turn­bull holds the keys to the city. She told Fairfax Me­dia she aims to en­sure the GSC “plays a very ef­fec­tive role in mak­ing sure Syd­ney’s plan­ning fu­ture is as good as it can be so we are a live­able, pros­per­ous, sus­tain­able and pro­duc­tive city”. Tasked with plan­ning de­vel­op­ments in­clud­ing pub­lic spa­ces, turn­bull’s re­mit is to cre­ate more live­able, sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties and help de­liver the homes and jobs Syd­ney needs. Her ‘city of cities’ model in­tends to re­tain the unique flavour of par­tic­u­lar ar­eas while unit­ing Syd­ney on over­ar­ch­ing con­cerns. As the wife of Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, she is em­phatic no con­flict will arise be­tween her job and her hus­band’s, and told Fairfax Me­dia that if it ever does, “i’m a woman ... I can make my own mind up.”

Turn­bull has also thrown her con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence be­hind the cause to stop fam­ily violence. In May, she was named an am­bas­sador for Our Watch, a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion aim­ing to end violence against women and chil­dren. “vic­tims of do­mes­tic violence have suf­fered in si­lence for too long,” she told The Aus­tralian af­ter the an­nounce­ment. “don’t date a boy who doesn’t re­spect you.”

LEANNE BEN­JAMIN

AM, OBE, 51, mo­ti­va­tional speaker, re­tired Royal Bal­let star Ben­jamin be­gan bal­let lessons at age four in Rock­hamp­ton, Queens­land, the foun­da­tion for a ca­reer that would take her around the globe and to the pin­na­cle of clas­si­cal bal­let.at 16 she was ac­cepted into The Royal Bal­let School in Lon­don, where she won the Ade­line Genée gold medal and the Prix de Lau­sanne, be­fore join­ing the com­pany in 1992. She was made a prin­ci­pal the same year — a re­mark­able achieve­ment — and was also a prin­ci­pal at the English Na­tional Bal­let and Ber­lin’s Deutsche Oper Bal­let, re­tir­ing from The Royal Bal­let in 2013 af­ter two decades with them. “I have gone from a pro­fes­sion that re­quired me to give 100 per cent of my time and con­cen­tra­tion into a time of my life when I have the free­dom to choose what I want to do and how I spend my time,” she says. “It has given me the chance to ex­pand my pos­si­bil­i­ties in a way I never thought pos­si­ble. I have projects and ideas that will take me in new direc­tions and that is both a bit scary and hugely ex­cit­ing.” Ben­jamin, who was the long­est-serv­ing prin­ci­pal dancer in The Royal Bal­let’s his­tory and has danced ev­ery lead role in the com­pany’s reper­toire, now spends her time coach­ing others and giv­ing lec­tures. “I’m pas­sion­ate about peo­ple over­com­ing their lim­i­ta­tions, go­ing be­yond what they think they can do,” she says. “my en­tire life, I have been asked to take a step fur­ther than I thought was pos­si­ble and now I’m in a po­si­tion to help others ex­ceed their ex­pec­ta­tions by coach­ing or with in­spi­ra­tional speak­ing.” When asked what her great­est life les­son has been, Ben­jamin replies with a quote from Goethe: “the per­son born with a tal­ent they are meant to use will find their great­est hap­pi­ness in us­ing it.”

LAURA AN­DER­SON 56, chair of VAMFF Through her work for vir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val, an­der­son has been in­stru­men­tal in sup­port­ing and grow­ing the Aus­tralian fash­ion in­dus­try, yet she is equally pas­sion­ate about rock­ets and tech­nol­ogy. when asked who in­spires her, an­der­son vol­un­teers Elon Musk, the Cana­dian-amer­i­can busi­ness mag­nate and tech­nol­ogy buff who plans to set up a colony on Mars as part of his goal to change the world and ad­vance hu­man­ity. “Next on my hori­zon is the mis­sion to Mars,” she says, and while others may make such state­ments idly or in jest, with An­der­son it is very pos­si­ble she will go there.

An­der­son also chairs SVI Global, a pri­vate-in­vest­ment com­pany fo­cused on phil­an­thropic ven­tures and ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment across gov­ern­ments and in­dus­tries, and a tech­nol­ogy en­tre­pre­neur who was pre­vi­ously the na­tional part­ner in charge of strat­egy and de­vel­op­ment for KPMG. She is driven by “mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in this world in some small way [and] max­imis­ing the po­ten­tial of peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties, gov­ern­ment and my­self.”

Un­der her stew­ard­ship, vamff has grown into the largest con­sumer fash­ion fes­ti­val in the world. Its move this year to Mel­bourne’s Mu­seum Precinct, with its World Her­itage-listed Royal Ex­hi­bi­tion Build­ing, ce­mented its pre-em­i­nence.

An­der­son is also a board mem­ber of the Aus­tralian Grand Prix Cor­po­ra­tion, and ap­proaches both fash­ion and fast cars with an at­ti­tude of benev­o­lent lead­er­ship rather than dic­ta­tor­ship. “to lead with an at­ti­tude of abun­dance ver­sus an at­ti­tude of scarcity, to lead with your heart, then your head, then your hands,” she says of her ap­proach. when all else fails, she em­ploys a phi­los­o­phy of “Just do it.” The job is al­ways done.

CHRIS­TINE HOLGATE 52, Black­mores CEO “I’m very pur­pose-driven in all of the ar­eas I’m in­volved in — my role at Black­mores, lead­ing the Aus­tralia-asean Coun­cil, ini­tia­tives for home­less peo­ple and women in lead­er­ship, and my po­si­tion on the board of Colling­wood Foot­ball Club — they’re all things I’m pas­sion­ate about, so I’m mo­ti­vated by their progress. we’ve had record sales com­ing from all brands and re­gions across our busi­ness, which is up over 70 per cent and op­er­ates in 15 coun­tries. this has sup­ported the cre­ation of hun­dreds of new jobs in Aus­tralia.we have been par­tic­u­larly pleased to have been able to give our staff, whether they work on the pro­duc­tion line or in the of­fices, ap­prox­i­mately eight weeks’ ex­tra pay through a profit-share scheme.

“I truly be­lieve lead­er­ship is a priv­i­lege, given to a few, and when we have it we should use it to sup­port the greater com­mu­nity. I’ve been blessed to have strong men­tors in my life whose sup­port and guid­ance gave me the con­fi­dence to step up to big­ger things. So I take se­ri­ously my re­spon­si­bil­ity to be gen­er­ous with my own time to others. I do know that the three qual­i­ties I think you need the most to suc­ceed are de­ter­mi­na­tion, re­silience and al­ways be­ing open to learn­ing new things.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about Aus­tralia se­cur­ing a strong fu­ture for our chil­dren by in­vest­ing in growth in Asia. It presents Aus­tralian com­pa­nies with a huge op­por­tu­nity to lever­age our beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral re­sources and our high stan­dards, which are val­ued and ap­pre­ci­ated abroad. I am also pas­sion­ate about causes, es­pe­cially those close to my heart. Rais­ing funds to re­search cures for can­cer; sup­port­ing the equal­ity of women — par­tic­u­larly in lead­er­ship — and, not least, the home­less.and I’d be ly­ing if I said I wasn’t pas­sion­ate about Colling­wood Foot­ball Club!”

DEB­O­RAH THOMAS 60, Ar­dent Leisure CEO “If I am to be re­ally hon­est, I would say I’m driven by a fear of fail­ure. Se­ri­ously, it’s the de­sire to see how far I can push my­self to re­alise my full po­ten­tial pro­fes­sion­ally, by achiev­ing my ca­reer goals, and per­son­ally, through won­der­ful re­la­tion­ships with trusted long­time friends and a close-knit, lov­ing fam­ily. I was born in the mid-’50s, at a time when girls were not en­cour­aged to ex­cel in their cho­sen ca­reer. How­ever, I was lucky I had par­ents who taught my sis­ter, my brother and me that as long as we got a good ed­u­ca­tion and worked hard we could do and be any­thing we wanted.we learnt that earn­ing and man­ag­ing your own money was the key to free­dom — to choose your own path, part­ner and friends.

“I’m in­spired by the qual­i­ties of in­tegrity, hon­esty and re­spect for your­self and others. Some peo­ple lead by in­tim­i­da­tion. I try to lead by ex­am­ple. If I do my best, hope­fully the peo­ple around me will do the same. It has to be col­lab­o­ra­tive.

“The way women are por­trayed in the me­dia in Aus­tralia de­pends on what you do and what me­dia you are por­trayed in. tele­vi­sion is get­ting much bet­ter at fea­tur­ing fab­u­lous women in their forties, fifties and six­ties-plus, such as my great friend Lisa Wilkin­son, and others in­clud­ing Ge­orgie Gard­ner, San­dra Sully, Lee Lin Chin and Ita But­trose lend­ing their grace, ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tel­lect to change the status quo. Not that there is any­thing wrong with beau­ti­ful young women on tele­vi­sion, as they too are carv­ing out their ca­reers, it’s just that we need a cross-sec­tion of ages, cul­tures and ex­pe­ri­ence to truly rep­re­sent all the women of Aus­tralia and in­spire our young girls. That said, there are still pock­ets in our so­ci­ety who do not like women putting their heads above the para­pet and set out to cut them down. If this hap­pens, you just have to rise above it and prove to the naysay­ers you can do the job.the best way to do that is to work hard and suc­ceed. Suc­cess is the best mea­sure. Life’s too short to have re­grets — you have to seize ev­ery op­por­tu­nity and make the most of it.”

MERIVALE HEMMES 85, fash­ion de­signer & hos­pi­tal­ity-group ma­tri­arch Some moth­ers will have a grand­daugh­ter named af­ter them. Merivale Hemmes also has a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar em­pire as her name­sake. Justin Hemmes last year re­vealed his newborn daugh­ter, alexa Merivale Hemmes, was named af­ter his milliner mother, who also in­spired the brand name for his port­fo­lio of more than 40 restau­rants, bars and pubs and a ho­tel in Syd­ney. “in the be­gin­ning the busi­ness was very small, but as the years went by it grew and grew,” Merivale says. “i went through a pe­riod when I didn’t want the name, but I’m used to it now and I don’t mind be­cause I’m not in the lime­light at all.” She may play a sup­port­ing role to­day as the ma­tri­arch of one of Aus­tralia’s em­i­nent hos­pi­tal­ity fam­i­lies, but in the ’60s Merivale was a star player in her own right with the House of Merivale bou­tiques in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Canberra, which she ran with her hus­band, John Hemmes. Modelled on hip Lon­don stores of the ’60s, House of Merivale in­tro­duced a new con­cept for fash­ion re­tail in Aus­tralia. “it was a very ex­cit­ing time be­cause ev­ery­thing was new, from miniskirts to The Rolling Stones,” Merivale says. Mick Jag­ger, Cher and Liza Min­nelli were cus­tomers of the store, which be­came a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non. As the fash­ion side of the busi­ness be­gan to wane, it shifted to hos­pi­tal­ity with the open­ing of Merivale restau­rant in Syd­ney’s Potts Point in the ’90s. John and Merivale fo­cused on grow­ing that side of Merivale group with Justin, and their daugh­ter, Bet­tina, who run it to­day. “i still voice my opin­ion, and they can take it or leave it,” Merivale says.

STEPHANIE ALEXAN­DER AO, 75, cook, restau­ra­teur & food writer With a new book, The Cook’s Ta­ble, out in Novem­ber, a new home­wares and gar­den range in stores now and an ex­panded table­ware and kitchen line in Oc­to­ber, there is no slow­ing down for Aus­tralian culi­nary icon Stephanie Alexan­der. “I also have a hol­i­day in Italy and France with fel­low food lovers in a few weeks, and hope­fully quite a few more years of good times around ta­bles with fam­ily and friends,” she says.

A cham­pion of Aus­tralian pro­duce and farm-to-ta­ble eat­ing, alexan­der is best known for her land­mark ti­tle The Cook’s Com­pan­ion, an A to Z of in­gre­di­ents and how to cook them. “Putting all that I learnt in more than 30 years at my mother’s knee and in my own restau­rants into one mas­sive vol­ume was a great thing to have done, de­spite the dark days when I was stuck in the let­ter ‘C’ and thought it would never, ever be fin­ished,” she says with a laugh. Since the pub­li­ca­tion of Com­pan­ion in 1996, Alexan­der has be­come a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for im­prov­ing chil­dren’s nu­tri­tion through the Stephanie Alexan­der Kitchen Gar­den pro­gram, cur­rently in ac­tion in more than 800 schools na­tion­wide. “I be­lieve it is pos­si­ble to pos­i­tively in­flu­ence the way young chil­dren make food choices by of­fer­ing pos­i­tive role mod­els and an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram the chil­dren ac­tu­ally en­joy,” she says.

There is noth­ing she adores more than “a visit to a fresh food mar­ket [and] watch­ing my eight­month-old grand­daugh­ter tuck into a var­ied diet.”

FIONA HALL AO, 62, artist Hall once said that look­ing at art is hard work. Mak­ing it can be chal­leng­ing, too, es­pe­cially for Hall, who, in an age when artists del­e­gate to as­sis­tants or use dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce pieces, makes all of her art­works her­self en­tirely by hand. In the case of her work Wrong Way Time for the 56th Venice Bi­en­nale, she cre­ated more than 800 ob­jects for the world’s most pres­ti­gious art event.

Hall used the Bi­en­nale stage — she was the first artist to show work in the new Aus­tralian Pavil­ion there — to make a state­ment about global pol­i­tics, mil­i­tary con­flict and the en­vi­ron­ment.the show was the cul­mi­na­tion of a life­time of mak­ing and col­lect­ing that be­gan when Hall emerged in the 1970s as a pho­tog­ra­pher, be­fore mov­ing into a di­verse reper­toire in­clud­ing sculp­ture, paint­ing, gar­den de­sign, in­stal­la­tion and video. The Bi­en­nale ex­hi­bi­tion in­cluded cus­tomised sar­dine cans, knit­ted masks, painted clocks, col­lages of ban­knotes and dozens of small an­i­mals pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Tjanpi weavers of cen­tral Aus­tralia. It was a tough and thought-pro­vok­ing show that re­flected a pow­er­ful voice within the art world on po­lit­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. “you can never pre-judge how peo­ple will re­spond, but hope­fully there are a num­ber of trig­gers here for them to ac­tu­ally con­nect with the commentary I’m mak­ing on some of the is­sues in our world to­day, whether they are po­lit­i­cal or en­vi­ron­men­tal or fi­nan­cial,” she told The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

When Wrong Way Time trav­elled from Venice to the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia in Canberra, Hall helped in­stall it there. Her 40-year art ca­reer shows no signs of wind­ing down. “It keeps you en­gaged with life, re­ally,” she told The Canberra Times.

“I THOUGHT [THE COOK’S COM­PAN­ION] WOULD NEVER, EVER BE FIN­ISHED.” – Stephanie Alexan­der

Chris­tian Dior jacket, $4300, top, $2100, pants, $2100, and shoes, $1000; Georg Jensen ring, $425. BEAUTY NOTE: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpt­ing Eye­shadow 5-Color Pal­ette in Sav­age Storm, $90. OL­LIE HEN­DER­SON 27, model and House of Riot founder

DR SU­SAN CARLAND 30, aca­demic, me­dia per­son­al­ity, for­mer Aus­tralian Mus­lim of the Year

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