In Pictures: Day Two of the Women In Media National Conference 2023

Women in Media

Leigh Sales discussed her new book Storytellers, her career’s memorable moments and the qualities of a great storyteller

The Women in Media National Conference, which was held in Sydney for the first time on 8-9 September, was the largest gathering of female media professionals from across the country.

More than 400 delegates participated in thought-provoking topics, knowledge-building workshops and opportunities to engage in discussion about issues of importance to women working across the diverse fields of media. Influential business leaders, media industry personalities, entrepreneurs, and those just starting out in their careers, delved into crucial issues of gender, media, and society.

Petra Buchanan, strategic advisor to Women in Media, said: “From journalism to technology, politics to film, the lineup was dynamic, the personalities powerful, and the discussion meaningful.”

Petra added: “This event uniquely brings women together from various realms of the media industry and from all career stages; each who are passionate about what they do. These are women focused on their careers and craft that want to enhance their networks, knowledge and contribute to the success of others and the media sector. In their hands we know the future is bright.”

Over the two days of the Women in Media National Conference 2023, influential women took to the stage to share their stories, insights and outlooks for the media industry and how women play a part in it.

Petra Buchanan

Women in Media - Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose

On day one, Ita Buttrose AC, OBE, Women in Media patron and arguably Australia’s original female media disrupter, said: “Don’t wait for others to open doors for you, open them yourself and sometimes knock them down!”

“I like to climb mountains and when I get to the top of the mountain, I see another mountain.”

‘You won’t always be made to feel welcome, but don’t give up,” and “I say to women all the time, realise how good you are.”

Sam Mostyn AO, Chair of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, discussing productivity said: “women needed to play an equal part in all aspects of care, work, education, tax and government.”

Mariam Veiszadeh, CEO of Media Diversity Australia spoke of the barriers that still exist in the workplace for women and especially women of colour: “with many corporations still employing a sprinkling of women and a dab of colour.”

Kirsty Muddle, CEO Dentsu Creative, spoke about challenging gender norms and the power of advertising to influence our perceptions. “Media and advertising has more impact on human behaviour than policy now … we have such an ethical responsibility to make sure what we are putting out in the world has got a positive impact,” she said.

Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt shared her story and discussed the importance of body acceptance and self-compassion in the media, urging the audience to reframe their thinking about their bodies and make the choice to be kinder to themselves. “I think: ‘I am lucky to have these arms that I can use to hug my loved ones and I am really lucky to have these legs that have run two marathons,” she said.

Sarah Abo

Hannah Diviney, editor-in-chief of Missing Perspectives, spoke of the need to change the rhetoric around women’s storytelling through the incorporation of lived experiences and allowing women to be more in control of their own narratives. “People who discount women’s storytelling and discount the value that we have need to get with the program,” she said.

Former Matilda’s player Moya Dodd AO, referred to men’s sport as the story of ‘uninterrupted myth making’. “Where is the myth making, where are the legends in women’s sport, where are the narratives?” she asked. “There are stories to tell. Tell them!”

Bruna Papandrea, producer of the current top rated TV series, The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart, spoke of her experience in the Australian film industry as well as in Hollywood. “People take less risks with women. You’ll get one shot [and] there’s a lot of pressure to achieve on that first go and, in particular, with feature film … mediocre men get way more opportunities than brilliant women do at the moment.”

ABC’s Australian Story anchor, bestselling author and hit podcaster Leigh Sales AM opened up about the genesis of her new book Storytellers, her career’s memorable moments and the qualities that define a great storyteller, of which she is considered to be one of Australia’s best. “One of the biggest barriers to making a genuine connection to another human being is going into conversation or interaction with a judgemental mind set… Nothing will give you a poorer experience of life in the world than going through it with that kind of attitude,” she said.

Karen Eck’s popular workshop, The Power of Visibility, was packed with practical tips and advice on how to step forward in promoting your personal brand. It was an epiphany for many to hear her say: “The first killer mistake is to think your work speaks for itself. It doesn’t.”

Lauren Finestone, founder and executive coach of Nudge Coaching and her colleagues Bindi Newman and Fiona Russell, provided a tool kit of resources to frame how best to work through challenging environments. She reminded us to fight “the temptation to do what you’ve done in the past when dealing with decision-making” instead embracing patience and reflection and to not assume that things are simple.”

Women in media

See also: In Pictures: Day One of the Women In Media National Conference 2023

Top image: Leigh Sales

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