Tell us about yourself? I am many things: an intersectional feminist, an advocate, a sister, a daughter, a partner, a friend, a volunteer, a board director, a founder, a speaker, a writer, a person with a disability but most of all, a person full of hope! I am incredibly passionate about gender equity, and am strongly committed to leaving the world better than I found it. I love traveling, reading, and people in my life. I dislike bigotry, cooking, and pineapple on pizza.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome in your life? I’ve had an incredibly privileged upbringing to which I owe a lot, I would say my biggest obstacle is – and has been – my health. Living with a chronic condition that impacts my physical and mental health means that I have to be considered and careful about some of the choices I make, how much I work, how I spend my time, and how much time I allocate for self-care. It’s taken me a long time to accept this but I’m getting much better at managing it.
What is your business or job? I am an intersectional gender activist and advocate, and recently started an initiative called Raise Our Voice Australia which aims to have more young diverse female and non-binary persons leading the conversation in domestic policy, foreign policy, and politics.
How long have you been in business or your career? I’ve been engaged in activism for over 10 years, including public speaking, campaigning, writing, and working with communities. Raise Our Voice Australia is my latest venture and was launched in September 2020.
What do you love the most about your current job? I love my current job because it allows me to meet and connect with incredible people – I learn something new every day. Plus, I’m incredibly passionate about changing the face of leadership and supporting young diverse women to become the next generation of public leaders and I love spending time working towards this goal.
Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? It’s hard to point to one greatest influence – my parents have shaped my worldview and encouraged me to always look outside my own experience, I’ve met most of my closest friends through volunteering, and having people around me who are motivated and values aligned is an incredible gift, and at home, my partner is more supportive than I could ever home for and is so gracious in supporting me every step of the way, including the majority of our housework. As for the broader community of women I’ve met through volunteering and in online communities, they support my learning, keep me accountable, and always encourage me to keep going. So, I’d have to say that it’s the people around me who keep me laughing, who keep me motivated, and encourage me to dream big and reach those goals!
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? I’m fortunate to say that I’ve had a few – being a key part of the campaign to get child labour on the G20 agenda back in 2014 is one I’m incredibly proud of. Backing myself and moving from Melbourne to Canberra to back myself and go after the career I wanted is another big one – oh, and co-facilitating the largest political Take Over in the world, leading to founding my own organisation!
What do you do to inspire other women?
This is a challenging question because you don’t always get feedback from the people you’ve inspired. Through my Instagram account (@activist.ash) I focus on sharing my work, amplifying the voices of other womxn in the community, and being honest about the challenges of activism, burnout, and living with a chronic condition. I find this is a great way to connect with like-minded people and share some of the great work that’s being done in the world.
What inspirational qualities do you possess?
My partner has long said that one of my greatest qualities is my optimism. As an activist and someone who’s passionate about change, you need to maintain the hope and belief that things can and will get better, particularly when confronted by challenges. When I know what I want to achieve, I’m fairly determined and find it easy to motivate myself to get the job done.
What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? There’s never a bad time to start, and if in doubt, don’t be afraid to start by listening and amplifying the voices that are already out there. And always be intersectional in your actions – ask who’s in the room, whose voice is being heard, who’s being listened to, and how you can make space to bring others up.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog? Sometimes, you’ve just got to start! It’s easy to get bogged down in all the research, but sometimes, you’ve got to take the first step and focus on impact and getting it done.
What do you do for fun/relaxation? Spend time with the people I love. This always fills up my cup!