Conference 2022

Annabelle Hickson on regional Australia, Galah and the national conference

She started a magazine from her kitchen table to highlight the beauty of regions.

By Tatiana Carter

At some point in our lives, we’ve all fantasised about moving to the country. Whether to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or just to enjoy the simplicity of country living, many of us have yearned for a place to be free. 

Annabelle Hickson is someone who not only followed her heart to the country but has ensured that other people can too – even if just through reading. 

The author and photographer started the quarterly magazine Galah to reflect the beauty she saw in regional Australia, hoping that people would read stories beyond the standard floods and droughts. 

Speaking at the 2022 Women in Media National Conference, Ms Hickson is excited to connect with other speakers and attendees she looks up to and admires. 

Important Update

National conference tickets have sold out. Sign up for the waitlist.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Women in Media National Conference?

When I saw the list of speakers – experienced, famous women in media who I very much admire and look up to – and then my name on that list, I had a mild catatonic episode. But now that my body has regained mobility, I am (I think) looking forward to meeting the speakers and attendees and hope that by some kind of osmosis I can soak up some of their brilliance. I love working alone, but there is some sort of energy-boosting magic that happens when you come out of the cave and mingle with real people.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? 

Starting Galah from the kitchen table on a pecan farm in the middle of nowhere. Something that can amplify voices from other kitchen tables all around regional Australia.

How have you managed or mastered change in the past two years?

The normalisation of remote working over the past two years has been so good for people who actually live remotely. From that perspective, it seems like everyone else has had to change – so thank you for that.

Annabelle Hickson started Galah on her kitchen table. Photo: Anson Smart

For me, the biggest change in a business sense in the past two years has been shifting from start-up mode to running and sustaining a business for the long-term. Being consistent and embracing systems is not my forte – give me slightly frightening start-up mode energy any day – but it’s a change that I am working on.

What change needs to happen in the media sector?

Good stories can be buried by bad writing. I get lots of written submissions for Galah. When the writing is brilliant, I kiss my phone. But it’s often not. That’s not to say the stories and perspectives are not important – quite the opposite – it’s just that the vehicle they’ve turned up in has mechanical issues. In a perfect world, I would have the time and resources to work on the mechanics, but I have mechanical issues of my own.

I think we all want a diversity of voices in our media sector. But not everyone who has a story to tell is going to get a newspaper cadetship, or have a kindly and experienced writing mentor to call on, or get hired and trained by a major media company. And not every editor is going to have time to work on these submissions. I think we could do more to help these people find a way in. To arm them with skills and tips to better tell their stories. To get more voices in media.

Personally, I’d love to spend some time interviewing experienced journalists to document and articulate what makes a well-written piece and then create something – a podcast/or video series that is accessible and free and practical.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced while launching Galah?

One of the best stories I’ve read this year was in The Monthly, written by Robert Skinner, about his time running Australia’s now defunct – but then the only – short story magazine Canary Press.

“Everyone knows that magazines don’t make money in the beginning, but we were surprised to find it didn’t make money in the middle or the end, either,” Robert wrote.

“When sales of the first issue started coming in, Andy mentioned that he might like to spend his share of the proceeds on a snorkelling holiday on the Great Barrier Reef. I was all for it until someone asked, ‘Don’t we need the money from the first issue to pay for the second one?’”

‘“Oh God,” I said, “it’s a Ponzi scheme.”’

The biggest challenge I have faced while launching Galah is to somehow make it not a Ponzi scheme. Print and profit do not always go hand in hand, but I am determined to find a way.

A great benefit of being a small start-up business is that we don’t have legacy issues to deal with. For example, most magazines rely on newsagency distribution for the bulk of their sales. But looking at the newsagency model through a 2022 lens, to me at least, it seems really problematic.

Unsold magazines end up in landfill. So instead of going all in on that path, we decided to build a network of stockists ourselves and rely on direct to customer and stockist sales. Newsagencies make up about 10 per cent of our distribution and I’ll probably look at phasing that out.

Another legacy issue we have been able to question is advertising. Galah’s advertising makes up only about 10 per cent of overall revenue. Instead we have a high cover price ($30) and we are exploring building a membership model so that our most enthusiastic readers can have a deeper relationship with Galah. I think diversifying revenue streams is key to success in print.

What advice do you have for people who might be interested in launching their own magazine?

Before I decided to press print on issue 01 of Galah, I wanted to mitigate some of the risk by selling pre-orders. If I got enough pre-sales to cover the print and design costs, I would go for it. Thankfully I did. Having an existing audience on social media was extremely valuable in being able to test the market before committing to print and the lots and lots of dollars it requires.

Annabelle Hickson with Ed and Harriet.

Other than building an audience before pressing print, I would also advise anyone starting their own print magazine to not be afraid of going niche and having a distinctive voice.

Longtime editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger says one of the reasons that social media is so spectacularly popular is that people can often find an authenticity there that they feel is lacking in so many areas of corporate, political, commercial, governmental and journalistic communication.

A great advantage of being a small start-up mag is you can do things that the big players can’t: you can build direct relationships with your readers, you can have a distinct voice, you can be responsive and agile and you can be niche.

What is one thing you wished people knew about regional Australia?

I grew up in Sydney with no connection to regional Australia. That all changed when I was working at The Australian’s Brisbane bureau and met a farmer who is now my husband.

But before that, the news about regional Australia that had cut through to me in my urban life was all about disadvantage. Floods, fires, lack of health services, drought.

Having lived in the country now for about 14 years now, there is so much more to a life in the regions than hardship. There is freedom and beauty. There are opportunities galore. There are clever people doing clever things.

I see life out here as a great advantage. There’s so much more to regional Australia than floods and drought.

A reminder

National conference tickets have sold out. Sign up for the waitlist.

Meet the Speakers and Presenters

The must-hear speakers revealed so far.

Sunrise Co-host

Natalie Barr

ABC News Breakfast Co-host

Lisa Millar

CEO

Tangiora Hinaki

Presenter

Narelda Jacobs

Executive Vice President

Beverley McGarvey 

Journalist

Adele Ferguson

Managing Director

Kylie Blucher

Director of Indigenous Content

Tanya Denning-Orman

Editor-in-chief and Publisher

Annabelle Hickson

Owner

Karen Koh

Editor-in-Chief

Lisa Muxworthy

Assistant Professor

Libby Sander

Freelancer

Virginia Taspcott

Non-executive Director

Marina Go

Independent money expert

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon

Journalist

Leigh Sales

General Manager

Naomi Moran

Cambridge University

Dorothy Byrne

Lawyer

Sophie Robertson

Photographic Editor

Karleen Minney

Senior Teaching Fellow

Rob Layton

Strategic Deals Negotiator

Sam Trattles

CEO

Margot Andersen

Fashion Editor

Glynis Traill-Nash

Managing Director

Patricia Powell-Hughes

Senior Reporter

Victoria Laurie

Associate Editor

Emma Macdonald

Founder

Faith Agugu

Professor

Keitha Dunstan

Google News Lab

Uma Patel

Author and Journalist

Christine Jackman

Associate Professor

Peta Stapleton

Media Executive

Anita Jacoby

Anchor

Sandra Sully

Senior Teaching Fellow

Jennifer St George

Relaunch Project

Jude Batrac

Assistant Professor Communication and Media

Michele Clark

Senior Lecturer in Journalism

Kathryn Shine

Meditation and mindfulness guide and teacher

Ann Lund

Women in Media co-chair

Kathy McLeish

Professor

Jeffrey Brand 

Michelle Francis

Sunrise Co-host

Natalie Barr

Natalie Barr is co-host of Australia’s hit breakfast TV show Sunrise. Before being appointed co-host alongside David Koch early last year, she was the Sunrise newsreader for 18 years where she travelled the globe reporting on some of the world’s biggest stories.

Natalie was born and raised in the small West Australian city of Bunbury. After graduating Bunbury Catholic College, she moved to Perth to study journalism at Curtin University. From there she secured a cadetship on the community newspaper The Wanneroo Times for a couple of years before being lured to television and the Golden West Network in Kalgoorlie.

From regional newspaper and television work, Natalie returned to Perth where she worked on breakfast radio for six months and freelanced for the Nine Network.

She then moved to the US where she worked for several years in Los Angeles at stations KABC, KTLA and KCOP. She won a Golden Mic for Best Newscast Writing in 1994 and a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award nomination for her work on KCOP’s coverage of the OJ Simpson car chase.

On returning home to Australia, Natalie started as the Sunrise newsreader in 2003.

During nearly two decades she has covered Australia’s headline stories from fires and floods to heartwarming stories which captured the nation. The role also meant she had a bag packed ready to jump on a plane to report on the world’s biggest news stories from the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the Nice terror attack to the Manchester bombing and the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

She also covered the past couple of US presidential elections live from Washington – with the 2020 trip during the height of the pandemic – and returned to the US this year for the Oscars Red Carpet!

When not at work Natalie, spends her time with her husband and two children.

ABC News Breakfast Co-host

Lisa Millar

Lisa Millar is the co-host of ABC TV’s News Breakfast. She returned to the ABC in Australia after finishing a decade-long posting as bureau chief in both London and Washington DC, covering some of the world’s biggest stories.

She began her career at the Gympie Times in 1988 and has worked in print, TV and radio.

She won a Walkley Award in 2005 for investigative reporting.

CEO

Tangiora Hinaki

Tangiora Hinaki hails from renowned families of the eastern tribes of the North Island – Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou and is a citizen of both Aotearoa (NZ) and Australia.

In the 90s, Tangiora worked as a wool-classer across Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia.

She finally settled down in WA, where she and her husband ran Awesome Shearing Services in Dalwallinu.

In 2005, she and her husband travelled in a bus with six children to explore Australia but only got as far as the Pilbara.

It was here where she found her dream job – “chasing story narratives” across the North West and it all started at Ngaarda Media.

She then went on to work at ABC Pilbara in Karratha for eight years as a content creator and her passion for telling Aboriginal stories of the Dreaming, lead her back to Ngaarda Media, as CEO of the only indigenous media hub in the Pilbara.

Tangiora received a scholarship to attend the Leadership WA Rising program in 2020 which has added to her skillset of overseeing 20 volunteers and six employees.

In 2014, Tangiora’s first documentary that she created with Yindjibarndi women was released and screened on NITV in 2020 and 2021 called ‘Gifts of the Marrga’.

Presenter

Narelda Jacobs

Narelda Jacobs is a Whadjuk Noongar journalist and presenter at Network 10’s Studio 10 and 10 News First Perth. She’s also the co-host of The Point at NITV.

Narelda has been a fixture at Network 10 since 2000, spending 19 years in the Perth newsroom as a reporter and news presenter before heading to Sydney in 2020.

Narelda has shared the stage with prime ministers, international leaders and humanitarian advocates.

She’s passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and is on the board of the Walkley Foundation and Dame Changer

She’s an adviser for Football Australia, an Ambassador of MND Assoc of WA, The Pinnacle Foundation, and WAALI Foundation.

Executive Vice President

Beverley McGarvey 

With more than 25 years’ experience in television internationally and in Australia, Beverley McGarvey was appointed Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President of ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand in March 2020.

Beverley possesses vast experience as an Australian media business and creative leader.

She is responsible for all content and creative activities related to the company’s networks and digital properties in Australia and New Zealand including 10, 10 Peach, 10 Bold, 10 Shake, 10 Play, 10 Speaks, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and streaming service Paramount+.

Beverley started her career in the creative team at UTV in Belfast before working in programming and production at TV3 Ireland and at ITV’s Meridian Television in England.

She later joined TV3 New Zealand, where she was Director of Programming for several years.

Before she was appointed Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President, Beverley had been Chief Content Officer at Network 10 since 2016 and Chief Programming Officer since 2012, after joining the company as Head of Programming in 2006.

Since joining Network 10, Beverley has been responsible for the successful launch of many franchise series, including MasterChef Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox Australia, Australian Survivor, The Masked Singer Australia, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, The Living Room, Ambulance Australia, Hughesy, We Have a Problem, The Project, The Bachelor Australia, The Bachelorette Australia and Bachelor In Paradise.

With a strong and successful catalogue of Australian produced drama, under the direction of Beverley, the network has also launched successful drama series including Offspring, The Wrong Girl, Five Bedrooms, My Life Is Murder and, most recently, The Secrets She Keeps.

Beverley has encouraged and implemented several internal campaigns since taking on the role of EVP.

Beverley was responsible for driving and implementing a gender neutral paid parental leave policy. Both parents are eligible for this leave, including if both parents work at 10 ViacomCBS. She also champions the company’s All Roles Flex policy.

In late 2020, Beverley implemented a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for 10 ViacomCBS. Not only was 10 ViacomCBS the first commercial television network to implement a RAP, but it further cemented its commitment towards reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples

In April 2021, along with co-lead Jarrod Villani, Beverley launched the 10 ViacomCBS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy, which has been shaped by a diverse group of employees across the organisation.

The action plan which celebrates diversity, fosters inclusion and builds belonging also includes making series efforts to push for areas of the industry that are less public, visible and accountable – in particular, in off-screen representation.

Journalist

Adele Ferguson

Adele Ferguson is a multi-award winning senior business writer and columnist for The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review.

She is a regular guest reporter on ABC’s Four Corners ,7.30 and 60 Minutes.

She is the author of the best-selling unauthorised biography on Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in Australia, and Banking Bad: One journalist’s fight for the truth.

She is a strong advocate for improving whistleblower protections and giving vulnerable people a voice.

Her investigations into the banks helped bring about a royal commission into the sector and her investigation into wage fraud resulted in changes to the law and companies to compensate workers. 7 Eleven paid workers more than $150 million in backpay. Her cosmetic cowboys expose into the cosmetic surgery industry triggered a series of inquiries.

Adele started her career in journalism at The Advertiser in Adelaide.

She is chair of the Walkley Foundation and was previously president of the Melbourne Press Club.

Adele has a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Adelaide University.

Her journalism awards include eight Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley, a series of Quill awards including two Gold Quill Awards, a series of Kennedy Awards including two Gold Kennedy Awards, a Logie, National Press Club awards including Journalist of the Year and the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year.

In 2019, Adele was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Managing Director

Kylie Blucher

After more than 25 years working in the television and radio industry, Kylie Blucher has gained extensive knowledge of the Australian media landscape.

Working with both Southern Cross Austereo Radio Network and the Nine Entertainment Company, Kylie has held various sales, marketing, promotions and publicity positions to become a knowledgeable, highly respected and sought-after authority within the media industry.

Prior to Kylie’s tenure with Nine, Blucher moved through the ranks within the Southern Cross Austereo Radio Network, holding executive roles in Brisbane at B105 and in Sydney at 2Day FM and Triple M.

Returning to Brisbane in 1997, Kylie began her career in television at Nine Queensland as the Marketing Director.

She swiftly moved through the programming and marketing ranks, before taking on her current position as Managing Director in 2010.

Six years later, Kylie took the helm of NBN Television in Newcastle and now holds the position of Managing Director.

Kylie has held several board positions over the past 10 years, including Major Brisbane Festival (Deputy Chair), Surf Life Saving Queensland Foundation, the Queensland Eye Institute Foundation, Youngcare, the Queensland Performing Arts Trust and currently sits on the Tourism & Events Queensland Board and is the President of the Committee for Brisbane.

Director of Indigenous Content

Tanya Denning-Orman

Tanya Denning-Orman, a proud Birri and Guugu Yimidhirr woman from Central and North Queensland, has led NITV since it joined SBS in 2012, and more recently became SBS’s first Director of Indigenous Content.

Tanya manages NITV as a channel dedicated to Indigenous voices, overseeing its diverse and innovative multiplatform content.

She also plays an instrumental role in the development and delivery of First Nations storytelling across the SBS network.

With more than 20 years’ experience working in media, Tanya has previously held positions as a journalist and producer for ABC and SBS, and a number of different roles at NITV since its inception in 2007.

As a champion for strong Indigenous media, she also holds a number of industry Board positions including with Media Diversity Australia, First Nations Media Australia, and the World Indigenous Television Broadcast Network.

Editor-in-chief and Publisher

Annabelle Hickson

Annabelle Hickson is Editor-in-Chief and publisher of Galah. She started her writing career as a news reporter for The Australian newspaper in
Sydney and Brisbane before a handsome farmer in a small aircraft lured her out west to a grazing farm which they transformed into Australia’s second largest pecan orchard.

During this time, Annabelle wrote a regular monthly column at Country Style magazine, she co-created a podcast called Dispatch to a Friend that was named as one of iTunes Australia’s Top 10 podcasts for 2018 and published a book called A Tree in the House (Hardie Grant), which has been translated into German, Dutch and Chinese.

Now Galah is her focus. Galah is an award-winning cultural magazine for people who care about regional Australia. Over three issues each year, Galah celebrates regional Australia and the creative, diverse and innovative people who live here.

Annabelle brings together a first-hand understanding of life in both regional Australia and the city, as well as proven expertise in journalism and community-building.

And most of all, Annabelle brings passion to this project to tell diverse and exciting stories from regional Australia.

Owner

Karen Koh

Karen Koh is an international television and radio journalist and presenter. She has worked in TV and radio in Singapore, London and Hong Kong, and is a familiar face and voice to viewers and listeners in Asia.

Her background is in news and current affairs, and she has reported and anchored for BBC World, CNBC Asia, CNN International, Thomson Reuters, WSJ Digital and RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong).

She is the producer and co-host of The Agender Café on RTHK, an award-winning radio show focused on a wide range of issues around gender, sex, sexuality and society.

Karen is also a professional MC, and frequently hosts a variety of events, including The Women’s Foundation HK’s Annual Gala, the Mind HK Mental Health conference, the Asian Financial Forum, the WHO’s Global Vaccine and Immunization Research Forum, and Euronext’s ESG Summit.

She also moderates private events for clients in the financial services, luxury and consulting sectors.

Karen is also employed as a Communications Specialist with New York-based Clarity Media Group, and runs presentation and media training skills courses for a wide range of international corporate clients.

She also coaches TEDx speakers for TEDxTinHauWomen’s annual speaker events.

She is on the board of directors of EngenderHealth, a Washington DC based NGO that works in the field of global women’s and girls sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Karen is also a certified yoga instructor, and standup paddle (SUP) and SUP Yoga instructor. She is married with three sons.

Editor-in-Chief

Lisa Muxworthy

Lisa Muxworthy is the editor-in-chief of Australia’s leading news site news.com.au.

She began her career in community journalism more than 20 years ago. After years of reporting on politics, health and general news,

Ms Muxworthy edited The Southern Courier, The Mosman Daily and The Manly Daily before joining news.com.au as deputy editor in 2012.

She became editor in 2017 and moved into her new role in late 2020.

Assistant Professor

Libby Sander

Dr Libby Sander is Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Bond University, an Agenda Contributor at the World Economic Forum and the founder and director of the Future of Work Project and Rethink.

Libby is regularly featured on radio and in national and international media including for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, ABC, SBS, Channel 7 and 3AW Melbourne commenting on issues on work, the workplace, society and future trends in organisations.

Libby has appeared on Al Jazeera World News, Sunrise on Channel 7, ABC TV’s science program Catalyst, ABC TV’s The Drum and ABC news featuring her research. She has also spoken at TEDx .

She is a feature writer for The Conversation and her articles have had more than 2.1 million readers. Libby’s articles have been published in the Harvard Business Review, Newsweek, Fast Company, The Guardian, the BBC, the ABC, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and on SBS.

Freelancer

Virginia Taspcott

Virginia Tapscott is a freelance journalist based in regional NSW. She writes for a number of national platforms including The Australian and has recently produced a podcast, My Sisters Secrets, which has a million downloads.

Virginia started her career in Mount Isa as a reporter for the ABC and later worked at an independently owned rural newspaper.

In 2019, she was named the Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalist of the Year.

Non-executive Director

Marina Go

Marina Go is Chair of Adore Beauty and Netball Australia and a non-executive director on the boards of Energy Australia, 7-Eleven, Autosports Group and Transurban.

She is a member of UNSW’s Business Advisory Council and ANU’s Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership (CAAL) Advisory Board, and author of the business book for women, Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders.

Marina is a co-founder of Tonic, a website that gives a voice to women over 45, and Women’s Agenda, a website about female leadership.

Boss magazine named Marina as one of the 20 True Leaders of 2016.

Marina has over 30 years of leadership experience in the media industry, having started her career as a journalist. Marina’s media executive roles included Private Media CEO and Country CEO of Hearst Australia. Marina is also a former Chair of the Wests Tigers NRL Club, Super Netball Commission, The Walkley Foundation and Ovarian Cancer Australia and was the inaugural Chair of the UTS Centre for Media Transition Advisory Board.

She is a member of O’Connell Street Associates, CEW and the AICD and is a mother of two adult sons. She has been actively progressing equitable outcomes for women and culturally diverse Australians in her working life and as a volunteer for more than three decades.

Independent money expert

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a long-time money commentator and educator across newspapers, online and on radio and television, and in high schools around Australia.

She is also the author of the best-selling new book, How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, in which real Aussies reveal how they’ve accomplished the real Australian dream faster, smarter and cheaper.

Nicole was formerly editor then editor-at-large of The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine and her money insights have now appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald/Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age newspapers, and on all related websites, for more than 15 years.

She has won the awards for best personal finance and investment journalist in Australia and the United Kingdom, respectively, and – usually – travels the country giving speeches and emceeing events, including on multiple occasions at Canberra’s Parliament House.

In the crazy coronavirus times alongside plenty of TV appearances and Zoom presentations, Nicole dedicated herself to giving free social media updates on the financial help available, which were shared and viewed by more than half a million people.

She also went public with her recent breast cancer fight and victory, to try and help other women get diagnosed early.

Journalist

Leigh Sales

From 2011-2022, Leigh Sales AM anchored the ABC’s nightly current affairs program 7.30. She has extensive experience in journalism, including as a foreign correspondent and author of four books.

She has innumerable awards, including three Walkleys and an Order of Australia for services to broadcast journalism.

General Manager

Naomi Moran

Naomi Moran is a Nyangbal, Arakwal and Dunghutti woman from New South Wales, and is the General Manager of Australia’s only independent Indigenous newspaper, the Koori Mail.

Her career in Indigenous media spans over 20 years, and includes experience in print, television and radio.

At just fourteen years old, Naomi joined the Koori Mail as a trainee office worker, which resulted in a 10-year journey working for the paper in various roles and departments throughout the business including advertising, sales, marketing and editorial.

In 2008 she pursued her career goals in Indigenous Media, joining the communications team at NITV, Australia’s only Indigenous TV station, and then went on to explore working in radio with a joint position with both the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association and the National Indigenous Radio Service, in Brisbane.

In April 2016, Naomi returned to the Koori Mail, with the Koori Mail Board of Directors appointing her as General Manager.

Naomi is passionate about supporting Indigenous youth with employment and career pathways, by developing and delivering in-school programs and mentoring for students throughout the northern NSW region.

She has recently led a community response to the recovery and relief efforts of the Lismore community during the devastating floods throughout the region.

Cambridge University

Dorothy Byrne

Dorothy Byrne became the sixth President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge in September 2021.

Prior to joining the College, she was Editor at Large at Channel 4, a role that was specially created for her after she stepped down as Head of News and Current Affairs after 15 years.

During her time at Channel 4, she was responsible for news and current affairs programs that have had a national and global impact, winning her numerous international awards.

Lawyer

Sophie Robertson

Sophie Robertson is an experienced media lawyer and litigator. She provides advice to some of Australia’s largest media organisations and regularly acts for freelancers, publishers, authors, insurers and individuals.

She is a board member of Women In Media Australia Limited. 

Photographic Editor

Karleen Minney

Karleen Minney has been a news photographer for more than 20 years, working in Tasmania before moving to The Canberra Times where she was appointed Photographic Editor.

She has won a number of industry awards – the Joseph Coulter Media Awards, photographic (2002), the Tasmanian MEAA Photographer of the Year award (2006), a Walkley awards photographic finalist (2006), and an OPSO award, Best Photo Spread (2015).

With a passion for sport, Karleen is a gym-junkie, mud-runner and recently climbed to Everest Base Camp – she has been an Australian Sports commission photographic finalist in both 2016 and 2017.

She was a World Shorthand Storytelling Awards finalist in 2017 for the most compelling photo spread.

Senior Teaching Fellow

Rob Layton

Rob Layton is a career journalist-turned-educator who specialises in mobile journalism at Bond University, where he is also undertaking a PhD in mojo via a video documentary on Gold Coast surf culture.

He trains journalists and content creators around the world on how to use their phones professionally, which has led him to work with Apple, Google, Al Jazeera, News Corp, and others.

Strategic Deals Negotiator

Sam Trattles

As our Founder and Strategic Deals Negotiator, Sam Trattles’ mission is to help more people learn to love negotiating by changing how we approach it – seeking what’s fair and reasonable (not by winning or losing).

Prior to starting Other Side, Sam enjoyed a corporate marketing career, specialising in sponsorships, for close to two decades across Australia and the UK.

She held senior leadership roles for brands including Telstra and PricewaterhouseCoopers and has negotiated and leveraged over $500 million worth of deals. As a result, she’s one of the most skilled commercial negotiators in Australia.

Sam’s negotiator style is strategic, inclusive, and pragmatic. She likes to challenge the status quo through curiosity, listening with intent and being a straight shooter. Her thought leadership is practical and accessible so people, all around the world, can confidently negotiate their worth.

CEO

Margot Andersen

Margot Andersen is the Director of talentinsight Australia, a career management and leadership consultancy that specialises in the optimisation of careers, performance and workforce planning solutions; and the founder of Insync Network Group, a membership community for Australian expats who are navigating the return ‘home’ to Australia.

In both businesses, she helps people to confidently and successfully manage transition: be it leading businesses and people through change; managing the transition to management or leadership; navigating a new job or career path; or relocating lives and careers around the world.

Margot is also the host of the highly successful Boomeranging, a podcast that shares the stories of returned Aussie expats and explores the question – What could be so hard about returning home after years living overseas?

Margot works with businesses and individuals as an adviser, trainer and executive coach.

Fashion Editor

Glynis Traill-Nash

Glynis Traill-Nash is the fashion editor of The Australian and one of the country’s most highly regarded fashion writers and commentators.

She has previously held fashion editor roles at The Sunday Telegraph, The Sun Herald and In Style.

Her engaging, informative – and opinionated – writing has also appeared in titles including Vogue Australia, Vogue Business, Vogue China, The Sydney Morning Herald and Harper’s Bazaar.

She has long led a double life as a jazz singer, performing in clubs, venues and events in Sydney and Perth.

While living in London, she performed at Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza on the Park, and took her one-woman show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

She also sang at Val Doonican’s 70th birthday party, which possibly pleased her parents more than any other achievements.

Managing Director

Patricia Powell-Hughes

Patricia Powell-Hughes is a unique industry player with insights and influence – for more than 20 years she has developed an extensive understanding of the executive and talent search industry and a far-reaching, global network.

Her deep market insight and razor-sharp business acumen combine to consistently deliver strategic opportunities and innovative solutions for key players both in Australia and internationally.

With her commercially focused market approach and entrepreneurial spirit, Patricia is a powerful and influential driving force, forming lasting relationships with EP Australia’s clients and advising top companies on how to attract and retain key talent and prepare for growth.

She has an innate understanding of the human capital sector, leading the EP Australia team in providing access to a superior network of high-performing executive and c- suite talent.

Patricia is a passionate advocate for increasing and improving indigenous representation in the media sector, joining Media RING in 2009 and, since 2015, serving as the inaugural vice chair.

Patricia continues to mentor women in the Australian film & TV industry and is a strong believer in gender equality and diversity in the sector and wider Australia.

In 2020, Patricia joined the Board of SPRUNG!! Integrated Dance Theatre, a non-for-profit and community-based organisation providing workshops and specialised dance and theatre training for people with disability.

Senior Reporter

Victoria Laurie

Victoria Laurie is a senior reporter and feature writer for The Australian newspaper.

She worked in current affairs for ABC TV and radio and freelanced for The Bulletin, The Monthly, HQ, Australian Geographic and The Weekend Australian Magazine.

She has been a three-time Walkley feature writing finalist.

Victoria is national co-patron of Women in Media with Caroline Jones AO.

She is the author of natural history books The Kimberley: Australia’s Last Great Wilderness and The Southwest: Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspot (UWAP).

Associate Editor

Emma Macdonald

After 23 years as a newspaper journalist, Emma Macdonald OAM moved to the online media platform HerCanberra in 2016 where she is Associate Editor. Emma began her journalistic career with the Australian Financial Review before moving to The Canberra Times where she spent 13 years covering federal politics from the Press Gallery, rising to become bureau chief.

Emma has won numerous awards for her work – these include two Walkley Awards (1993, 2003) and selection as a national Walkley finalist (2001).

She was awarded the John Douglas British Prize for Journalism in 1998, and in 2002 was awarded a Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Fellowship.

She was highly commended for her political journalism through the Paul Lyneham Press Gallery Journalism Award in 2002 and was recognised as a University of Canberra Distinguished Alumni in 2011.

She has been published widely, from The Times (UK) to the Business Standard (India), to Cosmopolitan Magazine.

She is dedicated to promoting women in media – becoming convenor of Women in Media Canberra in 2015. In this role, Emma hosts regular live broadcast National Press Club addresses and founded the Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalists Award which is now in its sixth year.

Emma has also been a Walkley Award judge across various categories and has mentored a series of journalists throughout her career.

A mother of two, Emma co-founded the maternal health charity Send Hope Not Flowers in 2010, shortly after the birth of her now 12-year-old daughter.

In 2016, she won an ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for Send Hope’s work which has raised more than $1 million for safe birth programs and maternal health training across nine developing countries.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2022, Emma was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and women.

Founder

Faith Agugu

After migrating from her native Nigeria and attending school in London, Faith Agugu was attracted to a life of service in her youth.

Her first job after leaving school was working as a volunteer in a not-for-profit organisation in London, working with children from troubled backgrounds.

Her love of creativity and fashion inspired her to spend the next three decades in the fashion industry, working as a catwalk model then launching her own business, Raw Fashion Agency in her new home country, Australia, nurturing and representing local fashion designers.

Faith discovered her love of education in her teaching role at FBI Fashion College in 2006.

Approaching her 50th birthday, Faith heeded the siren call to return to her early roots and help others.

The perfect poster girl for midlife reinvention, Faith obtained her Bachelor Degree in Social Science, majoring in counselling and psychotherapy.

She currently does healing work with her female clients at her private practice, The Healing Process, to tackle the challenges of menopause and midlife.

In 2018, Faith launched Silver Sirens, Redefining Ageing, creating an age-positive community to challenge the negative narrative that surrounds women and ageing.

Professor

Keitha Dunstan

Professor Keitha Dunstan is a proud descendant of the Mandandanji people of south-west Queensland.

As Bond University Provost, Professor Dunstan oversees the implementation of the research, learning and teaching strategies of the University.

Her role also encompasses the Bond University College preparation and pathway programs.

She has been Chair of the Bond University Women’s Network since 2014 and was the Chair of Academic Senate 2012 – 2016.

Her first appointment at Bond was as Head of the School of Business in 2009.

Keitha is the Chair of the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal, the Chair of the Board of Advice of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation, and a Non-Executive Director of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority.

Google News Lab

Uma Patel

Uma Patel is the Google News Lab Lead for Australia and New Zealand.

She is responsible for working alongside academics, newsrooms, nonprofits and community groups around Australia and New Zealand to tackle misinformation, grow diversity within the industry and support digital transformation for journalists.

Author and Journalist

Christine Jackman

Christine Jackman is an author, journalist and communications consultant. Her love of a good yarn has taken her from a newspaper cadetship in Brisbane to a posting as a foreign correspondent in New York, and to the Federal Press Gallery.

She is a Walkley finalist and has won a number of journalism awards, including a Quill, for her feature writing.

Her work has been published in The Australian/Weekend Australian Magazine, Good Weekend (Sydney Morning Herald/The Age), Vogue and the Australian Women’s Weekly.

In her consultancy work, Christine offers strategic counsel and communications expertise drawn from her experience covering news in high-pressure environments.

She is now as familiar with the boardroom as she was with the newsroom, and has advised a wide range of political and business leaders.

Her first book, Inside Kevin07, documented the 2007 federal election campaign and victory by the Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd.

More recently, Christine has been struck by how external noise and digital distractions can erode our wellbeing, undermining our capacity for creative or innovative work.

Her latest book, Turning Down the Noise, explores that modern phenomenon.

A passionate advocate for the arts, she currently serves on the board of the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Christine lives in Brisbane with her two teenage sons, her partner Peter, their Labrador and a disgruntled cat.

Her life is very rarely quiet.

Associate Professor

Peta Stapleton

Dr Peta Stapleton is a registered clinical/health Psychologist and Associate Professor at Bond University (Australia) who embraces evidence-based and innovative techniques.

Peta is a world-leading researcher in Emotional Freedom Techniques (‘Tapping’) and led a world-first study investigating brain changes after EFT.

She was awarded the Harvey Baker Research Award for meticulous research (Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology), and was named 2019 Psychologist of the Year (Australian Allied Health Awards).

Peta has authored The Science Behind Tapping: A Proven Stress Management Technique for the Mind and Body (Hay House), which won Best Self-Help Book (2019 Best Book Awards, American Book Fest).

Media Executive

Anita Jacoby

Anita Jacoby, AM, is one of Australia’s most experienced media executives with a career spanning more than 30 years in the broadcast industry. An award-winning TV, film and current affairs producer, she has created and produced hundreds of hours of content for many of Australia’s most successful programs.

Jacoby is currently an Associate Member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Appointed by the Minister for Communications in 2013, her term has recently been extended to 2023. From 2013-2015 she was Managing Director of ITV Studios Australia, responsible for the Australian operations of this worldwide production company.

Prior to ITV, Jacoby managed one of the most successful independent production companies, Zapruder’s other films, alongside Andrew Denton. Zapruder’s produced many successful original programs including Enough Rope, The Gruen Transfer, Hungry Beast and Elders.

She has worked in senior production roles for all Australia’s commercial networks as well as the ABC, SBS and Foxtel, on programs such as 60 Minutes, Witness, Sunday, Laws and Today Show.

Her work has seen her awarded five AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards, an AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema & TV Arts) Award, an Order of Australia Media Award, Logie, Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union Award and numerous other professional awards.

Jacoby is a strong advocate for women in media and leadership. She is a member of Chief Executive Women and the Australian Institute of Company Director’s; a non-executive director of Women in Media and Documentary Australia Foundation; a member of Screen Producer’s Australia and an Ambassador/Advisory Board member for 1 Million Women. She is also a director of the Australian Film Institute/AACTA, The Funding Network and an Ambassador and Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme’s 60th Anniversary Committee.

Previously, she was a Director of headspace (National Youth Mental Health Foundation) from 2013-2016 and Arts Law Centre Australia, 2013-2016.

Jacoby mentors many women and men in the media industry. She also supports a number of NFP’s including the Walkley Foundation (established the annual Jacoby Walkley Scholarship in 2013 for young broadcast journalists), Alzheimer’s Australia and Belvoir Theatre.

In 2019 she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia.

Anchor

Sandra Sully

Sandra Sully is one of the most recognised and respected faces on Australian television.

A journalist, senior editor and presenter with Ten Eyewitness News First at Five, she has been part of the TEN News team since 1990.

Sandra celebrated her 25th anniversary at the network in 2015.

She is also a highly sought-after MC for events and conferences.

Senior Teaching Fellow

Jennifer St George

Jennifer St George is a multi-award winning professional with 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations, social media and management consulting across a broad range of corporate, government, not-for-profit and consulting organisations.

She worked in senior positions at Ford Australia, McKinsey & Co, Brisbane City Council (ourbrisbane.com), RedChilli Marketing, Guinness Brewing Worldwide (London) and Burson-Marsteller (London).

Internationally, Jennifer developed and implemented strategies for Sainsbury’s, Portuguese National Tourist Office, Expo’92, Caterpillar Fork Lift Trucks, Guinness Brewing Worldwide, Walls Ice-cream, Scott Paper and more.

She has experience with internet start-ups including winning a PRIA QLD Golden Target Award for an online retail campaign.

Her extensive work with not-for-profit organisations include Chair of Byron Writers Festival where she led the organisation to be a finalist in the 2017 NSW Tourism Awards.

Jennifer is the author of seven novels published with Penguin Books and managed her own marketing and social media to become an Amazon, iBooks and Google Play best-selling author.

Jennifer also taught at Griffith University and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

She completed an MBA at the Melbourne Business School and Duke University (USA) and was awarded the MBA Award of Distinction and the Rupert Murdoch Fellowship.

In 2020, Jennifer was awarded the Bond University Faculty of Society and Design Faculty Early Career Teaching Excellence Commendation.

Relaunch Project

Jude Batrac

Jude Batrac’s career in marketing and sales spans three countries, a diverse set of sectors and is defined by her obsession with understanding audiences.

Jude is a people connector, storyteller and an advocate for gender equality.

She is a fully accredited Executive Coach and founder of the networking initiative Table of Thought, designed to help women drive their careers and helps drive the agenda for Coca-Cola’s Gender Balance Inclusion Network.

Jude holds a BA in Communications, a Mini MBA in Marketing and the proud title of mother to her two-year-old daughter Quinn.

Assistant Professor Communication and Media

Michele Clark

Michele Clark joined Bond University to pursue an academic career with extensive professional expertise in public relations, underpinned by more than 25 years working in strategic communication and management.

Michele’s experience in diverse storytelling across multi-platforms plays a major role in all her work. 

She has had a parallel volunteer career providing extensive communication professional advice and expertise including securing significant grant funding for not-for-profit organisations.

Michele’s teaching, professional, and community service have been acknowledged through many awards including: Australian, university, and student awards for teaching excellence and outstanding contribution to student learning, academic excellence, and volunteer contributions to community organisations.

Michele also taught at Griffith University where she completed her Master of Arts by Research with academic excellence.

Her PhD research is in pro bono public relations at the University of Queensland.

Senior Lecturer in Journalism

Kathryn Shine

Dr Kathryn Shine is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Curtin University, where she has worked since 2005. Dr Shine’s recent research has focused on the inclusion and portrayal of women in the news.

She is currently collaborating with the ABC on a project to support and encourage more women to provide media commentary.

Dr Shine has previously worked at news outlets including The Sunday Times Magazine (STM), The Sun Herald and The Australian, and she continues to work as a freelance journalist and moderator.

She teaches news and feature writing and edits the Curtin Journalism news site, Western Independent.

Dr Shine is regularly interviewed by the news media and received the Most Prolific Media Commentator award for Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities in 2020.

Meditation and mindfulness guide and teacher

Ann Lund

2021 was a big year for me. I was very honoured to receive the Clarion Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.

But after more than three decades in journalism and journalism education, I decided it was time for a change and started to focus my attention on something else I am passionate about – meditation and mindfulness.

I’m now a fully qualified meditation and mindfulness guide and teacher and loving this new role, still teaching and mentoring, but in a very different direction.

I know from personal experience how high pressured and stressful it can be working in a newsroom or news environment.

But how often as journalists do we get the chance to stop and actually ask ourselves: how am I doing?

When I talk to people (especially journalists) about this, there’s usually interest but then there’s the ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’m too mind-full, rather than mindful’.

One of my aims is to try to bring more meditation and mindfulness into this arena – whether that’s through journalism schools, directly in the workplace, one-on-one or via groups and clubs where journalists meet.

Women in Media co-chair

Kathy McLeish

Kathy McLeish has reported and produced widely across ABC programs including 7.30 Qld, 7.30, Landline and Australian Story.

She has won significant awards for her work which includes an investigative series that sparked a $60m overhaul of youth mental health services.

She’s currently working with the ABC’s top-rating television program Back Roads.

She’s also a trustee of the MEAA Media Safety and Solidarity Fund.

Professor

Jeffrey Brand 

Professor Jeffrey Brand has developed a distinguished career as “Australia’s leading researcher of interactive games” for his biennial 18-year-long panel studies entitled Digital Australia and Digital New Zealand on video game audiences.

The impact of this research includes the modernisation of The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 in 2013.

He has also been awarded a National Excellence in Teaching Citation from the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching for developing a Virtual Learning Environment.

An entrepreneurial academic and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he is the recipient of the South Australian Premier’s Award for Technology Innovation in Ageing for the design of a research-based digitally-driven positive ageing tool.

He is co-author of a 2001 book based on watershed research for the then-Australian Broadcasting Authority entitled, Sources of News and Current Affairs.

He trained at Grand Valley State University, The University of Michigan, and Michigan State University.

Michelle Francis

Michelle Francis is the lead of the Relaunch Project – a Women in Media and Google News Initiative program to support women seeking to return to the media workforce.

She is an experienced digital native with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry.

She is skilled in digital strategy, advertising, integrated marketing, digital marketing, team management and media buying.

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