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Roberta Wright: The day my life turned upside down

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Release Date: 09/27/2021

Claire Braund in conversation with Lisa Carlin - Transformational change and the importance of community show art Claire Braund in conversation with Lisa Carlin - Transformational change and the importance of community

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Growing up in South Africa Lisa Carlin experienced apartheid in its truest form.  “I just felt this complete sense of unfairness of it all, and that's really carried with me today” she says.  Through this she has become extremely passionate about transformation to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Lisa is the cofounder and CEO of global advisory FutureBuilders Group and author of . Her portfolio includes mentoring founders and CEOs in the HRTech, EdTech and workplace talent sector, she is on the Advisory board for Rebelliuz and Chair of the University of Cape Town...

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Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Is there less of a tolerance for failure for women at the top than there is for men? In the wake of former Optus CEO’s Kelly Bayer Rosmarin’s resignation from the telco following a nationwide outage that took down phone and internet services for 14 hours, Women on Boards Executive Director Claire Braund spoke with ABC Canberra Radio’s  about the blame culture around CEOs following a crisis and asks, do we treat our male and female CEOs differently? >> Read more (including transcript)  >> Listen to the full segement on ABC radio  . All rights ABC Radio...

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Claire Braund in conversation with Tom Elliot on 3AW show art Claire Braund in conversation with Tom Elliot on 3AW

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Claire Braund spoke to 3AW Drive Host, Tom Elliot on 23 Sept 2023 about a decision by HESTA that they will vote against select director re-elections of ASX300 companies where the board has less than 30 per cent of female representation. Claire says HESTA and other investment firms are taking a stance on “merit”, “We like to think of merit as something objective … but it’s actually defined by culture, values and expectations … which means only some parts of merit are to do with how hard one works,” she told Tom Elliott. Read HESTA's four key expectations for ASX300 companies in...

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Claire Braund in conversation with Dr Amber Tan show art Claire Braund in conversation with Dr Amber Tan

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

You may well think Dr Amber Tan has the world at her feet and job offers flowing in. A former Malaysian national who was born and raised in Ipoh (the gateway to the Cameron Highlands hill station), Amber migrated to Melbourne in 2011 with her partner and received an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship in 2013 to complete her PhD at Monash University. A feat she accomplished in 2017 with no amendments.  Her thesis critically examined national security and public order laws in Malaysia and their impact on constitutionalism and the rule of law and Amber has also conducted extensive...

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Claire Braund in conversation with Dr Monique Beedles show art Claire Braund in conversation with Dr Monique Beedles

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Dr Monique Beedles was not your average teenager. At 15, as well as having posters of Murph Hughes and the Adelaide Oval on her bedroom wall, it was her dream to be CEO of Swiss multinational healthcare company Roche. To this end, she went on to study German and chemistry at school. “I was always interested in medical research from a very young age. But I didn’t know back then that to be the CEO of Roche, your name has to be Roche,” she tells Claire in this podcast. Undeterred, Monique went on to study pharmacy and gained her first board role with the Australasian College of Pharmacy....

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Connection Content: Rethinking Your LinkedIn Strategy with Karen Tisdell show art Connection Content: Rethinking Your LinkedIn Strategy with Karen Tisdell

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

When it comes to getting the most out of your LinkedIn page, content is great but it’s no match for connection. That’s the message from LinkedIn expert Karen Tisdell, who talks to Claire Braund about how LinkedIn has changed over the years and the importance of content AND connection when it comes to directors putting themselves out there”.  As she says, “if you have a really great profile and you’re putting out content but you haven’t made the effort to connect with people to build your network, then you’re just shouting into the wind”. With a long background in the...

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Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Bosnian-born Gorana Saula speaks three languages, has three passports, four drivers’ licenses and loves to travel. And with her passion for gadgets and all things tech it’s no wonder friends of the former CEO and electronics engineer call her James Bond.  The Non Executive Director has had a wide range of executive leadership roles in defense, telecommunications, and electronics manufacturing. Attending university in Croatia she holds two master's degrees in electronics and business and is known as a woman who loves innovation - her first job out of uni was leading a project to...

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Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Dr Catherine Ordway is an academic in sports management, and a sports lawyer, who specialises in anti corruption and integrity.She's a sought after tribunal member, media commentator and consultant who's assisted sports including AFL, archery athletics, basketball, combat sports cricket, cycling, football, golf, handball, rowing, rugby, softball, swimming, and triathlon in governance, selection and anti-doping and code of conduct disputes.What is less well known is that Catherine played a central role in the establishment of Women on Boards shortly after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In this...

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Fostering culturally diverse leadership - with Karen Loon show art Fostering culturally diverse leadership - with Karen Loon

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Karen Loon is a Non-Executive Director, and a former senior Big 4 partner. She has worked with the world’s leading banks and is a recognised thought leader and speaker on workplace diversity and inclusion - inspired partly by her own experiences in Australia. “What really struck me was that I was sitting in boardrooms or sitting in meetings, where there was pretty much I was the only Asian in the room, let alone an Asian Australian woman in the room,” Karen tells Claire in this episode. She was formerly PwC’s Singapore and Asia-Pacific Diversity Leader and a member of its award-winning...

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Managing a portfolio career and leading the charge in Adelaide - with Wendy Teasdale Smith show art Managing a portfolio career and leading the charge in Adelaide - with Wendy Teasdale Smith

Women on Boards - Leaders and Directors in Conversation

Wendy Teasdale Smith is a woman full of surprises. As well as being the owner of possibly one of the largest collections of hairclips for anyone over 40, WOB’s quirky and energetic South Australian representative also recently won a Toastmasters humorous speaking award with her speech on having an RBF (resting bitch face), which she presented over Zoom during COVID. Born and brought up in Elizabeth, South Australia (the inspiration for Jimmy Barnes’ song Working Class Man) she is also in a book called Elizabeth Champions celebrating people from the region. As she tells Claire in this...

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More Episodes

Resilient and tenacious - no two words could better describe long-term Women on Boards member Roberta Wright.

Despite being left totally blind after an operation to remove a brain tumour then having to fight for the right to keep her adopted baby - on the back of losing her brother to a drug overdose and father to cancer - Roberta is always looking to the future.

As she tells Claire in this podcast, there are always problems but it is about finding solutions.

Born in Queensland “with a passport in one hand and a globe in the other” Roberta’s yearning for travel and adventure saw her graduate from Queensland Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Business in Hospitality Management before jetting off to the UK on a working holiday visa. 

Returning home when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer, Roberta went into computer programming, before returning to the UK for 13 years.

It was while living in London, working for a drug and alcohol support service and caring for her newly-adopted eight-month old baby that Roberta’s life turned upside down. 

Ten weeks after Sophie was placed with Roberta she noticed problems with her sight. Doctors discovered a meningioma tumour, so Roberta underwent an operation to remove it. 

She describes the terrifying moment waking up in hospital and realising she couldn’t see. “I came out to nothing.”

Little did she realise things were about to get much worse. A week after being discharged from hospital, Roberta was told her adopted baby was to be taken out of her care. What followed was a drawn-out legal battle which ended in the High Court, with the judge finding in Roberta’s favour. 

Now living back in Brisbane with her daughter, Roberta is an active WOB member and is looking for her first board role. In this podcast she talks to Claire about overcoming adversity, learning to adjust  - “losing your sight doesn’t make your hearing better, you just have to make better use of your hearing” - and the challenges of raising a child as a blind parent. 

LinkedIn: Roberta Wright | Claire Braund (host)

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