A Letter To The Women I’ve Learned From: It’s Forbes’ Sarah O’Carroll

A Letter To The Women I’ve Learned From: It’s Forbes’ Sarah O’Carroll
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We’re very proud that B&T’s Women in Media Awards presented by Are Media are on for the 7th consecutive year. The awards gala is on Friday 19th August so get your tickets!

It’s a program that continues to recognise the exceptional women achieving outstanding success in their fields, and the invaluable contribution they are making to the industry with their leadership, innovation and courage.

If you haven’t already, go check out the shortlist for this year’s Women in Media Awards! A huge congratulations to everyone who made the list.

And now for something special. This year, we’re celebrating the awards with some exceptional women in a mini-series entitled: Letter to the Women I’ve Learned From. 

It’s about… well, exactly what you think it is!

Today we’re very lucky to have Sarah O’Carroll, Editor in Chief at Forbes Australia. Thank you, Sarah…

From a young age, connecting people seemed to be not only something that came naturally to me, but was important to me.

I’ve always been a very curious person. Curious about people’s interests, curious about national and global business and economics, and curious about how the big picture impacts everyday people. 

As a journalist, I loved learning as much as I could about these issues and then sharing it to keep people informed and up to date, and in some way make their lives better.

But long before I was sharing stories with the world as a journalist I was sharing them with my family. 

While my career has been shaped by many brilliant people, I was fortunate to be brought up among women who valued critical analysis and debate: women who scrutinised what was happening in the world through lively discussions around the kitchen table.

Those values of questioning and analysing flow through to my life and work ethic today.

This letter is dedicated to three women whose influence laid the foundation for my whole career; my mother and my two aunties.

So thank you mammy, Anne and Mags for teaching me that:

1. You can do anything you want in life, once you put your mind to it

It’s something that I heard from a very young age from my mother, and I still hear from her today. I draw on that advice often, especially when any self-doubt creeps in. 

But it’s a two part piece: you can do anything you want in life, but you have to put your mind to it. 

I remember spending much of my spare time growing up doing puzzles, and I truly believe it prepared me for those times in any career when you run into a problem and think there’s no solution. 

I now know, if you put your mind to it, no matter how difficult it is – just when you might think it’s hopeless, you will eventually have a little breakthrough that leads to a solution.

So when my mother tells me she admires my determination, I remind her that it was her who shaped my fundamental belief systems.

2. A love of words

My two aunties inspired my love of the English language, of words and expressing yourself, and telling stories. My auntie Anne in particular put an emphasis on the power of speech and words. I’d watch her eloquently debate and discuss global issues.

It was Anne who, when I was around 11 years old, sat me down with a dictionary, and said just learn one word, every day. That day I learned two: adroit and ablutions. (Wish I kept that little game up!)

3. To have a laugh

My auntie Mags (Maggie) is the CEO of The Women’s Ogranisation, a visiting professor at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde and one of the most influential leaders in social enterprise in the UK. I’ve watched Mags stand in front of rooms full of high-powered CEOs, bankers, academics, and she disarms them completely by making them laugh. 

I believe one of the reasons she’s so successful is because she knows that no matter who we are, we all appreciate having a bit of humour injected into life. I’ve tried to replicate that throughout my career, and hopefully have not done too bad a job.

4. Above all, be kind

My mam and aunties taught me that the most important thing in life is being kind and having respect. I don’t think my mother has ever actually said the words be kind to me. But she demonstrates it with a genuine respect for people, and old-fashioned politeness every day that goes much further than people think. 

It has taught me that empathy and respect is something women can bring to the world of business and media. It is why I have never bought into ruthlessness being a necessary trait of a successful person. And it is why as a journalist I’ve always wanted to bring a bit of joy to people’s lives, to share information that is helpful and empowering, rather than scaremongering or scandal. 

If you look through the news it’s often the same stories day in and day out. There was one point in time where you would’ve thought there was nothing happening in the world bar Trump and COVID. But there are so many dynamic conversations that are happening in the world driven by people who want to solve global problems by inventing, innovating and debating. 

I go back to my love of finding all that out, and then sharing that with people. It’s why my role at Forbes Australia feels like the perfect fit, because we’re devoted to the human-side of business and tapping into the deep well of stories of innovation and leadership in business.

And again, I get to inform and connect people. And for that I’m so thankful.

We might not have solved world issues sitting around that kitchen table, but it set a young girl off on her career with a set of unshakeable values and ethics.

Thanks to the women I’ve learned from.

Sarah

This year’s Women in Media Awards  will be held on Friday 19 August 2022 at The Venue, Alexandria. Grab your tickets to the event HERE!

A quick reminder that voting is still open for the People’s Choice category, but only until 5 pm (AEST) on Thursday, 4th of August. Click HERE to have your say!

If you’d like more information about this year’s Women in Media Awards, head to the website.

Finally, a huge thank you to Are Media and the rest of our incredible sponsors for making this event possible.

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