Women In Media: Wavemaker’s Philippa Noilea-Tani Reveals What It Means To Be Truly Courageous

Women In Media: Wavemaker’s Philippa Noilea-Tani Reveals What It Means To Be Truly Courageous

What does it mean to be courageous? To Wavemaker’s national head of investment, it means not being afraid to show vulnerability, and having the confidence to speak your mind.

During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Are Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional women who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable contribution to their industry through leadership, innovation and courage.

One of these exceptionally courageous professionals—and a 2019 Women in Media Awards winner—is Philippa Noilea-Tani, who told us why our industry needs to stand-tall, and shared the touching moment she was most courageous.

B&T: Philippa, what is the difference between being ‘brave’ and being ‘courageous’?

I initially thought this was a trick question and was going to say I thought they were the same. I think the only difference between bravery and courage links to perception.

A couple of years ago, I was given the opportunity to attend Walk the Talk, a WPP programme designed to unlock diversity and leadership potential.

In one of the sessions, my colleagues were asked to share feedback with me: what qualities of mine they appreciated; what qualities they wanted to see more of from me.

They then helped me choose a celebrity I could identify with – someone who radiated the qualities I was being encouraged to foster. I ended up with an Alicia Keys name tag on for the rest of the day.

For Alicia, it began with a photo shoot. Usually, getting in front of the camera calls for a lot of makeup, however, when she was shooting for her new album, she opted for a makeup free look.

She revealed later that it was “the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful” that she had ever felt.

She was inspired to stay make-up free from then on, presenting her raw and true self.

She showed vulnerability and this is what my colleagues hoped to see more of from me. Their perception had been that I was a brave woman, no fears, nothing that held me back.

But the reality was, I had been wearing a mask. Not comfortable to let my team know when I was overwhelmed. Always calm, cool and collected on the surface, but paddling a million miles an hour underneath, without the courage to take off the mask and acknowledge I wasn’t always coping.

I was trying to come across as brave. No fear. It was working. This was the perception others had of me.

What I learnt, was that showing courage and acknowledging my fears, took a whole lot more guts.

When in your career have you been most courageous?

Last year, Wavemaker, together with plenty of support and generosity from our media partners, hosted a morning tea and silent auction to raise awareness and money for Lifeline, an incredible charity helping combat the tormenting symptoms of mental illness.

I stood alongside two of my team members and we spoke to an auditorium full of colleagues about how mental illness had changed our lives.

It had been 15 years since I lost my Dad to depression.

Opening up about my Dad’s suicide, how it shaped my life and the importance of looking out for one another, was empowering and a message I know is important, but getting up there and being so open about something so personally heart wrenching was scary and hard.

Why should women in Australia’s media, marketing and advertising industries be courageous?

To be courageous all the time isn’t easy, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, regardless of whether you are a woman or not.

However, to have the confidence and courage to speak your mind and stand up for what you believe is right, when you need to, is an important trait, particularly when we work in such an influential industry.

This year’s theme for ‘Women in Media’ is courage and bravery.  What would an awards focused on this theme look like to you and what kind of person do you visualise up on that stage, receiving an award? What should that person represent?

It should be an uplifting and inspiring celebration of strength. I certainly don’t have a picture in my mind of the right person for that stage.

Bravery and courage comes in so many forms and doesn’t fit neatly inside a defined box. I hope to see positivity, vulnerability and appreciation.

I hope to feel empowered, inspired and encouraged. Most of all, I hope others in the industry will be able to relate to the stories shared, with plenty more stories of bravery and courage for years to come.

Who is the bravest or most courageous person you know and why?

My little brother is a cop. Physically he is strong and brave. But emotionally, even more so. I have so much respect for him, what he has seen and the situations he’s had to deal with.

He’s my daily dose of perspective and my gentle reminder to face my fears.

Don’t be shy, be proud of your achievements and enter B&T’s Women In Media! Submit your entry here.

You can also buy tickets to the event here, which will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020, at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf.

And, if you’d like more information, head to this website.

Other key information 

On-time deadline: Friday 21 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Late entries deadline: Friday 28 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Shortlist announced: Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible! 





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