Advice for my Daughter from Australia’s First Female Prime Minister

With Julia Gillard and my co-authors Belinda Cohen and Anneli Blundell.

With Julia Gillard and my co-authors Belinda Cohen and Anneli Blundell.

 

My eldest daughter was four years old and at home with her daddy the day Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister. With a father very interested in politics, the TV had been tuned into updates from Canberra the whole day.
When I arrived home my daughter rushed to meet me, excitedly asking if I knew who Julia Gillard was… Apparently my daughter was going to be prime minister when she grew up because that was a job for girls!

 

This conversation and this moment will stay with me forever. This was the first time that my daughter (and all Australian daughters) had seen real evidence that the top job in Australian politics was possible for girls.

 

Fast forward to last week when I had the pleasure of meeting Julia Gillard, now the Chancellor of Ducere* at a ‘conversation on leadership and education’. I asked her what advice she would have for my daughter, and here’s what she said:

 

  • Value of education: Finish primary school, high school and some further education first!
  • Purpose: Know why you want to do it. This is a hard job and you need to be clear on your purpose.
  • Conviction: Believe it’s possible and make it happen.
  • Know that it’s a privilege: Being Prime Minister is one of the best and hardest jobs there is.
  • Resilience: There are ups and downs. Develop your ability to work with other people, withstand criticism, and stay on your path.

 

Clearly this is good advice for leaders that extends way beyond a young child aspiring to be PM. Is there more you could learn? Do you know why you do what you do, and truly believe in doing it? Are you grateful for the opportunity? Would a boost of resilience keep you focused and firing?

 

Julia Gillard also shared other great wisdom, stories and leadership advice – perhaps the topic of future blogs. In the meantime, let your inner Prime Minster step forward!

 

Have an Extraordinary day

 

*Ducere is an Australian social enterprise – fascinating business model and programs that sound inspiring and challenging. Check it out at http://ducere.edu.au/.