This is a transcript taken from my talk with Anthea Green....
Nigel Rawlins: Hello and welcome to the Wisepreneurs podcast. My name is Nigel Rawlins and I work with a range of women who are professionals in their field. They're often 50 to 60 years old who want to start their own business. In this podcast, I'll be interviewing a range of cases who will be able to tell you how they've done it themselves and others who will give you hints and ideas and tips and maybe the confidence you need to go out and start your own business.
Welcome, Anthea, thank you for joining me on the Wisepreneurs podcast I was just wondering if could tell us a little bit about your life and what's taken you to this point.
Anthea Green: Okay, well look, thinking about it all. I think I started off studying Buddhism at university. There's a bit of a backstory to that, but we won't go there at the moment and in a way that is a background that would today not equip you really very well for any sort of career or advancement unless you wanted to be an academic. But what happened to me at university was I fell in love with politics, and that love and and fascination continues to this day for me. And what that did was I, I stood for the student representative council got made a secretary, and then started to work, if you like in that sort of arena of politics, student politics, and got myself in front of the chairman of the public service board. I don't remember how I got there, but I did. And I advocated for students who were public servants, and they were part time students to get some time off during orientation week so they could get some sort of orientation to the university course. What happened after that was the man that assisted in that mission rang me up because I was in my last year of uni and said, Have you got a job to start in January? And I said, No, I haven't. He said, Well, if you want to come in, we'll give you a job. And this is the public. This is to the public service board in Canberra. And I think, from that moment on, and with my passion for politics, I got a very strong, passionate burn, to make a difference to the world and to the environment I was in. I wanted to make a difference at a young age at 20. And I think really that passion, and when I did the hard work during those early years, I was almost so focused that the rest of life just happened. And I doors opened. Now this is the 70s and doors did open in the 70s. You'd get asked if you'd like to apply for a job. You'd apply, and you'd probably get the job. That doesn't really happen. Not anymore anymore. doesn't really happen anymore. So I had this very privileged period. I look back on it now where, just because I've been to university and I showed some smarts and I had a bit of intuition, and I was passionate about what I was doing. Doors just opened. And the other door that opened through the student politics was, I went in front of the vice chancellor at the new because that was the era when students were wanting representation on decision making councils. And a moment in that meeting, drove the rest of my career. I went in and I told him what I thought was wrong with the University from a student's point of view. I mean, how precocious is that? Nevermind. And this is the john Crawford this is, you know, a very esteemed man in the community. And he looked at me and he said, Miss Green. Don't tell me what's wrong. I know what's wrong. Tell me how to fix it. Wow. And I have never since gone anywhere and advocated for something. If I didn't have a solution, or a suggestion, I really took that message on board. So this my career just sort of took off. And at the time, women were just being recognized as coming through, they will not many hidden ahead of me. And to the point of, did I feel discriminated against module I didn't. I have actually never felt I have to say never felt discriminated against. But then I had this burning passion. I've learned that I could articulate ideas very well for my education. And I just went for it and whatever I whatever I saw needed to be done or jobs that needed to be doing I needed to be doing and I did them as well as I possibly could. I gave it my all I worked very hard. And I think I just traveled that pathway. The man along the way I can remember from for many years, many years, I was the only woman in the room. Many still today sometimes you're the only woman in the room. And I can remember at the very beginning, the men looking at me as if to say, who is what she can do her wishy washy at the table, not in a discriminatory way, in an almost inquisitive, it was inquisitive. They were quite inquisitive. So they were open. They were open. Yeah. Now was i was i lucky to find a series of groups of organizations had had men that were open minded. Yes, I probably was very lucky. One in particular, I took a job at the camera culture, advanced education on doing training programs for public servants who needed to understand policy and policy decision making. My Boston with Dr. Jeffrey Hawker, again a famous Australian and he was totally open minded looking back at 30 years. So we're talking the late 70s. I had one child and I was having a second child, I could work the hours I needed to work. It was a flexible environment, I could bring the children to work. I mean, that was unheard of. I remember my children, being at my under my desk, you know, having a sleep and not in a bassinet, you know, and he was just totally open to that. So how lucky was I at that era? You know, just, I have a sort of belief these days that and I try and give this to people when I'm mentoring or coaching. If you are passionate about what you do, and if you've done the hard work, and if you put it out there what your goals are. serendipity will start to take its take its place in your journey. If you're getting out there. If you're getting out there. You've got to get the message out there. You can't sit in your lounge room say well, I want to be the head of I hit the head of whatever that won't get you anywhere. You've got to get out there. tell your story. be seen. be doing good work. So yeah, that's the story. So the rest of my career was the first CEO job I got. I got in the, just at the beginning of mid 80s was again, someone sybok is a job up in Sydney, running a Health Planning Organization. Are you interested enough I went, after that. I had to. I became a CEO, then an executive director of that small organization. And once you get that role, it gets easier and easier really to stay in those roles because you've got the experience. So that lead up to that first Chief Executive Officer role was really quite charmed. I have to say when I look back, after that, things got a bit harder. And and when I I then went on to run a number of organizations that work, health care. I've got an expertise in hospitals and health care and running organizations that don't for health care or deliver aged care or deliver disabilities, they're all very similar. And in the later part of the journey, I had to work hard to get jobs sometimes because I changed geography changed the threads I was interested in. And then I learnt how hard it can be even with somebody that's competent and has qualifications to actually get the job you're looking for, and how you have to have the tenacity to just a Do you have to reinvent yourself to present yourself in a more modern way. They do have to highlight things that you previously haven't to match to match, sorry, match the sort of pitch that they're giving you as to who they're looking for. And see, do you have to really market yourself in a way that they will? You'll get yourself to an interview. I always thought if I could get myself to an interview, I probably had a pretty good chance to convincing people. I could add something to the organization. So again, I say I guess I come back to the fire in the belly and the in the passion to make a difference and contribute to the community and contribute to people's lifestyles and contribute to their health in particular when I worked in the health arena. So that's a that's a very shortened version of a long career.
And whoops, the last position you had before you started to retire.
Anthea Green: Oh, well, therein is another story. I retired about twice, and I probably still haven't To be frank. So I was running an organization called Australian hearing, which was 170 2 million turnover by the time I lifted and I decided then so I would have been about 63 that the age was coming off. My performance of my memory wasn't quite as good as it was. My energy levels were beginning to drop. It was a Very big job. And I thought I need to downscale ready to retire. So I took a job I applied for and got a job running the shepherd center in Sydney, which is a very small, almost going from chalk to cheese, very small, but I felt passionate about the organization. It was an early intervention program for hearing impaired children to get them to be able to speak so that they could get to school and engage in schooling as a normal childhood. That was a huge adjustment going from an an organization that had money and resources to a very tiny organization that was struggling for money and resources. And then the at that point, my husband and I decided to move to Melbourne. When I'd finished at the shepherd center, I looked for directorships on boards, got a couple down here in Melbourne. One of them was private investor who own nine nursing home and I went on that board Long story short, I ended up Chairman then we got rid of the CEO. And then I ended up the CEO said, here's my next job. So at this stage, I would have been 6667
Anthea Green: there working, and that's full time. And that was absolutely full time. It was a big job. And I did that for a couple of years. The organization had its head office in Melbourne because that's where the investment funds came from. But the rest of the organization was in New South Wales and Queensland. So I was traveling an enormous amount. And I broke my ankle on the way to the gym. And I couldn't do the flying. So they put me back on the board and put someone in as CEO. And then I stayed on the board, we ended up selling the entities, and the investors did very well out of it. So then I was on other boards. So by this stage that that, that CRL stopped, I joined some other boards. And I've only just parted ways with my last board about six months ago. But of course, as you know, you helped me, I've set up my own little venture here that isn't monitor arised. But is it taking a lot of time and I have to say 72 now, and I'm finding time, it's difficult to manage now as I did when I was working full time when I was in my full flight, but for different reasons.
So I wanted to have a little talk about some of those things. So can we just go back a bit? At one stage, you had a young family and you're getting all these positions? How did you cope with having a family and that and that sort of work? And as you said, you had a young child under the desk.
Yeah, one of the diseases. Well,
Anthea Green: again, I somewhere in my psyche as a young woman, I just had the view that I could do whatever I put my mind to doing. And I didn't see children as an impediment to that. I just thought that I'd have to be better organized and so on. And I was very lucky. As I said earlier, I had this boss who enabled me to be free flowing, if you like about childminding and my job, he knew I would do my job. He absolutely knew me and he knew he knew I do my job, and I absolutely didn't do the job. But I could do it at my own time and pace. That got me to the next stage of my career, and I actually parted from my husband at that point and went to Sydney. How did I manage Nigel looking back? I sometimes wonder how, but I managed that career. 13 years of it as a single parent,
and raising children
Anthea Green: and raising two boys. Yes. I was lucky enough to be at all Where I had the income to be able to afford some childminding. And some of it was more affordable than than it is today. My ex husband would take the children every second weekend, which gave me a break. I had on the journey through a couple of girlfriends that would occasionally feel bad if I got stuck with sickness or something. And when my first son was born, I had a wonderful Spanish family that looked after him. And, and then I just found a woman who was very committed to looking after my boys and she almost became part of the family. But the secret total was planning and a bit of a pattern of life. I won't call it a routine, but I'll call it a pattern of life of me. So the boys knew how how the week would run and how it would all go and You know it without being viciously regimented, life had a rhythm. And the rhythm I think helped us keep everything going. And and through the bits of it. And still to this day, I sort of do this when I cook something, I'll cook twice as much as I need, and put it away in the fridge for a home grown takeaway, if you like, I still do that to this day. I would cook every Sunday, and I'd put layers of food in the freezer ready for the week so that we come home and this spaghetti bowl or knives or whatever is needed,
and working full time and working a
Anthea Green: job. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing I did was I made Friday night, everyone's not to relax. So we would go out for pizza or pasture or whatever Friday night was was a night out. And interestingly enough, when I married my current husband, we both had very full on careers. And I'd seen a couple over in America who had Really, they traveled the world. And yet they had a really vibrant and loving relationship. And I said to them, how do you keep all this together? And she said to me, it doesn't matter where we are in the world. We try and join each other for Friday night. And we have a date night. Because you cannot talk to each other for a week, and you can live in the same house. I'm not talking to you, I don't mean not talk to each other. But I mean, not talk to each other about, you know, the deeper, more important things that you probably should talk to your partner about. So my husband and I did that too, for a very long time. So that's Yeah, I think, I think with children. The other thing I do say this to all working women, I made holidays, part of every year, and I made sure that the holidays were nice, and that we went somewhere where I didn't have to do all the cooking and the cleaning and everything and they had made 2014 And all of us remember the holidays more than we remember the the working week in the working year.
So you children, they're grown up, obviously.
Anthea Green: Yes. And
now he's so tired. You started off your new business. But let's talk about that for now. So you've stuffed up women who stand up. Tell me about that.
Anthea Green: So, well, I guess you're Meredith were very instrumental in this. I was I got to 70 I got to 70 and I came to your workshop ever done before? Okay, well, and that I found that very inspiring, because what you were saying was, if you want to keep working, or if you want to do something different, or if you want to self realize, you know, later in life, do it. There's no reason why you can't do it. And I think that's a really important message. And again, I think the same thing You gotta have a bit of passion, a bit of fire and a bit of energy to do it. It doesn't have to be the same as it was way back there when, but so that's, I think that session with you and Meredith probably gave me the confidence to really explore that idea.
This is a lightning talk saying it to me, who used to be the general manager of the Sydney women's candle. And you felt you lacked a bit of confidence? Yes,
Anthea Green : I did. Yeah, cuz I was 70. Yeah, because I felt
so when you were younger, you didn't like that.
Anthea Green: I'll just say that I didn't lack confidence is glossing over some really bad moments in my career? Yes, we all have self doubt. Part of my driving engine is to make things to do things extremely well. And some of that comes from self doubt that I'm not good enough to do that. So some some of what drives me Nigel is I can do that and I can do it very well. I'm going to say that it's not that there isn't self doubt this self doubt. And as I got into the 70s, and really in, in the late 60s, early 70s, you start to feel the difference in your body, you start to feel the difference in your memory, all those little kinks that I could feel when I started to move from big jobs to smaller jobs, we're getting a bit stronger. And people around you don't support you. When I when you say I'm 70. And I'm thinking of starting a business or something. I go, What? You got to be joking, you know, and that's the problem. And then we should never do that to our friends. I think that's not a sign of friendship.
Well, I think that what the issue there is very obvious is it's the wrong group.
Anthea Green: Yes, yes, it is the wrong group. And that's, that's why you and Meredith, you know, came at a point. pivotal point, and this is this, I'll come back to that point of narrative serendipity. serendipity plays a role, but you've got to sort of have the vibes out there to help it. help it along.
So, obviously be ready to be
Anthea Green: ready for exactly. Yeah, exactly right. And you know, the Buddhist saying, when the pupils ready, the teacher will arrive. And I think that's a beautiful way of putting it, you know that when you're ready to hear, there's probably lots of teachers out there, but when you're ready to hear and listen and take in, and the teacher will arrive, and I'm eternally grateful to you and Meredith because you just lit the spark, you know that. That lit the fire
that I want to show what we did the did that but
Anthea Green: Well, I think the pupil was ready and I think the teachers had arrived and you were you were selling a very and are selling and you're living a very important message, which is, age is not the point. It is not the point. The point is, are you committed if you've got the energy you have, you've got the will or the need. And if you have Yes, you can make a contribution for as long as all of that helps together for you. How can we help Can we help? Exactly and I'm so so that's that's how I started. Women who stand up. And of course, women who stand up is very much about if you are a woman and you want to stand up and get to positions of power and responsibility or if you want to move something forward or, or do something a bit out of the ordinary for yourself. Here's some tips, hints, resources and other people that have lived a life that's taken some different paths. And I think out of storytelling, sometimes we can find inspiration, encouragement, a sense that yes, if she can do it, I can do it. And that's really what women who stand up is about is trying to tell other women's stories and give women any little tips instant information. So I try and keep the website tight. The articles aren't long, but they're just meant to hit a mark on some topic
and you've chosen some women to highlight
How do you go about selecting?
Anthea Green: Well, that's an interesting question because while my websites I'm that women in leadership, I'm interviewing a few women who aren't necessarily leaders in the sense of running huge organizations or having been that they're women who are doing something a bit out of the ordinary, a little bit different, a bit stepping up, or they're leading in a way that's a bit different. So I just last week, I interviewed a woman who is the founder of a website called Afghan women on the move. And she's also a bit like Meredith, a social worker, but also an author, a playwright, and she's written a play called the good woman. So I chose her because that is a woman from a difficult culture to come out of to be a self realizing woman stepping out of out, and she's obviously stepping out and doing Some quite brave things. bravery and courage feature a lot in my website because I think bravery and courage are the things we need to step up. And in Vietnamese I've interviewed a Vietnamese woman who went from being a refugee to the mayor of maribyrnong. Interested in interviewing Meredith fuller because she's a leader in her field, both in terms of counseling and in terms of future I mean, she's quite multitalented, a very interesting, very interesting mix of talents. So I try and find women who are doing something a little bit different.
But the issue is doing something
Anthea Green: if the issue is doing something that's right,
you we had a conversation a while back, you mentioned that when you were younger with children.
Somebody inspired you. Would you like to talk here?
Anthea Green: So golden Maya, I read. I think it was her biography and she wrote it about her Lie. And there was one passage in the way she talks about having the cabinet at her kitchen table because she was bringing up children. So the cabinets in Israel, the cabinet would come to her home. And she had children and she, I think she finished the meeting my memory of the passage in the book with something like she she did what she needed to do as prime minister, and everyone left and then she she's in the room and the kids are gone to bed. And she goes to this agony about am I damaging my children? Is this all too high a price to pay for my children? How will I know if they're okay? And I think at this stage, her children were still quite young. And then when you finish the book, you realize that children are actually okay. And that just the fact that someone had articulated what I thought often to myself am I am I The price too high for them. And that really resonated in me and the fact that she kept going and she just said, I have to keep you on. I can't stop. My children have to come the journey. And that's what yeah, that's how I looked at it. The children came to journey with me. And that's how I've always put it to my boys. This is the journey that I'm on. And I think that, that that was a fundamental moment for me. I've never forgotten. I also followed Hillary Clinton, from the beginning before she was even well known. When Bill Clinton was standing for presidency for the first time. She came to the fore, particularly but I was following her before this, but then a particular moment, I remember is and I didn't necessarily agree with it, but I remembered it is when she did the interview with Bill after his affairs had been alleged before he was even President and she made the statement that I'm going to stand by my men. And I just looked at that. And I thought, well, personally, that's probably not how I would have felt. But But what a brave woman what a strong stand she made. And it almost sealed his ability to go on then and win the nomination for the candidates for the Democratic Party. So I followed her quite a lot since then, unfortunately, when I follow see my love of politics is sort of still coming through all my life. When I watched her very closely through the 2016 election, I got quite bitterly disappointed because I thought she had an A about her of entitlement. And none of us can go around with an air of entitlement. There's no that just doesn't work.
She lost a bit of
Anthea Green: that touch of reality of it. Yes, she did. And look what happened. Amen. And I, her loss in that lecture. Did not surprise me
and other other political women political leaders, you would mark
Anthea Green: Ah, I'm very much at Marja. Kendra Dern in New Zealand. I think she I think she'll go down in history as a very important female figure in this century. What she did around the massacre in Christchurch, the way she handled that was with femininity, and strength, enormous empathy for the people that lost their lives and the community that have been so attacked. She gave the perpetrator no airplay she's never mentioned his name. I can't even remember his name, which is, you know, and that she did that deliberately that was deliberate. She wasn't going to give him any crazy And, and she, she went into that community with a cultural sensitivity that was very engaging. And her continued advocacy around gun laws is strong and feminine, that she's just adding this mixture of femininity to strength, which is to some people might sound a contradiction. But I think actually, in this modern era, or corporate life we're going into, which is very different to the past. I think those attributes, those more feminine attributes are going to be more and more important for men and women as they lead countries and organizations.
And I think the whole point is the stories of women in these positions gives us that background that we don't often hear about because it's all about men. So do you think you might be able to infuse this into at some point for your podcast?
And would you interview just Cinder Ah,
Anthea Green: I would love to interview to sender. And somehow we have to somehow we have to make that happen. Absolutely. Yes. No.
Anthea Green: we will reach out it. And I do have a few links over there. So but yes, I would love to I think I think she has a very important story to tell, you know, she had the baby after becoming Prime Minister. I mean, she's living it.
So let's go back to your now 72. You've got obviously grown up children, you've got grandchildren, and you have a mother. So here you are 72 running a little business. And you've got other obligations. How do you manage it all?
Anthea Green: Well, as I said earlier, I'm struggling for time and it's really interesting. So I guess I've made the decision. My husband, I've made the decision that we want to be engaged grandparents. Between us. We have five children. Four of them have had children. So there's four children and eight grandchildren. And they are all over the place. So they're not even geographically near us. So they're in in itself is a commitment to time and energy that we've made that we continue. And my mother is 96, an amazing mixture, my mother of intense fragility, and burning strength. And in her older age now, all the fragility is beginning to show is the strength drains away, which is sad to watch, but she's still determined. And like tonight, I'm taking her to a class on nature. Oh, Chris, she still reads and understands and is interested in philosophy. Interestingly enough, I find the time commitments for the family now harder than when I was a single mother, because as a single mother, you're all living in the same house. I could sort of run the routine. And I was spending time with people. But now I've got to fit into other schedules, I've got to travel, I've got to try and make time for mum and make that work. So in many ways, I think it's harder. And I think it's 72 Nigel, I am again beginning to feel the encroaching edges of, of my resilience and my strength. Just coming away a bit. Like if I get something I'm I don't pick up as quickly as I used to. If I if I do a hard gym workout, I don't. I don't pick up the energy as quickly as I used to. It's just it's subtle, it's different. It's different. It's there, and you just got to work with it. You just got to say, Okay, if I get a bad call, instead of getting over it in 48 hours, it might take a week. Or, you know, if I do something really hard in the gym or in the garden or whatever I'm doing, it might take a bit long, you've just got to this got to go with the flow.
Really, really good,
Anthea Green: not give up, don't give up because you're feeling a bit weak or a bit less of energy. Every now and again, I think I'll just give up but, but you can't well if your mother's 97
and that's gonna be the problem is if, because we're obviously in better health nowadays than any previous generations. And if you've got good genes like you have in your family, and it's, it's the same with our minds and our brains and our bodies, we do have to look up and do our sense of diet, exercise and pacing yourself. So really particular types of work you are looking to do through your women who stand up would you do some consulting or coaching,
Anthea Green: I'm looking to doing some can some some coaching I'm already doing a little bit of coaching. I would do some consulting and I am interested in providing some venues and workshops and get togethers for women to talk to each other better always in person rather than on the internet. And I'm hoping that we can work on things like confidence on what is what do you know? How do you muster your courage to step up and do something? How do you ask the hard questions when you're in a job? I'm interested in really spending time with women and and giving them the inspiration and the and the pathway forward, if that will help them on their journey. Okay.
Well, maybe at that point, is there anything else we haven't talked about that you'd like to mention?
Anthea Green: Ah, I think I never had time to network very much. That was the one thing I let go and I think it's very important for women to understand the value of networking, but also make sure that the networking is valuable. I see a lot of women go to endless lunches and breakfasts. And I'm one I wonder, is that really a valuable networking? Or is that just to get together and I'm not. I'm not disrespectful get togethers are very important. But I think it's very important for women to find other women who are on a similar path who they can share with. And when the when the chips are down, and you just got to talk to somebody be able to ring them now, in my, in my journey I've had the odd woman, I don't mean the right. I mean, there was the occasional woman who who could play that role for me and I still have one in particular, I value enormously. She's in New Zealand, but we can talk. But I cannot underestimate the value of women having other women in the similar vein, who they can just let it all hang out with, you know, and I also think that women who like I had to find another partner or wife ended up finding another partner. One of the great lessons for me and that was from another executive woman who we spent some time talking. She was a Vietnamese in America, an extraordinary businesswoman. And she said to me one day, ask, you know, if ever I get married again, there's got to be someone who I can come home at the end of the week and take my makeup off and take the corporate clothes off, and lounge on the lounge chair and feel like a blob and exhausted and he'll still love me. And I think that's so true. If you've got to have someone who love you when you're at your lowest aim, as it were.
Well, thank you very much.
Anthea Green: It's a pleasure and lovely to talk to you. And I'd love to inspire all the women you're working with or lovely.
Nigel Rawlins: Thank you for joining me on the y's pianos podcast. I hope you found it both practical And interesting. You can find out more by visiting my website at wise printers.com.au. Thank you again