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The Gift of Inspiration for Breakfast

being my best self inspiration resilience speaking up values Mar 01, 2007

This morning I was inspired by a lady called Barbara Etter.

Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2006 and Assistant Commissioner for Corruption Prevention and Investigation at the WA Police, she had been invited to speak to a breakfast meeting at the University Club.

Her strong sense of right and wrong, and the way she held these values dear in the face of often unfair treatment, was inspirational.

The way she kept her sense of humour even when things got really tough was inspirational.

Her constant focus on the social and intellectual aspects of her work, during her talk and during her life, was truly inspirational.

She had us laughing over “nice girls don’t get the corner office”. But there was truth here – she suggested that many of us tend to unconsciously sabotage our own careers. We apologise when we don’t need to, we avoid politics and are often the last to speak up. We ask permission when none is necessary, we are overly modest and generally deny our power. I thought of the effort I now make to speak up when something needs to be said and the difference it is making to what people thought of me…yes, she had a point.

Barbara invited us to think about “What if the three wise men were the three wise women?” They would bring practical gifts for the home. Again, among the laughter, there was truth here.

As she closed, with urging us to “be true to yourself and your integrity” and “be the type of person your dogs think you are”, I was glad that I had scrambled out of bed in the dark that morning to be here.

Starting my day with such an inspiration was a great gift.

And it lasted all day!


[Photo of one of Barbara's touching drawings, which I felt encapsulated her indomitable spirit.]

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