THE IN-TRAY

Empowering ideas from our Mecca M-Power mentees

TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, WE ASKED THE RECIPIENTS OF OUR MECCA M-POWER MENTORING PROGRAM ABOUT OVERCOMING WORKPLACE BARRIERS, INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN AND THE CHANGES THEY WANT TO SEE IN 2019.

Camila Galaz, Artist

Who inspires you?
Mandee Johnson is an amazing friend, photographer and producer. She strongly stands up for herself and what she cares about, while also being incredibly giving. It’s a balance I try to take with me in all sorts of situations.”

Favourite Instagram account?
@ripannanicolesmith, an account run by Kristen Cochrane that links popular culture with politics and critical theory.”

Proudest professional achievement?
“Being offered the MECCA M-Power Scholarship last year provided me with many amazing opportunities, including mentorship from the National Gallery of Victoria. It also validated my career choices and work to date – I know we shouldn’t need validation, but sometimes it’s so important.”

How have you overcome profession barriers?
“When I go through a patch of rejection letters from applications, I try to remember that I’m in it for the long haul and refocus on why what I’m doing is important to me.”

What’s a bad habit you want to break this year?
“I’m attempting a wind-down night routine and an actual bedtime this year, but it’s proving very difficult!”

What change do you want to see for women in 2019?
“The change I want to see comes from the continued difficult work of interrogating and tearing down gender, economic and race-based power structures. I would like to particularly highlight the epidemic of fatal violence facing transgender women of colour, and the transgender community in general, and the urgent need for media coverage, provision of safety, and the protection of their rights, lives, and legacies.”

Why should more women join your field?
“Art can be an amazing complement to other studies and life experiences. It can expand and contract to fill many spaces and time frames. Plus, you can just make art, you don’t need permission.”

What’s your ultimate MECCA gift to self?
“I’m a fan of Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Sheet Masks. It’s a good way to take some time to myself while also being nice to my skin.

Sarah Agboola, Entrepreneur, Founder and Managing Director of mTime

Who inspires you?
“My mum, she has more tenacity and grit than anyone I have met in my life.”

Favourite Instagram account?
@lady.brains, it's a podcast, supper club, and goldmine of memes for any ladies interested in business. I love it because it's light and fun but also a great source of information.”

How have you overcome profession barriers?
“I made a point to find people who’d back me even when I wasn't sure I would back myself. I started with just one mentor that I met at a networking event and through them I now have a whole group of people who I know will vouch for me.”

What’s a bad habit you want to break this year?
“I'm very ‘all or nothing’, so I'll work for three days straight then crash — it's terrible and I'm trying to stop.”

What do you love most about your job?
“That I get to see the direct output of my efforts. We recently made a new training program for our staff and immediately saw how much happier they were at work as a result of feeling more supported.”

What change do you want to see for women in 2019?
“It'd be great if media outlets stopped pitting successful women against each other. We don't need that narrative.”

How should more women join your field?
“Start testing. If you have a business idea but you're unsure whether to pursue it, start experimenting and see if people like what you have to offer. Best case, it turns out you have demand and the idea is worth pursuing. Worst case, you learnt a lot, had some fun, and are better prepared for your next idea.”

What’s your ultimate MECCA gift-to-self?
“I love any dark, matte lipsticks. A black or dark purple lip always makes me feel great. The MECCA MAX A-Lipster Liquid Lipstick in Berry Bomb is currently on my rotation.”

Rebecca Watts, Humanitarian Engineer

Who inspires you?
“Julia Gillard. She’s a boss lady.”

Favourite person to follow on Twitter?
“The hilariously inappropriate Clementine Ford

Proudest professional achievement?
“Working on the Solar Energy Project with Engineers Without Borders Australia that brought electricity to communities in rural Cambodia.”

How have you overcome profession barriers before?
“I found my cheerleaders – the people who believe in me and push me forward – and leaned-in when I needed to. It’s important to put your hand up for opportunities and go for the things you want.”

What’s a bad habit you have and want to break this year?
“Pointless scrolling on every social media channel.”

What do you love most about your job?
“Meeting hundreds of entrepreneurs who are shaping the future.”

What change do you want to see for women in 2019?
“More women studying, working and progressing in STEM education and careers.”

Why should more women join your field?
“There's no better time than now. Engineers build what a society looks like. From designing the trams and trains you use to get to work or school, to the apps you use to find your next boyfriend, engineers play a fundamental role. That’s why it’s important that the group of people designing technologies are representative of the wider population and that we have more women building the society we all want to live in.”

What’s your ultimate MECCA gift-to-self?
Primer. It’s the perfect way to start your routine.”

Rona Glynn-McDonald, Entrepreneur and CEO of Common Ground

Who inspires you?
“Michele Obama is an absolute force. She’s compassionate, honest, she perseveres and she backs herself. We would all benefit from a little Michelle Obama fire in our bellies.”

Favourite person to follow on Instagram?
Aretha Brown, she’s a proud advocate for First Nations people and the Prime Minister of the Indigenous Youth Parliament. She’s an amazing young woman who speaks up for what she believes in. She’s one to watch.”

Proudest professional achievement?
“Launching Common Ground. The platform has helped 45,000 Australians learn about the cultures, histories and lived experiences of First Nations Australians. It was a long process putting together the content and consulting with stakeholders across the country, but the impact we have had in just nine months has been truly incredible.”

How have you overcome profession barriers?
“Surrounding myself with a group of fearless people from all professions and backgrounds ensures that when times are tough, I can be re-inspired by those around me.”

What’s a bad habit you want to break this year?
“Checking Instagram as soon as I wake up. It’s a terrible habit that I just can't seem to shake.”

What change do you want to see for women in 2019?
“I want to see more collaborations between women of all backgrounds to change the systems around us. We need to work together to make change, and this means working across cultures, backgrounds and locations. Diversity is key to shaping a brighter future.”

Why should more women join your field?
“You have the power to pursue anything. Think about finding a sweet spot between what you love, what your skills are, what the world needs more of and what you can be paid for, then pursue that relentlessly. Whatever you choose, make sure you wake up excited and live each day making an impact on the world around you.”

What’s your ultimate MECCA gift-to-self?
Too Faced lip gloss. I was given it once as a present and it changed the game for me. Now I can go out fresh faced with a bit of Iip gloss and feel confident that I can do anything.”

Calling all emerging female talent! Applications are now open for this year’s MECCA M-Power Mentoring Programs. Find out more about the MECCA M-Power NGV Arts Mentoring Program and the MECCA M-Power Engineers Without Borders Mentoring Program now!

Words by Alexandra Whiting
March 2019

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