Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose on her future career goals, and yearning to start another mag
Readers talk back
Must reads site wide
This was first published in August 2012
Ita Buttrose is chairwoman of the Sydney-based digital publishing company, Reddo Media Services, and a regular social commentator on Channel Nine's Today Show. She is National President of Alzheimer's Australia, Vice President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia, patron of the Macular Degeneration Foundation of Australia, and a Trustee of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust. Her 11th book, A Passionate Life - the third edition of her autobiography – has just been published by Penguin. She was named Australian of the Year for 2013.
Growing up, what kind of career did you want to pursue?
I decided when I was 11 that I wanted to be a journalist. By 16 I had got my journalism cadetship on the Women's Section of the Daily & Sunday Telegraphs in Sydney. I have never once regretted my decision. Journalism has opened an incredible array of doors for me.
... and as a little girl, what did you imagine working life to be like?
I thought I would work for a few years, marry, have children and leave the workforce to become a housewife. I married and had children but kept on working, becoming part of women's changing world, much of which was driven by the arrival of women's liberation. It has been an exciting time to be a woman!
What qualities do you most admire in a female colleague?
Honesty and unconditional support during good times – and bad times.
What is the best path to success in your field of endeavor?
Never lose your curiosity; be well informed – start the day listening, watching or reading the news; always do your research before an interview; and never accept second best from yourself.
How would you describe your ideal work day?
One that starts with a vigorous, hour long walk by the sea – then I can happily cope with whatever the day may bring as far as work is concerned.
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my four grandchildren. They are enormous fun to be with – they are all delightfully inquisitive and full of humour.
What brings you sadness?
The appalling gender inequality for women in such countries as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan...
What personal attributes have you used to overcome adversity in your life?
A belief in myself and my right to make the most of my abilities in whatever job I went for plus the knowledge that life is full of detours – some good, some not so good. I always tell myself tomorrow will be better and it usually is.
What are your career goals from here?
To continue writing books; I have a yearning to start another magazine (Yes, I admit it! I am definitely a magazine junkie), to continue my voluntary work in the health area and to be ready to accept whatever unexpected opportunities come my way.
What are your life goals from here?
To keep living life to the fullest; to work hard at maintaining my health and fitness and not to waste a moment of any day.