“Believe in yourself” seemed to be the overarching message of the International Women’s Day Breakfast held at Korowa on Thursday 15 March. Each of the three Korovian speakers have been pioneers in the industries of finance, medicine and sport, stepping up and believing that they as women would not be limited by history, prejudice or tradition.
“Don’t listen to people who say you can’t. We were raised to believe there were no limits to what we could do,” guest speaker Sue Crow said. “That’s the beauty of a girls’ school.” When someone first told Sue that she couldn’t play water polo because she’d get muscles and it was strange for girls to play water polo, she was defiant. “If muscles meant that I could play the sport well, make friends and have fun, why should they actually care.”
That defiance has helped Sue bring women’s sport to the forefront of cricket, softball, netball and football. Among her achievements she established the Melbourne Vixens Netball team and the Women’s National Cricket League. Now the Head of Community at Melbourne City FC, Sue said that she has seen the strides women’s cricket has taken, being broadcast on free to air TV and growing in stature alongside men’s cricket. At Melbourne City she has seen the result of their investment in women’s football, which has seen the team win the league three times. “When you invest in women’s sport, you get success,” Sue confirmed.
Each of the three Korovian speakers has led very different careers, however they all share a tenacity and drive which has seen them step up into unknown areas.
After a decade working in administration and ‘learning the ropes’ for leading Sydney stockbroker Ord Minnett Ltd, guest speaker Margaret Hill was promoted to the position of Private Client Investment Adviser. She was the first female in Australia to be appointed to this role.
As a pioneer, Margaret gained the respect of her peers within her organisation as well as the broader Broking industry. Margaret also served as Vice President of “Women in Finance”, a networking, mentoring and support organisation embracing women from all areas of the finance world.
“Be proud of the fact that you are a woman and you can really achieve, way beyond, possibly even your expectations,” Margaret said.
Dr Jennifer Johns was the first woman to be elected President of the National Heart Foundation of Australia. The cardiologist said that when she reflected on her time at Korowa, one word she kept coming back to was confidence. “I was given the confidence to do whatever I wanted to do,” she said.
It was uncommon for women to take on leadership roles throughout Jennifer’s career, but she credits her schooling, family support and senior management at the Austin Hospital, where she still works, with encouraging her to apply for leadership roles.
Jennifer believes that women bring unique qualities to leadership roles or boards, and create a collegiate, supportive atmosphere which improves the culture. Jennifer finished her inspiring speech with a strong vote of confidence for the girls and women sitting in the audience: “Try something, don’t think you can’t do something, because I am telling you that you can.”
ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKERS:
Margaret Hill (’68)
Margaret Hill, a Korovian, enjoyed a 40 year career in stockbroking until her retirement in 2011.
Accountancy and post-graduate studies paved her move into this traditionally male-dominated area of the finance industry at the end of the nickel boom in 1970. After a decade working in administration “learning the ropes” for leading Sydney Stockbroker Ord Minnett Ltd, Margaret was promoted to the position of Private Client Investment Adviser, the first female appointed to this role within their substantial Australian operations.
During the term of Principal Dr Roz Otzen, Margaret was appointed to the newly formed Korowa Foundation. She was also appointed to the Board of Korowa School Council during Mrs Christine Jenkins tenure as Principal. Continuing her association with the school, she was appointed inaugural President of The Jessie Patrick Society, Korowa’s Bequest Fund initiative. Margaret continues her involvement with Korowa today through the Korovian Club.
Away from life in Collins Street, Margaret always maintained a strong interest and involvement in politics through the Liberal Party. In addition, choral music played an important role in Margaret’s life through her association with the Camberwell Chorale under the direction of Douglas Heywood OAM. Margaret has held leadership roles in both organisations.
In retirement Botanic Art has become a new passion rekindling artistic skills developed during six years of art at Korowa under teachers Mrs Lindsay and Mrs Dickinson.
On a personal note, Margaret was married to Monash University academic, Professor Peter FitzRoy, who sadly died in 2016. She has two step-daughters and three step-grandchildren.
Susan Crow (’73)
Susan Crow is Head of Community at the Melbourne City FC where her aim is to make Melbourne City a leader in engaging the community in innovative and inclusive programs that use football for a positive social impact.
Susan has an impressive managerial record in Australian sport, extending from Executive Director of Women’s Cricket Australia and CEO of Softball Australia to the first female appointed in Game Development at the AFL. As CEO of Netball Victoria, she successfully established the Melbourne Vixens Netball team which won the ANZ Championship in its second season. Susan was instrumental in the establishment of the Women’s National Cricket League. She was also involved in the successful Victorian Water Safety Campaign “Play it Safe by the Water”.
Susan was the first female appointed to the Cricket Victoria Board on which she served for over nine years. She is also a member of the VicHealth Board and Essendon FC Gender Equality Steering Committee and was a past member of the State Sports Centres Trust.
Susan is a regular competitor at Open Water swimming events and in 2017 won the 1500m open water swim in her division at the World Masters games in Auckland.
She is a mother of two adult children who have succeeded academically and in the sporting world. Daughter, Kimberley Brennan won a gold medal for rowing (W1X) at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and silver (W2X) and bronze (W1X) at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Kimberley is a lawyer and son, Justin, is a Physiotherapist and Sports Scientist who played one game for Collingwood FC and is Head of Physical Performance at the Essendon FC. Husband, Max, played over 200 AFL games for Essendon, St Kilda and Footscray.
Dr Jennifer Johns AM (’70)
Dr Jennifer Johns has worked in cardiology for over 30 years, working in major hospitals in Melbourne, Boston and the UK. She has practised at the Austin Hospital since 1987 and has held numerous of roles, including medical director of Specialty Service CSU, director of cardiology and director of cardiac services. She has run a private practice at the Epworth since graduating from Melbourne University in 1976.
Jennifer is the first woman to have been elected President of the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Her long association with the foundation started with a Heart Foundation scholarship which enabled her to continue her studies in Boston in the 1980s.
Jennifer has volunteered many times in Sri Lanka, working with the Australia Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team to manage diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, helping vulnerable people following the Boxing Day tsunami.
Jennifer has long held an interest in women’s health issues and is a mentor for female cardiologists.
In a long line of achievements, Jennifer received the Premier’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an Australia Day Achievement Award for her work at the Austin Hospital.
Dr Johns was recognised for nearly 40 years of work in medicine by being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015.