2022 She Leads In-Conversation Series – 5 Quick Questions with Dr Anita Heiss

12 May 2022

Headshot of Dr Anita Heiss, with her name and the She Leads -Conversation Series logo at the bottom of the tileWith less than two weeks to go before our first She Leads In-Conversation of the year, we can’t wait for the Canberran community to hear from Dr Anita Heiss and Sarah Burr. This event will be in a conversational format, where two Wirdayuri women will discuss empowerment through education and why the stories of First Nations Australians need to be not only told but heard.

This week, we asked our featured speaker, Dr Anita Heiss, 5 Quick Questions on leadership, her book and podcast recommendations and achievements that she’s most proud of, but most people wouldn’t know about.

Dr Anita Heiss is an award-winning author of 18 books. She is an international speaker with a background in Australian First Nations literature calling her audiences to action on issues that she is passionate about. She is a board member of University of Queensland Press, Aboriginal Art Co, Circa Contemporary Theatre and the National Justice Project. Anita is a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland and an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the GO Foundation. Her play Tiddas, will premiere at the 2022 Brisbane Festival in partnership with La Boite Theatre and QPAC. Her most recent novel is Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) and her memoir Am I Black Enough for You?: 10 years on has just been released. Anita runs, eats chocolate and is proud to be a creative disruptor.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to people who are trying to start their leadership journey but don’t know where to start?

I am very proud of all I have achieved; however, I don’t call myself a leader as such. I do love sharing my journey though.

What worked for me may not work for everyone, but I started seeing a life coach in 2003 when I was 35 years old, and by setting goals and building strategies, I reached where I am today. If seeing a life coach is something that you don’t want to do, then I suggest getting a mentor you admire and respect to offer advice and guidance on your own journey. And be clear about why you want to be a leader, and what leadership means to you.

What would you like to see change in the next 3-5 years in the leadership space?

  • More women in board rooms, parliament and positions of influence
  • Gender pay-equity
  • Our nation run by a President (yes, we will be a republic)
  • A Voice to Parliament via the Uluru Statement

What’s an achievement that you’re most proud of, but most people wouldn’t know about?

Professionally: I was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the University of Western Sydney with a PhD in 2001.

Personally: I ran my first marathon on the eve of my 49th birthday at Uluru, and four months later ran the New York Marathon.

What’s a mistake or failure that you have made but in hindsight made you a better leader?

I took on a role that was time consuming and I didn’t enjoy when I could’ve been writing. However, I learned a whole new set of skills and knowledge that made me a more rounded person.

Lastly, are there any leadership or empowerment books and/or podcasts that you would recommend to people?

Belinda Brosnan’s Start With You: lead from the inside

Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul podcast for reminders on how to live my most productive, fruitful and joyful life.


Our She Leads In-Conversation with Dr Anita Heiss and Sarah Burr is on Tuesday 24 May. Not only will your ticket include entry to the event, but will include a networking session with drinks and food and the opportunity to purchase one of Anita’s books and have it signed by her.

Visit the event page for more information.

We hope to see you there!

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