Five quick questions with Isabel Mudford

2 March 2021

Rae Knopik

Rae is the Events and Marketing Officer at YWCA Canberra

Image shows Isabel Mudford smiling. Image is decorative

In anticipation for our upcoming In Conversation with Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo, the She Leads team sat down with PhD candidate and queer policy specialist Isabel Mudford, who has a breadth of experiences, ranging from work in social research to law reform in the ACT, including now advising the ACT Greens in social inclusion policy. As Chair of the LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council, Isabel has advised on the development of the Capital of Equality Strategy and First Action Plan, including the recent prohibition of conversion practices.

Currently undertaking a PhD in critical public health at the ANU, Isabel’s work analyses the evolution and impact of the category of ‘LGBTIQ health’ and its relationship to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, making her well-placed to facilitate our In-Conversation with Dr. Clara Tuck Meng Soo, who has been quietly working on the ground for marginalised people throughout her career.

In our In Conversation on 16 March, Isabel and Dr Soo will cover topics from the role of inclusion in leadership to how ‘ordinary people’ can go forward to create tangible change in society. For Isabel, leadership begins at the intersections of society—for true change to occur, the sum of our parts must be addressed.

To learn a bit more about Isabel and why she does what she does, we sat down and asked her five quick questions:

Describe yourself in 30 words or less.

Kind, funny, pathologically late, feminist, outgoing, colourful, queer, curious, empowered, loving, loved, tired, caffeinated, compassionate, bleeding heart, brunch lover, vegetarian, friendly, cat mum, dog person, creative-ish, political, generous, optimistic.

Tell us about a moment in your life that kick started your leadership journey.

A moment doesn’t capture it for me. I’ve had a lifetime of loving and being empowered by intelligent, critical and compassionate women interested in making the world and other people’s lives better, safer, and healthier. I am proud to have come out (more literally than some) of that beautiful feminist mess.

What is one question about gender equality that you’re tired of hearing? If you answered it once and never had to answer it again, what would you say?

I’m very bored by the idea that women’s issues can be seen or treated separately from class, race, ability, or sexuality. We are all the sum of our parts and to treat any of these issues as silos limits our shared power to make change.

What is a personal challenge you have had to overcome for your leadership goals?

To listen to my gut instinct about an issue, and think critically, rather than just doing as I’m told. Gut instinct is built from previous experience, knowledge, sense of self and values. It’s good stuff.

Imagine yourself in your 60’s. What leadership advice would your 60-year-old self-give to you right now?

Be brave and don’t shy away from the things you find or difficult/intimidating. Listen.


Watch this space to keep up with Isabel’s leadership journey. If you are interested in attending She Leads In Conversation with Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo and Isabel Mudford – visit the event page for more information.


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