On 10 May 2016, Katrina Cooper, Senior Legal Advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, shared her wisdom to a full house at the Hyatt Hotel.
Katrina generously shared the experiences and insights she has gathered over her time at DFAT. With a passion for law and foreign affairs, Katrina entered DFAT as a graduate and has had a varied career as a diplomat, including postings to Chile, Port Moresby and as Australia’s Ambassador to Mexico.
Upon returning to Australia from Mexico, Katrina observed the lack of women in decisionmaking roles at DFAT. Drawing on her experiences, Katrina became the driving force behind the Women in Leadership initiative, with the intention of creating an environment conducive to women being equally successful in the work place. Katrina shared her four guiding principles that have assisted her in her career:
(a) Do what you love.
(b) Be collegial, even in a competitive atmosphere. Quoting Madeleine Albright – ‘there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women’.
(c) Be confident in what you are doing. You should be, if you are doing what you love and you are being collegial.
(d) Be brave. Katrina observed that this state of mind is dependent on lining up the other elements.
Katrina admitted early on in her talk that whilst comfortable with public speaking, she was not used to speaking about herself. Be that as it may, Katrina’s message was inspiring and practical. We are the better for it, and WLA ACT is grateful to Katrina for sharing her life story thus far.