Wisdom, humour from Forbes' own on International Women's Day 2019

Local women have shared their experiences and insight, with humour and wisdom, at Forbes' 2019 International Women's Day breakfast.

Forbes women whose experiences include media, museums and motherhood, agriculture, community and business leadership were invited to tell their stories on Friday March 8.

They brought a diversity of perspective and opinion to the table, and it wouldn't be possible to capture it all after the event. 

But here's some of the gold we took away from the morning:

Monica Langfield, Wirrinya farmer, spoke about taking on management of Canada's largest cattle feedlot at age 23 and - since moving back to Australia - often being the only woman at agricultural events and conferences.

"Don't put limitations on yourself: you can do anything you set your mind to," she said. 

If she could give advice to her younger self, she'd say, "drink the champagne, buy the shoes, be kind to one another and be kind to yourself."

Patty Paul reflected on a couple of decades of experience relocating from Michigan to Australia and at Forbes Veterinary Clinic.

Patty laughed as she remembered being baffled by the Australian greeting, "Whaddaya know?"

Now, she reckons, she knows, "God is good, all the time, and NEVER raise ducks in your bedroom."

She urged women to share - and seek out - wisdom across generations.

"When it comes to your family and friends, make every moment count, because the only moment we're guaranteed is the one we're living in," she said.

Kate Hogan and Mel Hoey run Made of Fridays - and say it's a privilege to explore their dream and passion of running a business and raise a family.

"If only the CEOs of the world could witness a mum at 7am making lunches, breakfasts, dressing kids, themselves, putting their make-up on, doing their hair, a load of washing on, sending emails, and throwing kids in the car all seemingly at the same time," Kate said. "Mums are the most productive people on this planet."

While the speakers spoke of their achievements in business, family and community, they also spoke about their experience of gender balance in the spheres they have moved in and the need for continued focus on this. 

Kathy Garland was managing editor of several newspapers and is raising five daughters. 

She says, "Balance for better for me means inclusion of all genders, all ethnicities and especially reasonable consideration for ourselves.

"In my daughters' future I don't even want to see a focus on female leaders, I just want a focus on leaders.

"Gender and cultural balance should be an accepted precondition."

Margot Jolly, museum consultant with heavy involvement in Landcare and the River Arts Festival, says everybody deserves to live in a community that supports every member.

"I would encourage every person to be the best version of themselves they can be, to love life and share their passion and run with it," she said.

Looking after yourself is a good place to start.

While all speakers touched on the need to find and maintain balance yourself, these two quotes summed it up beautifully.

"When you're feeling overwhelmed … stop and take a breath, focus on the job you've got to do and give it your best," Patty Paul said.

The other is doing the rounds of social media at present: Behind every great woman is another great woman replying to her frantic texts in the middle of the night.