Meet Young Businesswoman of the Year 2010, Janet Buhagiar

By Business Chicks | Apr 28, 11 01:35 PM

Janet Buhagiar won the 2010 National Telstra Business Womens Awards - Marie Claire Young Business Women’s Award. Business Chicks talks to the dynamic Janet to discover what makes her tick.

Name: Janet Buhagiar
Chief Executive Officer
St Vincent de Paul Society (NT) Inc
Northern Territory

Congratulations to winner of the National Marie Claire Young Business Women’s Award at the 2010 Telstra Business Women’s awards. How did you feel when they called out your name? To be perfectly honest I was in total shock! The reason for my shock was I had spent the last few days with the other finalists from around the country and having heard their stories of such inspirational achievement, I was convinced my "simple" and "ordinary" story wasn’t that inspirational. What I realised after winning the award was actually all our stories have the potential to be inspirational. As women (and men) making a difference and driving change in our respective industries, we have the potential to inspire others with our leadership, our behaviour and our vision.

What has winning this award meant for your career? Winning this award has given me permission to be proud of my achievements, and to be comfortable in accepting that I do have skills that I can and should share with others. Specifically with regards to my career, the award has given me greater confidence to push the boundaries, explore broader and perhaps nonconventional ways in which I can make a difference and has provided me with a visible platform to influence change.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? First, it's the alarm clock... Second (and which stops me from pressing snooze too many times) is the fact that I know I’m making a difference in people's lives. No matter how hard the day ahead seems, how full the diary appears, how complex or frustrating some of the meetings I will attend may be.... I know that in the end, I’m making a difference to people in a fundamental and often simple but profound ways.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? In my acceptance speech I said the following and upon reflection it still stands...

As I reflect on my time with Vinnies and reflect on what we have achieved collectively in terms of

1.  practical assistance to those most disadvantaged in our community in the emergency, short t long term outcomes

2.  increasing the infrastructure in place to support the needs of the community and services

3.  building a strong an stable financial base to allow for further growth ad proactive response t the needs as they present

4.  building capacity of our people

5.  and advocating on behalf of the many voiceless members of our community

I feel exceptionally proud… I feel proud of what we have achieved as a team, proud of my role in leading the challenge of status quo, pushing the boundaries in an environment that is often risk averse.

Why am I proud of what we have achieved? I’m proud because we have achieved all of this with integrity, we have been authentic and we have consistently delivered services and initiatives that reaffirms people matter…... and people do matter

People deserve to be a priority and we collectively have a responsibility and the gifts to contribute to making a difference. Not because we have to but because it matters…

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given (and by whom)? Being an extrovert, the best advice a wise mentor offered me once was to be comfortable with the moments of silence. Use those moments as an opportunity to listen, refine thoughts and respond in an informed way.

Another great piece of advice was to "pick your battles"...

What’s next for Janet Buhagiar? I have just accepted a role within the Department of Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Government as Director of Social Policy. I’m looking forward to taking on this strategic role and facilitating a whole government approach to long term social policy and outcomes.

Complete this sentence: “Success is reflecting on a meaningful outcome with a smile and knowing you helped make it happen…”


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