With perfect timing to round out my Women in Media theme of the week, Australia’s own Queen of Media, Ita Buttrose OBE AO, has been crowned Australian of the Year and says she will use the recognition to drive community change. Like many Australians, I grew up watching Ita on TV advertising editions of Women’s Weekly and, for young girls in any case, she was the one we all wanted to be. Elegant, poised and painted nails! That was before I learned of her career achievements, which really earned her the respect of business leaders the world over. News of her appointment broke as I was driving home on Friday from my adventure co-hosting Sydney Live with Ben Fordham (a huge thanks to Ben for taking a punt and putting Kayley and me live on air with you; and while it was all for fun this time we hope to be back on-air soon taking on serious issues from a woman’s perspective). But back to Ita and all of her amazing achievements which include:
- In 1965 being appointed women’s editor of the Telegraph at just 23 years of age
- In 1971 being appointed the founding editor of Cleo, which was an instant success selling its entire original print run in just 2 days when it launched in 1972 complete with nude male centerfolds and frank articles on female sexuality an other topics that women clearly wanted to discuss
- In 1975 becoming the youngest person ever to be appointed editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly, at the time (per capita) the largest-selling magazine in the world
- In 1979 being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
- In 1981 becoming the first female editor of a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia when she jumped ship to Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
- From 1984 until 1988, Buttrose was the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS, responsible for the terrifyingly successful Grim Reaper awareness commercials
- In 1988, becoming an Officer fo the Order of Australia (AO)
- In 2003, being awarded the Centenary Medal
Ita Buttrose has contributed tirelessly throughout her career to community causes including her current role as President of Alzheimer’s Australia, and is a prolific author of 9 books, and is a wonderful role model and ambassador for all Australians. I really do hope that her appointment will mean we hear more of her and her voracious opinions throughout 2013.
Here’s a clip courtesy of Commonwealth Bank’s CAN Stories which I think gives a flavour of why we all love Ita, her humility and her determination to make a difference:
What are your thoughts on the appointment of Ita Buttrose as our Australian of the Year? Have you met her or worked with her? Or maybe you're just an admirer. Love to hear from you!