24 July, 2014

Positive role models - my aunt (Role Model Series I)

My previous post prompted a number of women to reflect on the positive role models of their childhood, and those who brought them hope or comfort through their IF journey - aunts, cousins, friends and neighbours, bloggers and authors, mothers and non-mothers.  If you haven't, I encourage you to read the comments.  They are full of love for those women, their role models, and will make you smile.

I mentioned my aunt, and wanted to honour her a little more.  Mother of one, a cousin who was always a favourite, but grew up too far away, on exotic islands and in busy cities.  Like me, she grew up in a small rural area a long way from any major city, and yet went on to university and a career.  Now in her 70s, she has only recently retired.  She was a successful journalist, climbing to a senior position in our national broadcasting organisation.  I remember the time she was profiled in a very prominent national magazine, and was so proud I knew her.  

She was always very softly, deliberately spoken, a contrast to her loquacious and adventurous husband who took her on adventures to the Pacific Islands in the 1960s.  She was never a stereotypical pushy, aggressive journalist, but a thoughtful, polite, sensitive one.  She emphasised to me that it wasn't necessary to match these stereotypes to succeed, and that there were always different ways to get results.  I remembered this when I was working as a diplomat and later businessperson.  In these bastions of male domination, working in less than liberal parts of Asia, I was able to achieve as a woman, not by emulating the strategies of my male counterparts, but by working in a different way, to my advantage.  I think, over the years, my aunt had also prepared me for being different, for not doing what was expected, and showed me that it was okay.

Rather than make this a long post listing women who were role models or who said or did something that helped me through my life and my journey, I think I'll do a short series of my own personal role models.   In the meantime though, feel free to mention yours in the comments here, or on your blogs.  We all need role models; people to look up to, people who help us navigate our way through life's difficulties, people who make a difference.


  1. Great post! I actually wrote one along these lines last year:


    1. That's right. You must have been my inspiration!

  2. I was just starting to picture her "the wrong way" (the typical way) when you started describing how different she was. What an amazing woman! LOVE the point about different ways to get results. I salute you, too, Mali, for being able to incorporate her life lessons into your life. You've certainly made a huge difference in my life even though we haven't met. :-) You've inspired me in many many ways.

  3. My best role model was my grandpa. When we told him we were approved to adopt he told us to remember that no matter where our child came from to remember one thing... All his grandchildren look just like him. I knew at that moment we had his full support and he would have loved our child regardless. It also made it that much more heartbreaking when our adoption fell through. But I'll never forget the love he showed that day.