Dr Anne Aly has a board in her Curtin office that lists her 10 or 11 major projects for the next twelve months. “I try to write about six papers for journals a year,” she said.
If that sounds overwhelming, you shouldn’t be surprised. Dr Aly’s drive to succeed is what got her listed on Scoop’s list of WA Women of Success earlier this year. And she is not alone.
In 2008, a young Curtin student was awarded the Thompson Learning Best Marketing Honours Graduate award. It was by no means her first coup having previously won a John Curtin Undergraduate Scholarship.
Lorissa Kelly is now the chief of staff for John Day, WA’s Minister for Planning, Culture and the Arts. She was also included in the Scoop list with Dr Aly, Professor Jeanette Hacket, Dr Joan Winch and Hayley Warren.
Ms Kelly cited the scholarship and the ability to study abroad in Canada during her Curtin degree as important to her success. “The opportunity that Curtin gave me to expand my world view was probably one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had,” she said.
Scoop’s editor Mr David Hogan stated that their criteria for choosing the women were that they had to be successful, inspiring and have contributed to their local or wider community.
Each woman has done this albeit in a huge but often understated manner. Ms Warren invented a more accurate measuring tool for joint injuries and Dr Joan Winch established the Mara Mooditj Program (formerly the Aboriginal Health Workers Education Program) in 1983. Dr Aly helped found both People Against Violent Extremism and Beyond Bali. Curtin’s own Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket has been awarded an Order of Australia for her commitment to improving higher education accessibility for all.
“I was quite honoured,” said Dr Aly about being included on the list. “It was quite humbling to find that people were measuring what you have done against the successes of all these wonderful women.”
For Dr Aly, it started with an Early Career Research Fellowship from Curtin and a subsequent ARC grant. “It has allowed me to develop the research and a research team and to help them further their careers. We want the best people working on this so we try to support them.”
These women are also high achievers. Once an idea shows up, it’s followed through to the end. Ms Warren is now running a business to sell her invention. Dr Aly researches counter-terrorism and also sits on the boards of The Council for Australian Arab Relations and the WA Chapter of the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Even retirement doesn’t stop them as is clear with Dr Winch who has now set up an Indigenous maternal and infant health service in Kalgoorlie.
What drives them? Ms Kelly stated that it was knowing she was lucky to be an Australian citizen and have opportunities. Dr Aly stated that there are different paths to success. “It’s not something you stop and think about – you just do it,” she said.
“I just want to make a difference,” she laughed.
And that’s just yet another thing all five women have in common.
Further information: Scoop’s List of WA Women of Success