Best investment is yourself

(From left) Wendy Brown, Anne Clare, Julia Alexander, Ann Janssen, Ann-Maree David and Justine Fletcher were part of the panel. Photo: Geoff McLeod

Investing in yourself and taking time for self-reflection were important tips for women to achieve greater economic inclusion, advised Estate First Special Counsel Ann Janssen, at yesterday’s Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) panel in Brisbane.

Ann was part of an International Women’s Day Queensland Seminar, based on this year’s UN theme of Count Her In. Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress, along with Wendy Brown from Macquarie Bank, Julia Alexander, of the Act2Project, Anne Clare from Ardour Financial Advice and facilitator Ann-Maree David of the College of Law.

The experienced estate planning lawyer said personality profile tests such as DISC and Myers-Briggs were useful tools and had their place.

“You can’t always see yourself accurately,” she told the Law Society House audience. “You may have talents you didn’t realise you had.

“You may find you can set up your own business. It is the best thing I did. Spend time with yourself and get to know who you are and who you are not.

“You will find gold and pursue that.”


Other tips from the panel:

  • Checking in regularly with a recruiter as a safety net to check you are being paid what you are worth. This may make you feel less vulnerable in your current position;
  • Have a realistic budget and stick to it as much as possible. Don’t spend more than you earn, take control and you’ll “feel like a million bucks”;
  • Start taking control of your finances now – do not to wait. Age doesn’t matter.

All the panellists spoke about the importance of mentors, networks and circles of influence.

Ann said the best thing that could happen to women in the workforce was finding a boss or leader who was also a mentor who would give opportunities.

“That opportunity then gives you the chance to shine,” she said. “You can’t have it spoon-fed, you can’t be ushered along the path to stardom but you have to be given an opportunity.

“If you want a mentor to give you opportunity, make sure you are lessening their workload and if you do that they are going to help you. It’s a bit of a two-way street.”

Ann went on to say she had mentored hundreds of young lawyers, and that it was one of her favourite things as “they have to sit and listen to me”, she joked. “And I love that.”


She said the most wonderful reward for a mentor was for people “to soak it up like a sponge” and see them actioning advice and progressing.

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