Emma Macdonald

Q1) Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a journalist by day – Associate Editor of HerCanberra, and a maternal health advocate by night – I am the co-founder of Send Hope Not Flowers. I am also passionate about women in my industry and am convener of Women in Media Canberra. I have two beautiful kids and a husband. If I had any spare time I would take a yoga class but who am I kidding…

Q2) Tell us about what you do, and why you do it

 I do everything I do because I love it. Getting to write every day about the incredible people and places of my hometown of Canberra is something that sparks joy. I can’t imagine getting up in the morning and turning up to a job that didn’t enthuse or energise me or help me make a positive impact. Advocating for better maternal health services around the world is something I am passionate about. Did you know that one woman dies every two minutes from complications of pregnancy and childbirth somewhere in the world? Our charity raises money for safe birth programs and basic maternity services for women in eight developing countries around the world. No matter what is going on in my life, I always find the energy to keep raising money and awareness for Send Hope.

Q3) What makes you feel courageous?

Knowing that the hard work I put in actually can make a difference. My journalism is an outlet for my creative expression and also informing the city and the nation about important issues. Over my career I have broken some pretty big stories that have changed the lives of many people. Not that it was easy at the time to withstand political pressure that comes with breaking those stories. In my volunteer work, I feel proud to have helped other women come up through the media industry and to share in that same privilege and power I have enjoyed. But I have to say few things can compare to know the difference me and our tiny Send Hope Not Flowers team has made in countries such as PNG, where our work has been demonstrated to have saved the lives of countless mothers who might otherwise have died. And if you want to talk about courage, we should consider these women, who face such enormous challenges just trying to bring a new life into the world.

Q4) What is one thing you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?

Sleep now while you have the chance. Also, you are going to face enormous challenges that will feel destined to break you at the time. You won’t break. You will amaze yourself with how strong you will become.

Q5) What is one piece of advice you can give a fellow lady who might be lacking courage?

Surround yourself with only the finest and truest of friends. The ones who elevate you. There will always be those hangers-on, who seek you out for what you can give them. These are not your people – they are merely opportunists. Your people will love you no matter what and will never expect anything in return. That is the true gift of friendship. And that will give you courage.

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