Q&A with Fleur Anderson

by Sussan, Thursday 26 Sep 2019

In August, Sussan hosted an intimate dinner to celebrate women and encourage conversation around female empowerment. Our guests shared personal insights, advice, tips and words of wisdom.

Lisa Messenger, Founder and Editor in Chief at Collective Hub, led a panel conversation where she spoke with a group of inspiring women including Australian Cotton Farmer Fleur Anderson.

Fleur shared her thoughts on the importance of uplifting others, learning to trust in her gut intuition, and what it means to be a woman today.

What does it mean to you to be strong, powerful, confident?
For me, it's to be comfortable in your skin and to know what you stand for. I'm involved in a traditionally male-dominated industry, so I have had to work on this. To be strong, powerful and confident is to be me and not try to be ‘one of the boys’. I know that I have value to bring to the table that comes in a different form, that for some can be considered a weakness, but I see it as my advantage. Diversity in thought and perspective is so important; the cotton industry is quite an inclusive industry and has a higher than normal involvement of young people and women.

Is there one trait that you've witnessed that helps propel women forward?
The woman that lifts others around her; the more I take others with me, the further I go. If you see potential or recognise good work in others, it's easy to let them know and spread the word about how great they are. It's a win-win!

What does being a woman mean to you today?
I feel a great sense of responsibility at the moment. I listen to stories of my Mum at my age and how far we have come. I have a 10-year-old daughter and hope that I can continue to pave the way for her, and when she is my age, she will look back and think the same. Perhaps the part that I find most encouraging is that the definition of what a woman could or should be has widened significantly, and that's exciting.

How do you nurture yourself?
Nurturing myself is something that I am working on. Sometimes, I feel as though it's just another thing to add to the list of things that I'm not doing well enough. I have young kids, work is busy, and I travel a lot. So, I guess one way I nurture myself is simply by being kind to myself. I try to be kinder in the way that I talk to myself, and I've gotten a lot better at saying no to things over the past few years. I'm a work in progress!

What is your view on resilience, tenacity, and is it true that hardships or setbacks can be used as fuel to make us stronger?
I do believe that resilience is a muscle and that each setback is an opportunity to exercise it through the decisions that you make in response to those events. It's much easier said than done.

How important is it to trust your gut and intuition?
It's vital! I always try to listen to my gut feeling on something in the first instance and then give that a good examining before I run away with it. I'm the person that always thinks the best of everyone and don't see why something is not as it appears. My husband and I have a good laugh about some of the jams that I've gotten myself into due to it. I have had to learn to tune into my gut a little better and work out what alarm bells or signs it's trying to give me.

Who are three women who inspire you and why?
There are so many; I guess it depends on what's happening at the time. Right now, I love watching these three women: Fiona Simpson - Fiona is the Chair of the National Farmers Federation. I love her style of leadership, the fresh voice that she gives and her amazing advocacy. I am often in admiration of people who tirelessly advocate for others. Ash Barty - I have loved watching Ash and the way that she handles herself on and off the court. What a role model! I love how she is confident in her abilities and can keep it real. In a world full of poorly behaved sports stars, Ash Barty has restored my faith. And of course, my daughter Tilly, who inspires and motivates me to keep growing personally and be the best I can for my family. That's what it's all about at the end of the day.

What is your superpower?
I work from home most days during school hours, so I've developed the keen superpower of being able to compartmentalise my life. To ignore washing piles and dirty floors during school hours when work needs to be done; does that count? I can also peel a prawn in seconds, and eat a mango without a serviette, which are survival skills for a Queenslander!