Sharing their lessons in life
Tammy Hamawi says she is humbled at being named in such illustrious company.
The Gold Coaster has been selected among the “influential achievers” in a new book featuring 50 leading Australian women and their insights on life, love and the world.
Known as the “Queen of Shipping”, Ms Hamawi built a career in the male-dominated world of international freight.
“I started as a rookie in 1985, hoping to have a three-month summer job,” she says.
In the next 24 years, she rose to become a major shareholder, general manager and director of the Pacific Direct Line – building it into one of the most successful cargo companies trading between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands – before selling her stake to a Singaporean firm.
She is now managing director of Tribunity, a Southport-based consultancy specialising in leadership and entrepreneurship training throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Ms Hamawi says the key lesson she has learnt in life is: “It’s up to me!”
Her thoughts are included alongside those of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, fashion designers Carla Zampatti and Collette Dinnigan, racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse, actor Sigrid Thornton, singer Kasey Chambers and Aboriginal magistrate Pat O’Shane.
She is one of a dozen or so Queensland-based or raised achievers among the 50 interviewed for the book Women’s Words of Wisdom, Power and Passion, to be launched on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
Others include Australia Zoo chief Terri Irwin, triathlete Emma Snowsill and coal company boss Nicole Hollows. The interviewees range from 27-year-old international model Miranda Kerr to 90-year-old Paula Stafford, who invented the bikini.
“It’s a mix of people who are well-known and others who should be,” said author Karen Phillips, a former journalist and TV presenter who has run one of Australia’s longest-running business clubs – Early Risers – on the Gold Coast for 18 years.
The project was inspired when her friend, Gold Coast restaurateur Christine Fortelny, was battling cancer two years ago.
“She was having a very serious operation and may not have made it through. It got me thinking about what she would really like to say to friends and family, so I came up with asking her 20 questions about what life meant and her thoughts on love and happiness and if she could do it all again, what would she do. If you could share what was in your heart, what would that be?”
Fortunately, Ms Fortelny survived the operation.
When singer Olivia Newton-John attended a charity event in Queensland last year, Ms Phillips asked her similar questions and the entertainer agreed to be part of a book.
“Women of all ages, no matter what level of success they are at, are after mentors and the ability to learn. We’d all like an hour with a famous person if we could to ask questions to help with our own journey.”
There are pearls of wisdom and great insights.
“And as a mate of mine said, blokes should read this book because it’s a bible on women,” Ms Phillips says.
The strongest message from the book, she says, is that “if you believe in something and you want it enough, you must follow it.
“You don’t need to be a millionaire to be successful but you have to believe in yourself.
“Interviewing these incredible women, I learnt that they had bad-hair days, they had difficult days, days they wish would just pass and they look forward to tomorrow just as regular people do.”
The author had to overcome and major challenge to complete the book after breaking her back in a fall while in Bali.
“Doctors said I was fortunate to live, let alone walk. That made me realise there were probably things I had left unsaid in my 45 years on earth.”
Website www.womenswords.com will be launched in about a week to allow ordinary women to share their stories of empowerment and inspiration.
Ten per cent of all profits from the book will go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.
Sunday Mail March 6, 2011