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What Aussie women can learn from Gwendoline Christie’s Emmy Awards move

Actress Gwendoline Christie. Image: Getty

If there’s one thing actress Gwendoline Christie and her character Ser Brienne of Tarth have in common, it’s a desire to be in charge of their own future.

So when Game of Thrones’ owner, HBO decided not to put Christie forward for an Emmy Award nomination, Christie just did it herself.

“It’s something I find hard to do, like everyone else, but I would like to be in charge of my own destiny,” Christie told the LA Times.

“And I would like to endeavor to give myself opportunities. Particularly when working very hard on something very special and you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits.

“I truly never expected it to manifest in a nomination and I don’t think anybody else did either. But I just had to do it for me. And I had to do it as a testament to the character and what I feel she represents.”

Game of Thrones character Brienne of Tarth, played by Gwendoline Christie. Image: HBO

It’s a good lesson for Australian women, the CEO of Agenda Media and founding editor of Women’s Agenda, Angela Priestley told Yahoo Finance.

There’s no harm in going for an award, Priestley said, and entering alone presents an opportunity to consider everything you’ve achieved.

“You can wait and hope for somebody else to put yourself forward, or you can take control yourself and just do it,” Priestley said.

“Unfortunately though, some people will need permission from an employer to put themselves forward for an industry award, especially if there’s a cost involved. The first step is to ask. Don’t wait or expect somebody to come and tell you to do it because that may never happen.”

And while no two women are the same, Priestley said there is data to suggest that women are less likely to speak about their successes.

“Women may also share achievements in ways that are different to men, and that are less formal than what’s previously been expected or required in business awards programs or when applying for certain jobs.”

But, she added, this isn’t something that requires ‘fixing’.

Instead, award programs and hiring managers should rethink the way they use language and criteria to draw a larger range of candidates.

“We found this year we received a more diverse range of nominations for our Leadership Awards simply by moving away from it being solely a ‘self nominated’ process, and by encouraging people to nominate the talented women in their lives.”

Women’s Agenda is running its 7th Annual Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards next Friday 13 September.

How to nominate yourself for an award

Schedule it in your diary

“If time is a factor, then schedule in a slot in your diary to get it done, distraction free. Set a timer for 30 minutes and see how much of the application you can get through – you may find that it’s easier to do than you expected,” Priestley said.

Try to step outside yourself

You need to clearly outline your achievements. That means looking at yourself and your career objectively.

“It can feel uncomfortable doing so, but it’s important in terms of outlining what you’ve done. Use numbers and direct examples to note what you’ve done, be succinct and to the point.

“Consider the fact that judges could be looking at dozens of entries, how can you make yours stand out? How can you make it as easy and as simple as possible for them to see who you are and why you’re brilliant?”

Get writing

“The process could feel uncomfortable so just start, no matter how lacking you think your entry might be. Set aside the time and get writing – before you know it you could be one proof away from a great entry.”

Keep an eye on free awards

As Priestley noted - some awards can be expensive to enter.

“But there are free options available and it’s worthwhile tracking these down and giving them a go.”

Why should you nominate yourself for an award?

Beyond feelings of success and recognition, winning an award or being shortlisted is a solid line on a resume.

Priestley said that some of the winners of the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards have gone on to change roles and industries, with the award boost a major factor.

“We’ve also seen some of our award winners go on to get more media and speaking opportunities.

“But it’s not always only about winning,” she added.

“I believe just entering can help your employability – it involves you investing some time in yourself to articulate just what you have achieved. It gives clarity over what you can do and may even help you hone your key elevator pitch on who you are and what you’re about.

“Being named a finalist is also a huge win – it’s an opportunity to share this achievement across your professional profile, and also often a chance to engage with judges and finalists who you may otherwise never meet.”

Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 at the Shangri-La, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda for this groundbreaking event here.

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