Balance for a better world
The world changed for North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chair Julie Miller Markoff when she was in Grade 6.
“My teacher was great. I learnt a lot from him, as did the whole class,” she said.
“I then discovered that the other Grade 6 teacher, a woman, was paid less than him. To me, they seemed similar, and were doing the same job.
“I was outraged. I was outraged at the idea of unequal pay. I didn’t know why she did it.
“From that day I thought I wouldn’t put up with that. I have never believed I was not as good as a boy.”
That outrage and passion led Julie into proactive and bold philanthropy, and paving the way for a new generation of disruptors.
Not only is she the North Central CMA’s first female Chair, she is a Founder and Director of bHive co-operative – Australia’s first platform cooperative – and a Founding member of the Melbourne Women’s Fund, the first Giving Circle for women in Australia.
“We are interested in providing funding to make powerful change for women” she said.
“Collectively, small amounts of our money can have a big impact. We have provided $435,000 in four years, including to projects such as HerSpace.
“HerSpace focusses on restoring the mental health of women coming out of sex work. It’s the kind of focus that mainstream philanthropy steers away from.
“We’ve also funded projects that help keep women out of the prison system. Women go to prison more often, and for longer, than men.”
Julie’s interest in the cutting edge doesn’t just revolve around her charity work. Her business, The Leadership Studio, offers leadership coaching and advice to people and organisations wanting to take on disruption.
“Innovation in the networked society requires new ways of leading, and we want these new leaders to be secure, connected and well resourced,” she said.
“For us, it’s about bringing the heart, mind and courage together, in the leadership of disruption.
“It’s about creating value for what the world needs now. That’s why water for the environment is very important to me. It’s something only the North Central CMA does in our region and it has huge value to our communities.”
Julie will mark International Women's Day on March 8 with a special event at the North Central CMA, sharing her leadership stories.