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Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster and author based in Sydney, Australia. She hosts The Drum on ABCTV and writes columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the International New York Times. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications including Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian, the Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald, The Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar. Her much lauded biography of Queen Victoria was released in 2017.
“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
Baird was based in the USA until 2011, working at Newsweek as columnist and deputy editor. She began work at the magazine as senior editor for Science, Society and Ideas. She edited and wrote cover stories on subjects including human evolution, the history of climate change denial, the mysterious lives of surrogate mothers, the politics of transgender, the significance of 1968, and the then vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, as well as a profile of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. In 2010 she moved with her family to Philadelphia and worked as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
She began her career in journalism at the Sydney Morning Herald, where she worked as a columnist, oped editor, education reporter and election editor. In 2006 and again at the end of 2011 she was the host of the in depth interview radio program “Sunday Profile” on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2012, she covered the US presidential campaign in Iowa for The Monthly, the ABC, and the Sun-Herald.
In 2005, Baird was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press and Public Policy at Harvard, researching the global response to American opinion in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Her Ph.D., on female politicians and the press, formed the basis of her book, Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians (2004). Baird has also taught history (20th century cultural history and personal narratives, involving the study of letters, diaries and journals), and made radio documentaries on subjects as diverse as black metal music and convent education.
Baird received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in history from Sydney University. She is a regular commentator on television and radio.
Most requested keynote:
HOW TO LEAD DELIBERATELY:How to transform workplaces by changing the way we think about leadership, and each other.
How do you do this?
Is it different to living deliberately?
Gone is the compartmentalising of work selves and real selves; we want to make our work count, and have an impact every day. Research tells us to be strong, ethical, deliberate leaders, people need to model selfless behaviour, reflect on the way they use their position, feel accountable and be empathetic. And kind. The latest studies about how to prompt people to do things for other people, to foster a culture of loyalty and decency, where colleagues matter, is to do it yourself. Maybe we need to think about leadership as the spreading of contagion. Kindness is, after all, a muscle that needs to be exercised.
But we can be powerfully affected by watching acts of decency. Those quick to take responsibility, shoulder blame, recognize how mistakes occur. Those who are accommodating of those undergoing personal crises, mental health battles that may take months if not sometimes years. These are the workplaces that impress us.
The researchers found that leaders, by ethical behavior, can promote what they call “virtuous upward spirals”.
So in your workplaces: challenge stereotypes, be skeptical of confidence, err towards kindness and never underestimate the impact of what it means to see a person in a position of power be decent, respectful and work hard.