Have courage to be the change: Natalie Walker | 2014 Women, Management and Work conference


Tune into who you are, see what you want to change and have the courage to be the change, says Natalie Walker, founder and Managing Director of Inside Policy and an Indigenous Advisory Board Member to the National Australia Bank.

Speaking at this week’s 2014 Women, Management and Work conference organised by Macquarie University, Natalie shared the story of how she was ignited at a young age by her passion for rectifying the injustice she witnessed in the world — and wanted to work for the UN to make a change.

Her specific focus was on the Indigenous community and — believing everyone should dream and dream big — Natalie had her eyes set on working with the UN, but expected a 30-year journey to do so.

However at just 22, Natalie found herself doing just that… working with the UN because she shared her vision with as many people as possible; and one just happened to be the decision-maker on a delegation headed to the UN.

Since then Natalie has founded and is the Managing Director of Inside Policy, a company that brings together inventive minds from a range of disciplines to help you solve complex — even seemingly intractable — social, cultural and economic policy problems.

Achieving a goal at such an early age had a snowball effect on Natalie’s career and she shared with the conference her strategies on how to achieve your dreams too:


  1. Be really tuned into who you are, understand it and embrace it

For Natalie, this was strong sense of social justice. When she expressed her passion to make a change in this area and voiced her disgust with the injustice of the system, she was told by a male boss “You can’t do anything about it — just accept it and move on”. That prompted her decision that the way for her to make a difference was to go to the UN. And she did.


  1. Have a coalition of people around you

You need people around you who will support you, no matter what: people who will also be your sponsor and believe in what you want to achieve, connect you to the right people and become advocates for you in different circles.

Family is also important. Natalie was raised in a family of small business owners, to which she attributes her work ethic and mentality to just ‘get stuff done’ and always be a self-starter.


  1. Have courage (to do it)

The final point Natalie mentioned — and believes is the most important — is to have courage. Have the courage to not be afraid to fail, which was her biggest personal challenge in the past two years (conquered of course).

As we have discussed before, there is a dark side to success and people often find reasons to hate you for achieving your goals. Natalie lost friendships and even personal relationships because she gave her everything to ‘making it’. Courage is built over time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Natalie reminds business women and career women globally to remember the feeling of putting your mind to something and then achieving it. Never let go of that feeling and let it drive you along.

Natalie’s ultimate message is to:

  • think about what change you want to see,
  • visualise it
  • share that dream widely, as you never know when peeople you are sharing it with may help
  • and to the more senior women: support the younger women and don’t be dream squashers, instead be dream enablers


Natalie WalkerNatalie has over 15 years of experience across small business, government, not for profit and corporate sectors in various management and non-executive roles. Her organisation Inside Policy, is actively involved in key advising roles for the likes of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, Indigenous Business Australia and City of Sydney. In 2012, Natalie was named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence.

About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit


  1. Irina D

    March 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Great piece, Natalie! The conference was excellent, too.

  2. Penny

    March 30, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Courage is everyting

  3. Sally Gardner

    March 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Courage alone won’t do it, Penny. You need resilience too,

  4. Val H

    March 30, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    I think courage is important, Penny, but by itself not enough.

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