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Natarsha Belling on first breaks, family and leadership lessons

Natarsha Belling on first breaks, family and leadership lessons

We catch up with one of our favourite women.

BY Business Chicks, February 4, 2018
 

Natarsha Belling is one of our favourite women. The Channel Ten presenter has been in our inner circle for years, hosting countless events with some of our most high profile guests. Warm, engaging, and one of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet in the television industry, Tarsh has graced our tv screens since her first break at age 21. She now has more than two decades of experience reporting and breaking some of the nation’s biggest stories.I’m Natarsha Belling, a journalist, and Channel Ten news presenter.

From the age of about three, I knew I wanted to be a journalist…

I just always loved asking questions, which made me a very, very difficult child. I always loved asking why to find out more information. And I guess as I continued through school, something that was burning in my belly was fighting injustice. I think the media more than ever play an incredibly important role in keeping governments and power brokers in check and also fighting injustice.

I read my first bulletin at 21 with about half an hour’s notice, which in hindsight was the best way to do it…

Rosemary Church, who was a wonderful newsreader who now works at CNN, used to suffer terribly from migraines and they said, ‘you’re going to have to read the bulletin,’ and I said, ‘you’re joking, aren’t you?’ I was shaking so hard. When I first started reading the news in Darwin, Rosemary used to help me after her news bulletin and go through all my reading tapes and give me some lovely feedback; she was extraordinarily supportive.

I was very, very fortunate that I grew up in a very, very loving supportive family…

Am I competitive by nature? Absolutely, but I’ve found through experience, often those screaming from the rooftops about supporting the sisterhood sometimes behind the scenes aren’t actually that supportive in my personal experience. I’ve found, behind the scenes, incredibly supportive women who are supporting one another, not to raise their profile, but actually to be kind and generous people.

I think we’re at a really extraordinary time in history…

I think it’s an extraordinary time in history, but for me, my biggest concern is there going to be real change? It’s all well and good for us to have the conversation. It’s great. We’re having a very, very important conversation, but I think we’re only scratching the surface and the only concern that I have is that a lot of powerful power brokers are still unchecked.

“It’s about having a really honest conversation because this comes down to a lack of respect. It’s a lack of respect on many frontiers. It’s a lack of respect for women, it’s a lack of respect for equality, and it’s a lack of respect for feeling safe in workplaces.”

There has to be systematic change, and that’s not just for women. I think what a lot of people are missing, which is critical, is (I’m married to a wonderful husband and have two beautiful sons) that whether we like it or not, this is about equality, so men actually have to be part of the conversation. And I think if we want to have systematic change, that’s where change will occur. And it’s about having a really honest conversation, because this comes down to a lack of respect. It’s a lack of respect on many frontiers. It’s a lack of respect for women, it’s a lack of respect for equality, and it’s a lack of respect for feeling safe in workplaces. So I think the movement is wonderful, but it’s important that it’s a safe and equal place for men and women once the dust settles.

You get to see a true leader shine in the most difficult circumstances…

And I think that’s exactly the same as a great journalist or a great broadcaster, when everything is falling apart behind the scenes is when you see real talent shine. That’s our job, you know? Breaking news is when you are getting little bits of information that sometimes history can be unfolding right before your very eyes. It’s not about being first to the story; it’s about providing your audience with accurate information that you deliver with authority and empathy.

I think connection is something that, more than ever, on so many different levels we are missing…

I think it’s got to do with the influence of the internet, I think it’s got to do with the influence of social media, of growing selfishness or narcissism in our society is we believe we are more connected than ever, but I think we are missing in our world that deep human connection. And I think a lot of especially younger people feel disenfranchised or disillusioned. And coming from the country, human connection and a sense of community are vital. So I think that’s something we need to start to appreciate more in our world.

I think we’ve been lucky enough to, as many generations to not go through extraordinary hardships that, say, my grandparents’ generation went through…

I think we need to express greater gratitude for the many gifts we live with in this world today – that being overall, peace. We need to reinforce how blessed we are to younger generations.

We need to get back to those fundamentals where, certainly my grandparents’ generation was far more, to me, focused on what was important in life, and that was family, health, and happiness rather than living in narcissistic world where it’s profit and materialism above everything else.

My greatest role models are my parents…

I’ve learned more life lessons from them than I have from anyone else. As I get more mature, I’ve come to realise they have their priorities in check, and I think you get this wisdom much later in life. It’s when you become a parent; you realise what your parents went through. Then you think, “Oh, okay, now I know why you did that or said that.”

So for me, their wisdom and life advice have been life-changing and saving for me.

I think parenting is one of the most joyful but challenging roles you’ll ever encounter…

I think we all are stabbing around in the dark. We all make mistakes, but I remember one parenting expert said to me years and years ago when I was interviewing them on a morning show. They said, “If you’re finding parenting easy, you’re not doing a good job.”

I don’t know if that’s factually correct, but I’m sticking with that. Our youngest still doesn’t sleep properly, and he’s 10. So I go with this theory that people who don’t sleep are very gifted.

I had an absolutely extraordinary boss when I returned from maternity leave at Channel Ten…

Ten was incredibly supportive, and it was great, but look, I’ll be honest, I really, really struggled with trying to juggle a pretty full-on on-air job, and when you’re on the air, you really can’t bluff it.

I think, like all of us, we were juggling and had all the balls up in the air and what I hadn’t learned yet, is that some days those balls are going to come crashing down. And if they do, you just go, “it’s one of those days and tomorrow is a new day.”

I loved it – and I had an incredibly supportive workplace. And for me also, returning to the workplace I’m far more efficient as a working mother. You also bring a whole new wealth of experience to relate to your audience. I’m very, very passionate about issues now that I never was before I became a parent. Because you see the world through different eyes.

It’s very cliché, but definitely, the birth of my boys, Harrison and Hugo has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me…

I think a whole new piece of your heart opens to have a whole new depth of love for your partner as you raise them together because you get to see your partner through different eyes as well. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my husband play with the boys. Seriously, I can often have a very, very challenging day at work where we’ve, unfortunately, delivered a lot of very confronting and heartbreaking news. And walking through the door and seeing their smiling faces they are truly what life is about for me.

I want my boys to grow up to be first and foremost, respectful…

That is, respectful for the more mature in our society and that, I think, often we underestimate the incredible wisdom of our more mature generation who has wonderful words of advice that we often ignore at our own peril. And I would love them too, of course, be happy, but also to be emotionally intelligent. I think that is incredibly important.

And to add to the happiness is to follow their passion, whatever that passion may be. If you’re lucky enough to find a job in an industry, they’re passionate about, that’s a pretty incredible blessing.

 

Our interview with Natarsha is part of the ongoing partnership between Business Chicks and Truvée. With a shared philosophy of the power and potential of women working together, both brands are passionate about celebrating women who follow their passions and go after what matters most.

A group of seven women (known as the Truvée Collective) are responsible for launching Truvée in Australia, click here to find out more about our partnership.

 
 
 
 
 

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