||Former Olympian, broadcaster and author, Lisa Forrest, has been successfully managing change all her life. The rapidly changing landscape of Olympic sport during the mid-1970’s meant that Australia’s amateur athletes, like Lisa, had to reconcile competing on a world stage against increasingly professional (and drug-fuelled) competitors.
That was before the disruption to training while campaigning – as the 16 year old captain of the women’s Olympic swim team – against the Malcolm Fraser government, and much of the media’s call for a boycott of the Moscow Games, due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the years that followed her retirement she was the trailblazer for high-profile female athletes moving from sport into the media – a path that had only available to retired football players and cricketers before Lisa.
In 1986, she landed the role of host of Saturday Afternoon Football on ABCTV, and at just 22, became the first woman to be made full-time anchor of a national sports program. Never one to shy away from change, she moved on from sport when offered the role of roving reporter on The Midday Show with Ray Martin, and has since hosted a range of TV and radio programs, returning to sport for Commonwealth and Olympic Games duties – most recently as one of the hosts of the Foxtel’s coverage of the 2012 London Games.
In between her media commitments Lisa pursued her passion for the creative arts, studying acting in New York through the early-90’s, she performed in TV and on stage, before publishing her first novel for teenagers in 2000, Making the Most of It. She has since published four more novels, including Boycott, a non-fiction account of the controversial months leading up to the 1980 Moscow Games and most recently, Inheritance, a fantasy adventure set in the circus. Both were written while managing the changing demands of a young son.
While her career choices have been diverse, Lisa has not disrupted her life, over and over again, for the sake of it. Rather she would say that curiosity has been her guiding force – to try to swim faster, to be the interviewer rather than the interviewee, to play a character other than herself, or write a story like those she enjoys reading. Staying curious, trusting her instincts, not getting bogged down in the way things should be, and being open to the possibility of the new, is the way she has managed change.
Lisa has recently combined a professional coaching course with her own life experience and created a framework for delivering successful goal outcomes for the individuals and teams she works with.Lisa Forrest is many things to many people: actor, author, emcee, TV and radio presenter, interviewer, mother, Olympian. Altogether that makes for something rare to find in these homogenised times: a true individual.
I think Lisa’s keynote address lasted for almost an hour – but I could have listened for two. Her engagement with the audience was brilliant: she was insightful, funny, inspiring. She had the audience absolutely silent, occasionally in tears one minute, and rolling around with laughter the next.
Mark McLeod, President, The Children’s Book Council of Australia
We had a senior management conference last week and heard from the likes of John McGrath, Adam Spencer (JJJ radio) etc all designed to inspire innovative thinking. It was refreshing last night to hear someone so clearly and colourfully remind us we are individuals, empowered to follow our own path. I went home feeling privileged to have heard Lisa’s story and continue to reflect on it.
Greg Isaacs, ABN AMRO
ABN AMRO employees have been fortunate enough to listen to some very high calibre speakers over the last couple of years, but there is no doubt that Lisa was the most inspiring of them all. Her story, her delightful manner, her humour…what a wonderful combination. I have long been a fan, but am even more so now!
Sharon Clarke, ABN AMRO
Many of the boys who heard her speak have commented very favourably on the ‘life skills’ aspect of her presentation, as have mothers, telling me about their sons’ reactions. Sometimes we forget that the boys need to be able to talk about their emotional lives and hear from an outsider that it is OK to have feelings. I especially thank her for that.
Sue Richer, Senior Librarian, Newington College
To contact Lisa Forrest for radio, television, corporate or presentation engagements contact Peter Wall at Wall Media on 0408489057.