EMBRACING LIFE: Diana Ryall AM has spent her working life doing jobs she loves.
EMBRACING LIFE: Diana Ryall AM has spent her working life doing jobs she loves. Tim Lumsdaine

Working towards a legacy for the future

EVERYONE should have to write their own epitaph at about 50 years old to help them decide what they want to be remembered for.

That's just one of many ideas Xplore for Success founder and CEO Diana Ryall AM has to make this a better world in which to live, and to leave for our children and grandchildren.

It's this ongoing interest in, and passion to make the world a better place, which Diana said drives her and makes her one of the people over 70 who are Australia's happiest workers.

The managing director of Apple Australia from 1997-2001 and former head of Chief Executive Women's Talent Development Program (among many other accomplishments), said she was fortunate to have always worked in areas she loved, from her earliest days as a computer science and maths teacher.

She said she prized being part of the early days of the technological revolution and being at the forefront of supporting women's push towards equality in the workplace.

"My work is my passion," Diana said. "That's a true gift if you can work in something you love."

However, she is realistic that many people have to work at a job they may never enjoy simply because they need the money.

Others are forced unwillingly out of their jobs due to age or workplace modifications, often due to technological change and redundancy.

She said regardless of your job, it should not define your self-worth and you must have outside interests, whether family, environmental, sporting or cultural.

"For me, every day is stimulating and inspiring. I love what I do, I just do it a little more slowly now," Diana laughed.

"One of the things that keeps me young and up-to-date is continuing to work and have that connection with people of different ages."

Her interest in gender equality has led her to look at other areas of equality, including the influence of race, disability, age and sexual identification in the workplace.

While Australia has come a long way since she grew up under the White Australia Policy, she said there was no doubt a privilege bias remained towards the young Caucasian male and old values of the five-day working week.

"We need to truly embrace flexibility in our workplaces - whether it's for young mums, dads, people with disabilities or health problems or older people," Diana said.

She believes "an inclusive workplace culture would make gender diversity an issue of the past" and lead the way to a brighter, happier Australia.

"If I can look at what I've achieved and say, I have paved the way and given a hand up to other women to be successful in the future, then that's my legacy," Diana said.

Everyone's legacy to future generations will be different, but whether it's working for a cause, parents minding grandchildren so their children can go to work and get ahead, or volunteering at charities and investing time in helping others, Diana said everyone - working or retired - should think about what they are doing to leave Australia, and the world a better place.

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