Season 2 of the Footprints of Leadership podcast is currently in production, due to be launched on September 7, 2021. Our host for the second season is Ash Gardner, a journalist and newsreader with a passion for storytelling. We sat down with Ash to discuss leadership, the Footprints podcast, and her approach to interviews.
You have had an amazing career already in news and media: can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’ve worked as a journalist and newsreader for 11 years, across both radio and television. My first job was at Star FM in Mildura, where my love for radio was born. I moved to Albury, Shepparton and eventually back to Melbourne where I worked at Fox FM before jumping across to the AM dial on 3AW. Now, I call Nova home where I read the news for Chrissie, Sam and Browny in the morning and join Deano and Jack for “The Early Show”.
In hosting the Footprints podcast, you’re speaking with some amazing leaders across different fields. What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership is about showing initiative and standing up to take charge when a sense of direction is lacking. Leadership isn’t always about being the loudest voice, it’s about recognising the strengths of those around you. I really believe in the power of encouraging and empowering people to harness their own unique abilities. I think that is as equally important as being able to take charge yourself.
In what ways are you a leader in your own life and work?
I’ve been lucky enough to be in leadership positions, both through work and my extracurricular activities. I’ve found myself in roles where I’ve had to develop my own leadership style. I managed a team of reporters, producers and editors in one of my previous roles, and I was also in the leadership group when I was playing footy; showing leadership on the field and advocating for players off the field was a big part of this. I find leading and managing people to be really rewarding.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve taken from the interviewees while recording for the Footprints podcast?
I loved interviewing Penny Cula-Reid (episode 3, out 21 September). Her tip to ‘back yourself’ really resonated with me. I think imposter syndrome creeps in when we’re thrust into a leadership role or a new challenge. It’s important to remember we’re in that role or we were given that opportunity for a reason. We do deserve to be there, and with a bit of self-belief we can achieve so much more than we sometimes realise.
You’ve spent many years professionally talking to people and finding out their stories. What are some tips for conducting a good interview?
Research! Knowing the background about a particular story or person is crucial to getting the most out of your time with a guest. It ensures your questions are more relevant to that person and their personal experience.
When you’re pre-recording an interview, instead of being live on the radio, you can also use silence to great effect. This can also be a great way to get the most out of your interviews. Don’t be so quick to jump into your next question. You never know what gems might surface when you give your guest the space to collect their thoughts.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in media?
Be willing to put in the time and effort and accept that you won’t land your dream job straight away. It takes time to garner experience and work your way up. Tenacity and a solid work ethic pay off – and the journey to landing that dream role is part of the fun.
If you could interview any leader in the world, who would it be?
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She strikes the balance between empathetic and authoritative – a quality I really admire.
The Footprints of Leadership podcast Season 2 launches September 7. Subscribe now and never miss an episode.