In the lead-up to International Women’s Day on 8 March, TIQ celebrates women succeeding in Queensland trade.

TIQ has 5 great women who champion Queensland as trade and investment commissioners  around the world. They are a critical part of our 16-office overseas network.

They’ve served as company directors, worked for national governments, held leadership positions at international universities and speak multiple languages. We asked each of our female commissioners to give us a message to share for International Women’s Day.

China commissioner Julie-Anne Nichols: Women are their own toughest critics. We feel unnecessary guilt, let doubt hinder our drive and dreams, shy away from centre stage when the applause should be ours, or lose our voice when we most need to call out. Let’s find confidence through each other, and with each other, to make a difference, to disrupt and not judge, to lead and follow, to recognise and reward.

North America commissioner Viki Forrest: We should eliminate the effects of unconscious bias by firstly building diverse teams then listening to the entire team – not just the loud voices, not just the comfortable opinions, not just what is easy to understand. Listen carefully to the quiet, the uncomfortable, the difficult to comprehend.

Middle East commissioner Donna Massie: I would encourage every young woman to engage in international trade and have a global presence. It’s not an easy road but it’s a rewarding one. To be able to travel the world and engage with difference cultures and societies has been the greatest privilege of my career.

Europe commissioner and Agent-General for Queensland Linda Apelt: As the 47th Queensland Agent-General, one of Queensland’s oldest public offices, I’m honoured to represent Queensland in the UK and throughout Europe. I’m also pleased to support the growing number of women exporters and entrepreneurs who are contributing to our economy across the globe. Queensland’s reputation for enabling women to aspire to the highest offices and jobs, to lead businesses and, most importantly, to inspire more generations of girls and boys to strive to do their best to achieve an inclusive and purpose-driven society, is to be commended.

Hong Kong commissioner Julia Herries: Take your seat at the table and speak up so your voice is heard, but do it with grace, as well as conviction. Listen, encourage, support and celebrate other women to build their confidence. Work to enhance men’s understanding of the challenges faced by women – their support is critical to achieve widespread advancement in equality. We are all in this together: an equal world is an enabled world.