Natasha Akib’s fascination with storytelling began when she was just 10. From a Muslim family, growing up in Western Sydney, she watched the events of September 11 unfold on TV – and felt first-hand the very real impact narratives in Australia’s mainstream media had on her community. Wanting to “change the media from the inside-out” led Natasha to study journalism. She was “inspired by [the] experience” and went on to work at one of the very first non-government newspapers in Bhutan. Now, she truly believes “media can be used to promote the positive and disrupt the negative” which is what led her to join filmmaking agency Digital Storytellers back in Sydney. Here, Natasha shares a few of her favourite things, including elevating marginalised voices, dancing to Lizzo and Future Women’s events.
I joined Future Women because I am continually inspired by the badass women in my life – and wanted to find a way to connect with more of them. I investigated a few female networking groups and found many of them lacked diversity and had a very narrow focus, usually focusing only on businesswomen. Then I stumbled across Future Women! What has helped me most so far is connecting with incredible women at the events I’ve attended. Their vulnerability in sharing the messiness of their lives, their imperfect processes and their doubts has been so generous. I think when we can all ‘get real’ with each other we can collectively shake some of the anxiety and insecurity that we carry!
I lead ‘Stories for Impact’ at Digital Storytellers, a filmmaking agency which tells stories of social and environmental change. ‘Stories for Impact’ is the educational arm where we run workshops, online courses and educational programs to teach anyone how to find, make, edit and share their own video stories using smartphones and affordable tech.
I’m passionate about human rights, particularly on this big, beautiful continent! I’m also passionate about the work I do in storytelling and elevating diverse voices in the media. Oh, and my dog Bella the 12-year-old Staffy-cross.
I’m currently reading A Tale for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss. Listening to Lizzo!
I got married in New Orleans last year. We shut down the streets and had a second-line parade as you do in New Orleans!
‘You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take’ is the motto I live by.
Madame Phuntsho Wangmo, who was my boss at my very first ‘media’ job at the Bhutan Observer, is the most remarkable woman I’ve met. She opened up one of the very first non-government newspapers in Bhutan, shortly after the country transitioned to being a democracy. She truly believes in the power of the media to be a positive force, and a voice for the people, and fought strongly against the commercialisation of the media industry in Bhutan, in a very male-dominated industry. As many women do, she also juggled an incredibly demanding position at the head of this newspaper with her role as a mum of young children. You can learn more about her in Bunty Avieson’s book The Dragon’s Voice: How Modern Media Found Bhutan.
I’d like to learn how to drive a stick, and then how to drive four-wheel drive.
My driving force is my love for humans. Humans can be just so damn incredible.
Outside of work I love to dance and also take pictures of my dog.
The future for women is creating a world that is for all, rather than just the privileged minority who are in positions to share their voices and agendas.
We can lift each other up when we acknowledge the common humanity in each other; our desire for love and belonging, our doubts, insecurities, fears and hopes. When we can interact from that place of understanding, we can truly listen to each other and lift each other up.
I’m most fulfilled when I’m opening up spaces for others to be passionate, creative and expressive.
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