Sylvie (website author) was born in Canberra, at the old Canberra Hospital, now the National Museum in Canberra.
I attended St Josephs School in O’Connor in my early years, with some great memories of the nuns and sports carnivals, running three legged, and potato sack races.
I remember playing marbles in the playground and inventing all sorts of role-plays with my friends out in the oval during our lunch break. I sang and performed since I was 3, at every school musical or eistedford I was up there either reciting poetry or singing.
Catching the bus home from School in those days, cost 2 cents per trip and one day while in Kindergarten I was most upset as I swallowed my bus fare. I still got a ride home but I was terribly worried at the time. I did enjoy reading and my friends at school and yet with some very strict nuns teaching me I can also call some extremely humiliating experiences, where they singled me out hit me with rulers or asked me stand in the corner of the classroom, or on my chair. I grew very strong in how I faced these blows and yet still found some enjoyment in the many activities, particularly in the arts. I recall at school the desks had a draw that was regularly inspected and if it didn’t come up to scratch you were in trouble.
My childhood memories also include playing Mahjong with my mother and Aunties, reading lots of adventure books, playing competition netball, doing ballet exams that made you cry, roller skating around the suburb of O’Connor, door knocking raising funds for the National Parks Foundation, building cubby houses in the bush (where the Institute of Sport is now located), playing marbles, obstacle courses and swings in the backyard.
I was aged 3.5 when my father Harry Judge was working at the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the family was posted to live for 3 years in New Dehli, India. We travelled all over and had many wonderful memories. I especially would like to thank my Indian, ayah who helped me and my family so much. On returning I was speaking with a strong english accent and able to speak fluent Hindi.
I attended St Michaels Primary in Lynham, Canberra on my return and later, St Rosary’s Primary School in Watson; a few years at Merici College (previously Canberra Girls High School) in Braddon and then three years at Canberra Girls Grammar School, in Red Hill, Canberra.
During my school years I was sent to learn ballet, I learnt to play piano up to 8th AMEB grade, Viola 6th AMEB grade. I particularly enjoyed being second violist in the Canberra Youth Orchestra attending various concerts and school camps for music. I later went on to complete also a Diploma in Performing Arts. I was elected as school Drama and Music captain and can remember playing a lot of tennis down at Lynham and then also in competition in O’Connor.
I auditioned when I was 6 years old and was chosen to play the role as one of the children in Ibsen’s ‘The Dolls House’ in the Canberra Theatre. For many years I went onto take up lead roles in numerous school musicals, including two years concurrently playing Liesel in the Canberra Philharmonic Society’s Sound of Music production, directed by Pixie Gray.
Before I graduated from high school I also applied to attend, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts ‘NIDA’ and later went onto auditioning and attending the the Sydney Drama Academy.
The family and I spent many of our school holidays visiting our Aunties Sylvia and Jean in Colleroy Plateau, Sydney. Creating many fond memories of sitting on their back porches eating fancy meals and talking about all matter of things.
After School I wanted to continue my studies in acting and so moved to Sydney, where I worked in a variety of roles and rented in shared houses in Mosman, Sydney. After several years, at a very young age I met and married Brian Ernst French.
Lauren Jean French was born at the North Shore Hospital, Sydney. Four years laters I was divorced and moved to live as a single mother in Crows Nest, Sydney, NSW.
A good friend introduced me to Glenn R Carter and a year later we were married at St Canices Catholic Church Potts Point, where my parents Harry and Cecily Judge had married and I believe their parents also.
I worked in a variety of roles firstly in advertising at Clemenger Sydney, where I met her good friend Nicola Ascroft. I later worked with the executive team in property Development with AW Edwards, Northbridge, where I worked with my favourite and most amazing boss, Geoff Brookes (RIP).
When Lauren started primarily school I got a job to be closer to her and ended up in the Foundation office of MLC Burwood, where I spent several years raising 1.5M for new science lab and setting up their first formal old girl Alumni program.
Glenn and I bought our first home at 42 Lawson Street, Balmain and developed that into a two bedroom home, which we later sold with a good profit.
I specialised in formal fundraising and had begun a new role at the Northcott Society in Parramatta, Sydney. When Lauren was in primary school we had the opportunity to purchase some land in Gundaroo, NSW (about 40 minute drive north of Canberra) and I was invited to work at Hartley Lifecare (then Hartley House in Canberra that had none of the formal fundraising initiatives I had been trained in) So I worked with them for four years as their Development or Fundraising Manager, introducing their first database and formal fundraising campaigns including direct mail and securing significant corporate sponsorships that a created a unique respite care cottage for children with severe physical disabilities. This came from a generous gift from tattersalls. I ran a number of committees who delivered numerous fundraising campaigns and some pretty special and highly strategic events, including with a small group of RAAF cyclists she founded and coordinated the inaugural Hartley Cycle Challenge, which today brings for the charity close to half a million annual to support children born with physical disabilities in the ACT region.
For the next twelve years, after 4 years supporting Harley, I went onto care for my mother Cecily Judge, who was diagnosed with dementia and living in a nursing home in Lynham, Canberra. I helped my father with the daily visits and later after my fathers death (tragic suicide age 85 years on the 9th April 2008) I was nominated as my mother’s Power of Attorney and with the help of my two brothers, managed my mothers affairs. My father tragically chose to end his life. He left a note which was and remains deeply moving. It was a very sad time and an important chapter in my family’s history. The many memories of these twelve years and then 2 years later will never be forgotten for the many personal challenges I and my brothers faced sorting out the estate as well as the grieving. Anyone who has had a loss in their family, I’m sure will say that this is a time when you are reminded of the special and quality time we have together on this earth.
Throughout all of this I worked and was supported by my husband and daughter. I remember in those days I used (emphasis on past tense) to be able to make a dress pattern from newspaper and sew almost anything. I made various outfits for my daughter and later even a copy of the evening ball dress from the movie “Notebook” for my daughter’s years 12 formal.
My executive career grew and today spans manes years in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in leadership and senior executive roles. My background expertise is diverse and includes, executive search & recruitment, marketing and communication, professional fundraising and sponsorship, business transformation and organisational change.
I had the good fortune to lead numerous teams and broker complex multi-party agreements with some of Australia’s leading blue-chip companies including NRMA, Shell and BHP Billiton. I offer a deep understanding and applied insights into Board governance, professional fundraising, executive search, leadership, change and workplace dynamics.
I spent over 10 years supporting leaders and their teams with developing cultural change and transformational leadership. I went onto establish my first company the Mindscious Group Pty Ltd in 2007. Mindscious was for over 10 years a unique online training and licensing company, assisting individuals, teams and organisations with measured solutions in motivation, innovation and change. It was a very rewarding but tough road building the business and then finally realising that I needed a big change, something were I could make even more of a difference to the lives of others. So I moved back into Executive Search and Recruitment with the Slade Group Pty Ltd.
I am a former Board Director of Sids and Kids and Rotary Canberr. I am glad I have spent many years working with and supporting not for profit organisations with a particular passion for assisting children living with a disability, education programmes and medical research.
I hold a Graduate Certificate in Management, Professional Practice – Charles Sturt University, and am an accredited International Coach Federation ‘ICF’ coach with certification in psychometric profiling and assessment tools.
I always loved to travel, with special memories including, in 2011 visiting New York, Boston and LA on my own, for I needed to attend to a conference in Boston. In 2013, I toured for 10 weeks throughout Italy, France, England, finishing in Ireland on a grand and wonderful holiday tour. I was most fortunate to meet up with good friends of the family Anne and Sydney Hobson in England, Jean Zahra’s in Switzerland and Jim Coleman (3rd cousin) in Carra Castle, County Mayo Ireland. This is where I was able to gather most of the family Irish history. I created two websites to share all this history on the family, this one and another on the Williams and Robins side of my family tree.
Having some years prior gaining duel citizenship it was a thrill to finally go and stay in some of the worlds most amazing castles, flying falcons in Ireland and drive the winding scenic roads of Ireland.
I had so much fun in Europe, speaking Italian and painting watercolour and oil paintings, even attending one course in the mountains of Barga northern Italy. Needless to say I loved the people, their passion and their history and of course the Italian food and wine.
Today I still enjoy painting and planning to do lots more travel.
Link to may painting website HERE.