What drives Lisa Wilkinson

Five things that drive and inspire Lisa Wilkinson professionally.

People, places and often events all provide their own inspiration for Lisa Wilkinson, and even a pandemic does little to slow her down.

17 September, 2020


Wilkinson has changed the way she operates and found new ways to use the time that would have been spent ‘in transit’

Massive restrictions, border closures and the effective end to international travel for the foreseeable future all have significant impacts on how different individuals live their lives and indeed do their jobs. But when travel forms a significant part of your job, the current situation requires a quantum shift in attitude and approach to be able to be able to perform professionally.

Take for example someone like journalist and high profile media personality Lisa Wilkinson, for whom travel-related work was, until this year at least, an integral part of her job. But not one to let a situation get the better of her, Wilkinson has simply changed the way she operates and found new ways to use the time that would have been spent ‘in transit’.

“With my downtime I’m working on my autobiography,” says Wilkinson. “It’s been quite a roller coaster to get to this point in my life, so it’s proving incredibly cathartic getting it all down on the page. I’m actually enjoying it much more than I thought I would, so I hope those who read it feel the same.”

Using this opportunity to take stock of a long and distinguished career across all aspects of the media has served to reinforce for Wilkinson what’s important and how fortunate she has been professionally and personally. 

I read a quote on a board outside a coffee shop early on in my career ‘author unknown’ and I’ve never forgotten it –  ‘Find a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life’. And I have.”

Since the beginning there have been five key areas that have driven and inspired Wilkinson to reach the height of her profession and those core values remain what drives her to this day. The very act of telling stories remains at the heart.

“My love of people’s lives and stories, and the desire to keep bringing those stories to a wider audience. It’s why I became a journalist in the first place,” Wilkinson says.

Inseparable from that is the desire to find the truth and drill down to the heart of the matter.

“My desire to cut through the spin and get to the truth of what is happening in the world politically, socially and environmentally. There is so much fake news out there now, and we’ve never been more in need of quality journalism, or positive energy that reminds us that there is still so much good in the world.”

And to that end, Wilkinson says she has a passion to keep learning and growing. “I want to still be involved in story telling in some form or another when I’m 80.”

This is fostered by a ‘love of the English language and the joy it can bring’. 

“Reading is one of my greatest joys. I’ve just finished Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence - for me, THE book of 2020 and a beautiful guiding hand in these incredibly strange times we find ourselves living through. Next on my list are Rising Heart by Aminata Conte-Biger, Christine Jackman’s Turning Down The Noise, and Marian Wilkinson’s The Carbon Club.

Finally, inspiration is also found in her professional colleagues, with Wilkinson citing the likes of Sarah Ferguson, Hamish McDonald, Julia Baird, Waleed Aly, Jess Hill, Marian Wilkinson, Jonathan Swan and Fran Kelly as those she admires.

“Overseas I love the work of Christian Armanpour, Anderson Cooper, and Emily Maitlis whose interview with Prince Andrew was a masterclass in precision questioning, utter professionalism, and admirable restraint.”

I want to still be involved in story telling in some form or another when I’m 80