Women’s AFL pioneer Amna Karra-Hassan wowed, engaged and inspired a room full of women who attended the Behind the Brands breakfast earlier this month at Beaumonde On The Point.
Amna is an incredible woman who founded the Auburn Giants, the first AFL women’s team in Western Sydney, and she’s widely-recognised for bringing diversity to the game. Her footy ambition was born out of a sense of injustice that women’s sport wasn’t available to little girls in the way it was to boys.
Amna also works with the Australian Federal Police in the reform, culture and standards portfolio; and she’s won a bunch of awards and featured in countless stories on TV, in print and online.
The most engaging aspect of her keynote speech was her compassion as she reassured the room that it’s okay, and normal, to feel self-doubt; and it’s possible to achieve in spite of those feelings.
Amna, who is a remarkable storyteller with limited filter, admitted to being a suffered of the imposter syndrome throughout her journey and living by the ‘fake it till you make it’ motto.
“It’s better to wing it, than not try,” she said and the sentiment echoed through the diverse group of women who’d come to listen to her speak.
The room included award-winning social justice advocate Fadzi Whande; EY social entrepreneur of the year recipient Alicia Curtis; managing director of Waangara Mara Consulting Christine Sindely; 2018 Layne Beachley Foundation recipient Grace Mugabe; 6PR announcer Carmen Braidwood and former Australian Diamonds netball player Nat Medhurst who called Amna a ‘truly inspiring human’.
Amna shared stories of being introduced to footy by her cousin who told her of the acceptance he felt on field; challenging elders who accused her of disrespecting her Muslim faith; and feeling like a fish out of water in meetings with AFL executives.
For Amna, it wasn’t easy growing up in Australia. She was the daughter of Lebanese migrants and felt like everyone had an opinion on her identity.
“I was socialised to be accommodating and polite,” she said.
It was a sentiment that echoed in the room and Amna explained how she learned to tear down barriers that other people set for her.
“At the point you try to limit me, because you have a limiting belief, I can just say ‘I’m not interested’.”
Today, Amna’s aim is to show other women how they can reclaim their identity and she encourages women to support other women and that’s an ethos Behind the Brands shares.