Staying Authentic To Build Greater Success in Business

Authenticity builds business success: Penny Terry

By Johanna Baker-Dowdell


BEING HERSELF: Penny Terry, of Healthy Tasmania, speaking about staying authentic at the TFGA Inspire 2019 Women in Farming forum in Launceston. Picture: Scott Gelston

BEING HERSELF: Penny Terry, of Healthy Tasmania, speaking about staying authentic at the TFGA Inspire 2019  Picture: Scott Gelston


Once a mainstay in broadcast, Penny Terry now spends her time showing other people the best way to share their message.

Learning from her 10 years at the ABC, with eight of those presenting breakfast radio, Ms Terry shared a personal story about how she discovered authenticity at the recent Inspire Women in Farming forum for the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association in Launceston.

Like many when starting out in their career or business, Ms Terry was unsure which version of herself to present.

Up against research that showed "people don't like listening to female voices, particularly young female voices" and a boss telling her to "learn to be yourself again on the radio", she knew she had to learn to be authentic (and that did not include "swearing on the radio").

"In the marketing world, authenticity is now known as the biggest way you can get trust from people," Ms Terry said.

Sharing some research about how people responded when they were acting authentically, Ms Terry said they felt "less neurotic and more satisfied" and had "higher self esteem and lower stress and depression".

To explain how she grabbed hold of that elusive authenticity, Ms Terry told a story about a house she walked past for five years.

The dusty green weatherboard house sat on an over-sized block, had a short, squat fence with a wrought iron gate and brightly-coloured roses lining the path up to the front door.

"They were the most magnificent roses you had ever seen," she said.

"When I looked at those roses I knew there must have been an old lady who sat inside that house. She wasn't strong enough to push the lawnmower anymore, but she could look after those roses."

Passing the green house one day, Ms Terry noticed scaffolding on the house and in the coming weeks it was painted, the fence built higher and the back yard was subdivided off.

"The house was looking a million bucks; it looked really good, but then one day I went past and the roses had been pulled out. That's when I knew that the lady, who I'd imagined lived in that house, must have died," she said.

What Ms Terry learned from watching this house transform was no matter how much you dressed yourself up to be presentable or speak in public, "whatever you do, don't take away that little bit that makes you you."


"Don't pull out your roses. In fact, more than that, put them out the front and look after them meticulously."


Penny Terry Healthy Tasmania's creative director.


This article first appeared in The Examiner newspaper here

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