Woman in Innovation: Monica Penders
"It's my biggest failures that have driven me to learn and try again."

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
Right now Secret City is back in town so we have been helping to facilitate that production. The first series has been a huge success and Canberra looks amazing on the screen. We are also just finishing off TV Pod with 30 participants who will be pitching their TV ideas to Australia’s top production companies, broadcasters and streamers. And the first film through Accelerator Film Pod, Killer Instinct, goes into production in April with 65% of crew being from the ACT.

Why is innovation important to you?
We are in a very ever changing industry – look at how we as an audience now view content. Five year ago who would have thought that we could watch so much content on our computers and TVs via streaming. Who would have thought that the audience could decide what they want to watch, how they want to watch it and when. It used to be dictated to us. As a content provider and facilitator, its exciting to see all the innovations that are taking place in the screen industry. Also at Screen Canberra we pride ourselves on being innovative – our Pod programs are very popular with participants coming from all around the country (and hopefully soon from overseas).

What drives you to make a difference?
Seeing other people’s success – where we have played a part – that drives me. Whether it be finally someone finishing a script, or getting a project made, winning an award or even just moving to the next logical step in their development – that fires up my engines! Seeing Canberra looking fabulous on the screen, knowing that other states are looking at what we are doing and thinking “ummm… that was a good idea”. These also make me want to do more. We have great talent and so many competitive location advantages in Canberra. I want to see more stories, more sustainable businesses and more innovative programs.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
Don’t be afraid to fail. I always say to myself “what is the worst that can happen?” And most of the time, it’s not the end of the world. It’s my biggest failures that have driven me to learn and try again. Women tend to look at a list of criteria and go I can do 9 out of the 10 but can’t do that one thing and they don’t apply or go ahead. Many of our male colleagues are the opposite. They look at a list and say I can do 1 out of the 10 – let’s have a go. We can learn from that!

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