Bernadette (Bernie) Black is a champion for young people and especially young women. After experiencing the stigma associated with teenage pregnancy and the lack of support and education on offer when she fell pregnant at 16, Bernie wanted to reach out to others in a way that wasn’t available to her. She wrote a book about her journey including advice called Brave Little Bear, so anyone walking in her footsteps would know they weren’t alone. Today Bernie’s voice is heard as she advocates for justice, inclusion, reduction of stigma and passion for life. She is the founder and CEO of the Brave foundation, and is involved in a number of boards and committees including the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against women. Bernie is a leader with a humanitarian heart inspiring audiences of all ages to be brave and strive to do what is right for everyone.
As a child, Bernie grew up in a poor family in suburban Melbourne.
Justice, inclusion, reduction of stigma and passion run at the core of who she is. Unexpectedly, her strength in these values was reinforced as a 16-year-old pregnant girl.
These values have seen Bernie become the Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year in 2016, CEO and Founding Director of Brave Foundation and The Barnardo's Australian Mother of the Year in 2009.
Bernie is aware her story challenges people, it is real, it is life changing and shows that no matter what life throws at you, you have the purpose to use that canon and change the trajectory of generations.
Bernadette Black's remarkable story is also about start up to success and building influence to the highest levels, whilst knowing influence at the smallest levels is what matters. To lead big, you must lead small; to influence big, you must influence small.
Bernadette's business acumen is now being demanded from all levels of government and has been requested for input into the Creating Parity Review - co-authored by Andrew Forrest. Her leadership has seen social media reach exceed the most well known charities in Australia.
Bernie's dream is to lead an inclusive and gender diverse culture - by ensuring this reflected at policy level across governments, in our major political parties, in private and public industry and perhaps even more importantly, listed in the values of these organisations. She will show you how.
Bernie will lead us in knowing our purpose towards changing the trajectory now and for generations in Australia.
As an Upper House Member of Parliament, I was inspired to be brave, be consistent and strive to do what is right when making difficult decisions- totally inspirational!
Hon Ruth Forrest MLC, Parliament of Australia
Bernadette is amazing!! Personable, humorous, inspiring, charming, and engaging are a few words I would use to describe her as both a speaker and as a person.
Ms Angela Driver, GM Leaders Program
Your story and beautiful family are inspiring, and I congratulate you warmly on every effort spreading your message of hope and example of strength, courage and optimism to young people and to our wider community
Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Bernadette Black is amongst the best communicators in Australia. At a time in history when young people are facing powerfully conflicting messages from a range of sources, Bernadette offers a voice of hope and possibility. A voice that we have never before needed so urgently.I warmly recommend Bernadette to any group seeking to assist people make great choices as they overcome challenges of any size in the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.
Mr. Jonathan E Doyle (B.Ed Sec Spec MLMEd) National Director, Choicez Media
Bernadette’s message is equally moving and powerful for older women who are suffering hardship in their lives. She was able to give us incredible insight into how she viewed the world in her hardship and how she coped through adversity - – we felt her pain and her joy. Bernadette’s story was inspiring but her messages were simple – like sitting down to have a cup of tea and a chat. We need frequent reminders that we need each other in an age that promotes the individual.
Drought Response Officer, City of Greater Bendigo
You touched a lot of women’s lives with your story. Be encouraged your words are very powerful...Bless you
Lisa Morris, LIFE Women’s conference Thirroul, NSW
What every teenager needs to know...this book could save your teenager's life ...every High School student should hear Bernadette speak!
Robyn Moore Professional Speaker
Thank you very much for speaking at our meeting last night. I must say that it has been a highlight of the year so far. Thank you so much.
Rotary Hobart, October 2007
Thanks again for your talk. The girls loved it and haven't stopped talking about it. They have all now read your book and there is a long waiting list in the library for others who want to read it.
Mt Carmel Hobart, two weeks post engagement
Everyone has a story...however not everyone has the courage or passion to tell it. What a remarkable woman and example you are. It should be an aim that every teenager hears your story.
CEO Behold the Diamond, NSW
I am happy to recommend, without hesitation, Bernadette Black as a speaker for any event, especially events designed for young people. Bernie is bright, intelligent and articulate. She has the ability to connect with any crowd. Her personal life story of proving her critics wrong, and excelling where others predicted certain failure, cannot fail to move anyone who hears it. Bernie’s compelling story demonstrates that teenagers - in fact all people - can find the inner strength to rise above the dictates of others and refuse to conform to dominant and assumed expectations, to make healthy and life-affirming choices.
Melinda Tankard Reist Founding Director, Women’s Forum Australia
Not only is your story inspirational, it is extremely educational and a much needed resource nd story that all young teenagers should hear about. Your sourage and determination makes you an excellent role model for teenagers and young mothers alike.
St Michaels Collegiate