One Minute with Veteran News Anchor Mimi Kwa | Keynote Speaker & MC
Mimi Kwa has been on our television screens for 20 years as a veteran news anchor, journalist, programme host and presenter. She has read live news bulletins beamed to 40 countries, was the first Asian presenter on National Nine News and has interviewed Prime Ministers, bank CEOs, sports stars and celebrities. Mimi’s journalism background has made her an outstanding Master Facilitator, MC and Keynote speaker.
What inspired you to forge a career in journalism?
I naturally gravitate towards storytelling across all sorts of mediums. Writing, theatre, painting, and film. I also developed an early sense of truth and justice. When I was 11, I wrote to a newspaper asking why an escaped bull was shot dead on the streets of Perth. It could have been sedated. My letter was published prompting other letters of support. I got an instant sense of being able to affect discussion and change by simply asking questions. There were few women on TV when I was growing up. I watched Jana Wendt on 60 Minutes and secretly thought, I want to do what she’s doing. But to please my father, I went down the path of becoming a lawyer and then an architect. I didn’t complete either degree.
I had no idea my ambitions would eventually lead me to exactly where I was meant to be. I became the first person with an Asian background on Channel 9 news. Diversity wasn’t a thing twenty years ago but it never occurred to me I couldn’t be it just because I couldn’t see it. When I sat in Jana Wendt’s old chair in her old A Current Affair office, I could hardly believe a little girl who dreamed of doing what she’s doing, actually would. Anchoring news for the ABC over the past 15 years has been the icing on the cake. Newshounds past and present have inspired me, both men and women, but most of all, the inner storyteller is my driving force.
Tell us about ‘Conscious Communication’?
There’s a global shift towards greater self-awareness. For all of social media’s shortcomings, we have a new era of connectivity to thank for a higher level of thinking. Conscious communication is powerful and can be a significant part of getting the most out of our interpersonal relationships, in our private lives and business. We are encouraged more than ever before, to do corporate good and to be honest. Consumers are cynical about corporate messaging. Conscious communication is the key to winning back trust. Improving communication by harnessing authenticity, supports brands and jobs, and it gives people an emotionally invested commitment in where they work.
Conscious communication is being in touch with the way we communicate, both on a personal and commercial level. Unlocking insights around communication let us hone in on how we can do it better. It’s small things like pitch and tone. Or big things like structuring content and asking the right questions. You have to dig deep to find it, but when we communicate better, success follows.
With over 20 years in the media, what has been a career highlight?
I’d have to say my highlight was being invited back to the ABC to read international bulletins. I was on maternity leave from Channel Nine when I got the call. My baby was six weeks old. Being a news anchor had always been my dream so it was an opportunity where I had to say yes. I remember sitting in hair and makeup breastfeeding my little one next to the 7 pm host Ian Henderson. It was a funny scene. He had been my mentor when I was a cadet. Now I was reading the news too. With a baby!
It was thrilling but challenging. One of the makeup artists held my baby while I was beamed out to 40 countries, introducing world news and throwing to live crosses with foreign correspondents across the globe. I have interviewed celebrities like Russel Crowe and Serena Williams, and have starred in international ad campaigns, I’ve even acted in a US TV series. But there is nothing like presenting to a live audience and the excitement of breaking news.
After interviewing so many people, who has been your favourite?
It’s hard to choose but I’m going to say, Serena Williams. She is definitely one of my favourite stories to tell. I had the Australian exclusive interview. She was staying in a Crown penthouse suite surrounded by minders. The interview got off to a very rocky start. At one stage it was terrifying how badly it was going. But once I went off script and found the right questions, it ended up being one of the best interviews of my career.
At the end of it, Serena said, I’ve been on Letterman and Oprah and Good Morning America but I have never done an interview as good as that! She gave me a bear hug. And then we went shopping. Haha, as you do with the world’s number one. It was a great day.