Virginia’s first travel adventure took her to Mexico as a teenage exchange student. There she fell in love with Pre-Columbian art and the ancient search for feminine power. Following an Arts degree at Melbourne University, a life in journalism beckoned. With the luck of a goddess or two on her side, Virginia was awarded an ABC TV News cadetship in 1986, and never looked back!
An intuitive and skilled interviewer, Virginia went on to become the youngest woman to host the ABC’s flagship current affairs program the 7.30 Report. In the early 90s she left public broadcasting for commercial television, first reporting for A Current Affair on Channel 9, then later as Senior Reporter for Network 7’s controversial public affairs program, Witness.
In 2001, after a couple of heady years in the corporate sector as a communications specialist with Cosway Australia, Virginia returned to broadcasting as the face of ABC TV News in Canberra. For the next 15 years she balanced media demands with a busy portfolio of NGO advocacy, public speaking and communications training; in addition to a writing a weekly column for The Canberra Times (2007-2010).
In 2009 Virginia made a self-funded trip to Afghanistan to highlight the plight of women and children. And in 2011 she curated the exhibition “Eye On Afghanistan”, to raise funds for the Australian based NGO Mahboba’s Promise. She later featured in the multi-award-winning documentary, ‘Love Marriage in Kabul’ by Iranian filmmaker, Amin Palangi.
By late 2016, driven to speed up the glacial global progress on gender equality, Virginia left daily media to take up a new position as founding Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, a bold new gender equality research initiative at the University of Canberra. In 2017, with an aim to improve public discourse around equity issues, Virginia launched the online news platform BroadAgenda, applying a gender lens to policy and practice. She served as Chief Editor until mid 2021.
When marking its 150th anniversary, The Age newspaper in Melbourne ranked Virginia’s seminal article on feminism and childlessness as among the most significant opinion pieces published in its 150 year history. Her book Wonder Woman: The myth of ‘having it all’ was launched by Julia Gillard in a live broadcast at the National Press Club.
Virginia is the recipient of various awards including the United Nations Media Peace Prize for coverage of Indigenous Affairs, and has been a judge for the national media Walkley awards over several years. She is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM); the 2019 ACT Australian of The Year: and was awarded the 2019 ACT Award for Excellence in Woman’s Leadership (WLA).
Virginia is a Board Director of the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI); and member of the Yindyamarra Institute for Democracy, Advisory Group (Charles Sturt University). She is Patron of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, and has previously served on a number of boards and committees including: UN Women Australia; The Rhodes Scholarship Australia at Large Selection Committee; the Snowy Hydro SouthCare Trust; Our Watch, Media Advisory Committee; and Women in Media, Canberra. Virginia also served six years as a Director on the ACT Government’s Cultural Facilities Corporation.