Outside the NEXT Woman Of The Year Awards 2017 last night, popular Seven Sharp presenter Toni Street talked about the importance of hearing the stories of the women who had been celebrated at the awards.
"Listening to the women talk, a lot of these stories you actually didn’t know about. You didn’t know the ins and outs of what some people are doing on a daily basis and that’s the number one reason I like coming here and supporting this event, is because it’s women that don’t get the exposure they perhaps deserve.
"Hearing the stories inspires other people to do similar things - and without an event like this you don’t hear the stories. You need to hear them to get the inspiration and for that to roll on to younger people."
Street, who has attended the NEXT Woman Of The Year Awards most years and judged them for the past two, says it was her own mum who she drew inspiration from when she set out 12 years ago to forge her career in current affairs and television broadcasting.
"I grew up in rural Taranaki where becoming someone that was leading current affairs at 7pm on one of the national TV stations was quite a pipe dream. And I remember I went through a period where I thought it was just a dream and it wasn’t a real job and my mum was the one that said 'no - if that’s what you’re passionate about and that’s what you want to do then you should do it'.
"That push I really needed to get in to the career I’m in now so I will always be thankful to have that backer, that person that tells you that it’s possible."
Street's career in television has meant she's felt "exposed", and she's had to learn to accept that "not everybody is going to like you".
"It’s taken me quite a long time and I’ve been in the industry 12 years now and I think maybe only in the last three years I’ve come to realise that you just have to have that inner self confidence and actually not worry about what other people think of you," she reveals.
"And that’s hard because occasionally I’ll still look at the message boards and they hurt when they’re a negative comment...
"But I think if you accept that not everybody is going to like you and you’re okay with it... Once you accept that it's a lot easier."