As an entrepreneur, writer, presenter and speaker, Cathy Ngo of keynoteworthy is thriving at the intersection of comedy and activism. She's a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion and believes the world will be a much better place when we each embrace diverse narratives - whether that be in the workplace, on speaker panels or who we vote for.

We managed to catch up with her for a quick chat and to pick her brain on how we can make PAUSE.TIVE CHANGES in 2021. PFA21-Blokks-S-CathyN

How has 2020 impacted your way of thinking and moving forward?

It's made me pause and reflect how seriously burnt out I was before COVID. I never took self-care seriously, but now it's a non-negotiable. I'm also more conscious about the energy I am giving out and focusing on positivity but also dealing with the uncomfortable things with as much kindness.

What do you think are some of the changing trends for Gen Z & Millennials that we will see in 2021?

I think that we will continue to see more brands demonstrating their commitment to diversity & inclusion. Brands who are disingenuine will be called out.

Accessible mental health services will continue to be on the agenda.

Our youth today are also finding it harder to know what to do after they finish school, so a greater emphasis needs to be put in to bridge this gap. On top of that, automation has taken the mundane or lower-level tasks, which means entry-level roles are less accessible.

How is keynoteworthy equipping itself for the road ahead?

keynoteworthy is lifting its digital capability. COVID has shown us how quickly we can leverage overseas keynote speakers and create inclusive events. We had initially just focused on the Australian market — but now the world is our oyster!

Your keynote at #Pause2021 is titled "Exploring the intersection between comedy and activism”. Why do you think your chosen topic is pertinent to our future innovators?

I want to show there is no such thing as a personal and business life. It's just life. I do comedy on the side and I'm not worried about it affecting my business or reputation. Both have to align with my values — otherwise, we're just wearing masks. Using humour can help break the ice, initiate change and start conversations. I'm passionate about social issues and share my lived experiences, so it's just random and made up. I think comedy and activism can mix. In my session, inspire innovators on how they can be themselves and use humour to their advantage.

Pause and reflect - tell us one important lesson that you have learnt.

The hustle culture is dangerous, and I won't subscribe to it. No one is going to get an award for missing out on spending time with family or friends by working 16-hour days. No one wins if you don't look after yourself — everything you've worked hard and extended yourself for may not be worth it in the end. Schedule time for yourself and your family. Everyone will thank you for it.

Cathy will be presenting her keynote, Exploring the intersection between comedy and activism, at #Pause2021 on the 8th of March 2021 at 10:30am (AEDT).