Member Spotlight : Fran Dall’Alba

July 3, 2023
Member Spotlight : Fran Dall’Alba

1) Why did you join Connected Women, and what do you love about being a member?  

Most of my friends are interstate and I keep in regular contact with them but it’s not the same as having people I can catch up with for a coffee andchat on a regular basis. I’ve really enjoyed meeting other members who live locally and have similar interests. It can feel hard to establish friendships as you get older so having opportunities created by Connected Women is really wonderful. 


2) How do you feel about being in your 50s? And how has your perspective of ageing changed over time?  

I love being in my 50s, I’m the youngest of a huge family so I was always around people much older than me. Aging has never been something I was fearful of other than the prospect of not being mobile or healthy as I got older. I’m genuinely happier, more relaxed and enjoying life more than I ever have before and I’m so grateful to be alive. I’ve lost a lot of friends at young ages and I never take for granted the chance to wake up every morning and squeeze every drop of joy out of the day.  


3) What is your advice to other women who are feeling hesitant about embracing ageing? 

 It’s very easy to feel either invisible or the subject of intense scrutiny as a woman at any age but particularly as we get older. That can feel debilitating. It wasn’t so long ago I felt like my confidence had been eroded by a damaging relationship and circumstances that were getting worse as I got older. I couldn’t change my situation but what I could control was my attitude.It sounds cheesy but I’d smile at myself in the mirror every morning (so awkward at first!) and show myself the love and care I gave to everyone else. Iput a quote from the Wonder Woman movie on my mirror, too. It said : ‘You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.’ Bit by bit,I got my smile and strength back. If you’re not ok with aging then dance, sing,take up a new hobby, meet new people – whatever it takes to remind you of the privilege it is to get older.  


4) What title would you give this stage of your life?  

I read somewhere that women over 50 should be called Queenagers. I’m using that! 

5) What has been your favourite Connected Women memory sofar?  

At the first event I went to I found it so easy to talk with others who were there and met some incredible women. And what’s even better is I connected with someone who I can catch up with every fortnight for a walk and a coffee. I kind of feel like we’ve been friends for ages not just a matter of weeks. She’s fantastic. 

6) What's something you're passionate about, and how did you develop that passion? 

I love everything about engineering and I’m often found photographing bridges and old buildings. I’ll study civil engineering when I retire just of the fun of it. I have a number of clients in the construction & infrastructure sector so I get to geek out on their projects. I think I developed an interest in engineering because my Dad was very innovative in construction, electronics and solar energy long before some of the concepts and designs he developed became mainstream. 

7) What's something you've always wanted to learn or try, but haven't yet?  

I’d love to learn how to build a bridge. 

8) Who is someone you admire, and what qualities do they possess that you find inspiring? 

All three of my kids are extraordinary and have survived a lot so I admire each of them. My daughter, in particular, is someone who has turned into the person I wish I had been at her age. She has resilience, a fantastic sense of humour and the ability to tackle challenges with determination. I’ve probably learnt more from her than I’ve taught her.

Author bio: Fran Dall’Alba lives in Richmond, Melbourne after relocating from the Sunshine Coast in early 2021.  She has three grown kids – her daughter who lives with her and two older boys who are on the phone regularly for a chat, as well as a cat, Alaska. Working full time as a consultant to companies who engage contractors, Fran fills her evenings and weekends with woodwork, welding, walking, and writing and has made a resolution to get some hobbies that start with another letter.