For Dr Annabelle Claire Bennett AO SC, professional variety is what makes life interesting.
The former Australian Federal Court and ACT Supreme Court additional judge, who is being appointed a Companion (AC) to the Order of Australia in Monday's Queen's Birthday Honours, manages a whole host of roles: from sports arbitrator to part-time president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.
Her latest position is chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; a fascinating field, she says, and evidence of an eclectic career path forged in 1980 when she began studying law after an already distinguished science career.
"I say to anyone I talk to, especially young people, 'if an opportunity comes up to do something outside your normal professional life, grab it' ... it makes life more interesting," Dr Bennett said.
"When I started law, people genuinely used to say to me that those two areas - law and science - could never meet. Yet, today, that interaction is recognised."
Dr Bennett served as pro-chancellor at the Australian National University from 1998 to 2011 and is a regular arbitration panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Experience in a range of fields has both professional and personal value, she says. As for managing various roles, "you do what you need to do", and she credits her husband, former Commonwealth Solicitor-General David Bennett AC QC, for helping to make it work.
I say to anyone I talk to, especially young people, 'If an opportunity comes up to do something outside your normal professional life, grab itFormer Australian Federal Court judge, Annabelle Bennett
"I know that sounds like a cliche ... but I had that behind me in being able to have a career and raise a family," she said.
"[I don't know] whether I actually have [the energy], and therefore I can do what I do, or I need to have it in order to do what I do."
"But I think if you are really enjoying what you're doing and you don't see it as a chore, then it's easier."
Dr Bennett was appointed an officer in the Order of Australia in 2005. She says this year's appointment as a Companion for "eminent service to the law, and to the judiciary, particularly in the field of intellectual property, to higher education, and to sports arbitration", is an extraordinary and surreal honour.
"It's fabulous on both a ... [professional and] personal level, and it makes you feel like you've done something that is of value," Dr Bennett said.
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