Friday 7 June
The opportunity to hear Ita Buttrose speak at the recent Women in Leadership Symposium in Perth was a poignant reminder of her trailblazing journey as a women in media as she paved the way, and continues to pave the way, for women in leadership. She is an Aussie icon and shares her learnings in an open, frank and no frills delivery that is quintessentially Australian. Her advice is simple and clear, ‘put your hand up and move your ego to the side’. For anyone who has watched Paper Giants, read Ita’s novel A Passionate Life or actively followed her recent appointment to the Chair of the ABC, you will know her incredible story of resilience, determination and character.
Women in Leadership Australia is an organisation that has been developing female leaders and supporting the presence of women in business and community leadership roles for 15 years. It’s an organisation that I hope will be on our girls’ radar as they commence their professional lives. Our graduates have so much to offer and plenty to contribute in this space. It was wonderful to meet some of our Old Scholar’s as fellow delegates at the conference, hearing about their professional lives, embracing networking opportunities and supporting fellow women in this golden era for girls.
As I listened to Ita’s incredibly inspiring lessons, I was madly taking notes on some of her key messages to pass on to our girls. I drew two very important themes. Firstly, age is not, and should not, be a deterrent to recognising exceptional leadership. Spending time on our Chidley campus and seeing our junior girls leading assemblies is testament that leadership is evident at every age. Secondly, leadership and learning are strongly interconnected.
We all recognise leadership when we see it in action. Our girls can see that women make exceptional leaders through their interactions with the incredible staff at St Hilda’s, access to inspiring speakers, embracing leadership opportunities through peer support programs, and involvement in the Arts, Sport and Community Service. Many parents have reached out to me singing the praises of our older girls and the impact they have had on their young daughters, particularly during the Arts Festival preparations. It is always lovely to hear the powerful impact of peer on peer relationships.
At the core of leadership is courage. Our girls have this in abundance. Courage to write letters to parliamentary leaders on topics they are passionate about, courage to apply for summer scholarships at Oxford, courage to compete at a competitive state and national level and courage to ask for help when needed are just some examples that I come across daily when speaking to our girls.
I am gifted to lead a community of over a thousand brave and courageous girls and never take for granted the opportunity I have to inspire, motivate and encourage.