9 January 2017
Fiona Day has recently graduated from the She Leads Diploma of Leadership & Management. Fiona is passionate about empowering the community around her. Here, we get to know Fiona a bit better, as she shares how the She Leads Diploma has impacted on her leadership goals.
I’ve lived in Canberra since my family moved here when I was three, so I’ve done all my growing and schooling here. I completed a BA Communication at the University of Canberra, and subsequently returned to do my Graduate Certificate in Community Counselling.
My heart has always been with those who are marginalised, vulnerable or don’t have a voice, so I gravitated to the community sector early in my working life. Apart from a few brief forays into the corporate and government sectors, I’ve worked for local not-for-profits since 1998.
My work has encompassed roles in counselling, administration, project work, and management across a variety of agencies including Parentline, The Big Issue (auspiced by Woden Community Service), Directions Alcohol & Other Drug service and most recently, Tenants’ Union ACT.
How would you describe the She Leads Diploma to someone who was hearing about it for the first time?
The Diploma is a fantastic way to challenge and learn more about yourself, not just professionally but personally as well. The classes offer a great balance between presentation and discussion, with excellent facilitators who are skilled at adapting the material to ensure it is interesting and relevant.
For me, one of the surprising things about the Diploma was the realisation of how little time people, and particularly women, seem to take to stop and consider where they are, why they are there, what motivates/inspires/drains them, and how they fit in the big scheme of their own lives.
For me, having one day a month to focus solely on these things (plus additional reflection when completing assessments) was an unexpected gift.
How has the She Leads Diploma impacted on you?
The She Leads Diploma reminded me to stop and think about things. It’s easy to be so busy that one starts to operate on autopilot, and that’s a sure fire way to shut down or diminish the chance to make positive changes.
Although not the sole reason for change, the biggest impact the Diploma had for me was influencing the decision to leave a job I loved, but had been doing for many years, and start a new chapter in my working life. I think the Diploma helped me realise that success has many different guises, and the focus of the course for me was not about how to advance to the next level at work, but rather how to find the niche that was right for me.
Why do you think it’s important to have women’s leadership programs?
Because gender inequality is still very much alive and well in Australia in 2016 and there is, sadly, a long way to go to redress the imbalance that diminishes the opportunities for women in leadership roles across the work, home, community and political landscapes.
What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring women leaders?
Don’t think you have to know everything or be at the top of the tree before you can call yourself a leader. If you collaborate with others, act with integrity, reflect honestly on yourself and strive to improve, you’ll be a long way ahead on the leadership pathway.
Learn more about the She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management and how to apply for the next intake here.