She Leads College Conference – 5 Quick Questions with Cathy Petocz

7 March 2017

The She Leads College Conference, taking place on Tuesday 21 March, is a one-day event for girls in Years 11 and 12, equipping participants with the practical skills and knowledge they need to become confident leaders. This year, we have an amazing line-up of inspiring young women who will share their leadership journeys with participants. We’ll be featuring 5 quick questions with each speaker in the lead up to the Conference. Today, we chat to Cathy Petocz.

Describe yourself in 30 words or less.

Canberra-based theatre artist interested in building community around feminist ideals, experimental performance, and feelings.

What’s one thing about your life now that you never would have predicted when you were at school? 

I remember writing about the future in my teenage diary. I had this image in my head of myself leaving the house in the morning, holding lots of things, a handbag, a package, a muffin, lots of things moving as I walked out the door, dangly earrings, pages of writing in a folder, my coat slung over my arm. It was kinetic image of doing, a feeling that I would do lots of things, work lots of jobs, always be moving. It’s surprisingly accurate. Maybe in addition to being a theatre artist working on lots of different projects, I could also be a psychic. Unfortunately I didn’t foresee that.

What is a book or film that has influenced your leadership journey? 

A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre by Anne Bogart. I read it right before I started directing Vinegar Tom in 2016. I was terrified—of being the boss, of failing in a very visible way, of not knowing what to do—and found Bogart describing the exact same feelings. Suddenly it was clear, the fear was just part of it and if Anne Bogart could feel afraid and make great art, I could too.

Why are you excited to be part of the She Leads College Conference? 

I think young people are the smartest they’ve ever been. They smoke less, drink less, use the internet in innovative ways, they’re extremely politically savvy. I’m so excited to hear about what these young women are thinking about because they’re basically way cooler than any other generation before.

What piece of advice would you most like to give to young women just starting their leadership journeys?

Be honest with yourself. Be honest about what you don’t know and work hard to listen. Be honest about what is great about you, feel pleasure about it! Really love what you love — get obsessive.

Find out more about our exciting program and register to attend the She Leads College Conference here.

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