2017 She Leads Conference – 5 Quick Questions with Elise Burgess

26 April 2017

Zoya Patel

Zoya is the Senior Manager of Corporate Relations and Communication at YWCA Canberra.

The 2017 She Leads Conference will be held on Thursday 1 June at QT Canberra, with the She Leads Cocktail and Networking function to be held the night before, on May 31. Tickets and program details are now available at 2017.sheleads.org.au.

Open to all, the She Leads Conference brings women from a range of sectors, at all stages of their leadership journeys, together with Australia’s most inspiring women leaders. This year, our program explores the theme ‘Challenge’ – focusing on stories of overcoming personal and professional challenges and experiences from women leaders who are transforming their workplaces, industries and communities.

Elise Burgess joined Voiceless in April 2012 as Senior Communications Officer before taking on her current role as Head of Communications. In her role, she has written and edited in-depth research reports on animal agriculture industries, headed up campaigns on controversial topics such as ag-gag legislation and factory farming, and developed strategies for social media and traditional media engagement. Prior to joining Voiceless, Elise worked as a journalist and editor of financial industry publications for six years within Australia’s financial management sector.

Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.

Learning to adapt and change my career expectations and goals, based on new knowledge and experiences. I think being flexible and reactive to your own changing circumstances is key to building a career and being a good leader.

What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?

There have been many challenges in my career so far, ranging from learning how to manage a team to learning how to handle the upsetting nature of my work on a daily basis.

One of the biggest challenges, though, is building my own confidence to make tough decisions on the direction of Voiceless and its work, and responsibility that comes with it. The ability to make an informed decision and stand by it is an important attribute for any leader, and one that I believe takes time and experience to develop.

What book should every aspiring woman leader read?

I read for escapism so I tend to go for fiction! That being said, I think there is a lot to be said for reading biographies, learning from those people who have excelled in your field or in leadership challenges.

Share with us the best piece of advice you’ve been given.

Work with what you personally feel passionate about. When you work as many hours as we do, you need to be invested in what you are doing and care about succeeding. It can make it hard to switch off at the end of the day, but the motivation that comes from being personally invested in your project is the payoff.

Elise will be speaking on a the panel ‘Challenging the System’ at the She Leads Conference on Thursday 1 June 2017. Find out more and book your ticket here. You can also apply for a partial or full scholarship to attend the Conference!

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