2017 She Leads Conference – 5 Quick Questions with Drisana Levitzke-Gray

4 May 2017

Jessica Abramovic

Jessica is the Communications and Events Coordinator 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.

Drisana Levitzke-Gray was the recipient of the 2015 Young Australian of the Year Award and WA Young Australian of the Year Award in recognition of her passion and dedication in advocating for the human rights of deaf people, raising awareness about Auslan, and the right of deaf children in Australia to access Auslan from birth.

Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.

Full of passion, never-ending journey of raising awareness and making positive changes. Challenging the negative stigma and attitudes, opening doors and opportunity for future Deaf leaders. Always paying it forward.

What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?

For people to accept me as I am and giving me the opportunity to prove my leadership skills, quite often the challenge is more about my age rather than the fact that Auslan is my native language and that I’m Deaf.

Why do we need more women leaders, and what difference can women in leadership make in terms of gender equality?

We need women leaders, especially those from diverse linguistic backgrounds such as Deaf people. This shows visibly the representation of what our society consists of, furthering and inspiring our future young leaders to step up to the plate and become a leader themselves because they have people they can identify with.

What book should every aspiring woman leader read?

The Naked CEO by Alex Malley. I met Alex in Sydney and grabbed a copy of his book which contained so many great tips and advice on being a leader and making the most of everything.

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

Ask. If you have an idea, initative, project or event you wish to see it to happen, ask. If you never ask, it’ll never happen. They might say no, it won’t make a difference to where you are right now, but if they say yes then your wildest dreams could come true! This is what I swear by and use all the time.

Drisana will share her journey as a 24-year-old Deaf person, overcoming obstacles and challenging the stigma attached to Deaf people and sign language in her keynote talk ‘Challenging and Re-framing our Attitudes and Perspectives’ 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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