16 October 2017
The inaugural She Leads High Conference is a one-day leadership event for young women, including female identifying and non-binary people, in years 9 and 10. The event will take place at the University of Canberra’s Ann Harding Conference Centre on 28 November 2017.
In this interview, we talk to Isabel Mudford, a keynote at the upcoming High Conference. Isabel is an active member of the ACT LGBTQIA+ community, having volunteered and worked for a variety of LGB and TI organisations over the last 4 years. She has a particular commitment to advancing the rights of transgender and intersex people. Isabel worked for A Gender Agenda for four years during her degree, and has participated in a number of ANU Queer Department campaigns to ensure the security and well being of transgender students and staff. She recently completed her honours thesis in Gender, Sexuality and Culture at ANU, for which she received the 2016 ANU Gender Institute Prize for honours. In 2017, Isabel took a graduate position in the APS where she has become involved with the Health Pride Network, and recently she began working for the ACT LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council.
Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.
The things that happen to you and the things you do in your life have meaning, the personal is political.
What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?
Avoiding risks and being too humble.
Why do we need more women leaders, and what difference can women in leadership make in terms of gender equality?
It is quite simple really, we need to be represented because the diversity of our lives need to be embraced and reflected in the public arena.
There’s lots of statistics that prove women on corporate boards make companies more profitable which is cool I guess… but, I think it’s also important to remember that women in power can still do bad things. Being a woman doesn’t necessarily make you a more compassionate person.
What book should every aspiring woman leader read?
I am not a great book reader – don’t tell my Mum! This doesn’t make me not a reader though… I just prefer essays and articles. I also listen to A LOT of podcasts because I believe more than anything in the power of multitasking… so I might recommend some of those instead. I highly recommend you download and listen to: Ladies, we need to talk, Pretty for an Aboriginal, and Conversations (with Richard Fidler).
Share with us the best piece of advice you’ve been given.
The pig Latin my mum used to say to me before I got out of the car for school on hard days, “Nil Bastardum Carborundum”. Don’t let the bastards get you down.