2017 She Leads High – 5 Quick Questions with Moira Cully

17 November 2017

Jessica Abramovic

Jessica is the Communications and Events Coordinator at YWCA Canberra.

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 Moira Cully, one of our speed networkers at the upcoming High Conference. Moira is a community organiser and activist based in Canberra. She currently works for UnionsACT as an organiser, where she has worked on the ACT and Federal elections, and many campaigns for workers’ rights. Before working for UnionsACT, Moira was a State Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and was awarded Young Environmentalist of the Year in 2014. Moira studied French and political science, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching live music, and looking at dogs on the RSPCA website.

Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without having joined AYCC when I was 16, an organisation led by amazing and empowering young women, who taught me that young people can achieve anything.

What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?

A lot of women struggle with self-confidence in a society that constantly tells them to doubt themselves, and that they’re not good enough. This is definitely the biggest challenge for me.

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

Nothing about us without us. I think that it is critical to have women – and broader diversity – represented at all levels of decision making because we are the ones who know best about our own lives, and should be empowered to make decisions about them. (I do think though that it is a mistake to assume that women leaders are necessarily going to make better decisions in regards to equality, just because of their gender. This is not always the case.)

What book should every aspiring woman leader read?

After reading Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, I Am Malala, I gave it to 4 or 5 of my friends as a birthday present. I find her courage and determination in the face of persecution incredibly inspiring. I also love and would highly recommend Audre Lorde’s, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, and Melina Marchetta’s, Looking For Alibrandi.

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

Whenever I am feeling really unsure about how to tackle a problem at work, or doubting my ability to take on what seems like a scary task, my partner always says to me “Would you talk to me the way you are talking to yourself right now?” It helps me remember to be kinder to myself, and to be kinder to others as well.

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