14 March 2018
The She Leads College Conference, taking place on Thursday 22 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 discuss their pathways as trailblazers. Today, we chat to Ashley St George, one of our incredible speed-networkers.
As a rare lover of Mondays and early mornings, Ashley has always had boundless energy that she channels through creativity. She was born and raised in Canberra, attending Canberra Girls’ Grammar School from Years 7 – 12 before heading straight to ANU. Invigorated by intellectual subjects as well as creative pursuits, Ashley did a double degree – a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Photography. Over this time she completed some work internships at Her Canberra, and in Sydney with photographer Brett Stevens and stylist Kirsten Jenkins. After her final year of study, Ashley planned to take a gap year. She threw herself into her practical photographic interests and fell into doing freelance photography, design, and writing, and has since had her work appear in Out in Canberra, Her Canberra, Gourmet Traveller, Bar Rochford, XO Restaurant, Pollen Café, Allhomes, and the National Gallery of Australia.
Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.
I gave myself space and time after study, which allowed me to learn about myself and the world around me. It took courage to strip everything back and follow my passion.
What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?
My biggest leadership challenge can also easily be a strength if you use it effectively. That is my youth – sometimes clients may not take you as seriously as they would someone that is older. That is often just a first impression though, and through working they quickly get the idea that you can still be professional at a young age! It can also be a bit daunting working alongside people who you think have more experience than you because they are older, but again that is not always the case, and it definitely doesn’t mean they create better work.
Why do we need more women leaders, and what difference can women in leadership make in terms of gender equality?
It is so important to have strong and inspiring women role models. Women as leaders have the opportunity to inspire a greater number of people. Women in leadership positions encourage others to aim high and normalise women’s equal role in any industry.
What book should every aspiring woman leader read?
I love Emotional Agility by Susan David. It teaches you about values in a super inspiring way, encouraging you to live like yourself, work for your passions, love yourself and encourages uniqueness.
Share with us the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Your only limitations are ones you put on yourself. Sometimes these limitations are just habitual thought patterns like ‘I don’t think people would find it interesting if I did x’. Start questioning WHY? Why should you not do something – if it’s because it’s not a normal thing to do, then that reason is a limitation you have put on yourself.