2018 She Leads College – 5 Quick Questions with Tahlia-Rose Vanissum

2 March 2018

Jessica Abramovic

Jessica is the Communications and Events Coordinator at YWCA Canberra.

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 Tahlia-Rose Vanissum, one of our incredible speed-networkers.

Tahlia-Rose Vanissum is an adviser and emerging leader who works within the Indigenous Affairs Group at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), as well as with local community and national organisations to help improve mental health awareness and development opportunities for Canberra Youth. She is a current YWCA Canberra Board Trainee, the Deputy Chairperson (ACT Region) of her department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network, and a member of Headspace – Canberra’s Youth Reference Group. Tahlia-Rose also holds certifications in Business, IT, Retail, Government, and Human Resources Management. In her spare time, she is completing a Bachelor of Criminology at the Australian National University while also completing her Advanced Diploma in Management and Leadership at the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.

I took advantage of all opportunities and value what made me, me! I embrace that and use it to help others… three years later… how did I end up here?

What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?

My biggest leadership challenge is learning to balance all the hats that you have to juggle when you belong to multiple diversity groups. Not only am I an Aboriginal woman, I am also someone who identifies as a having a disability. Being able to represent all aspects of myself and those around me can be difficult, especially when you are required to comment on cultural competency in not one but all areas.

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

It is important to have representation at higher levels in all contexts that are more diverse. The difference it can make to younger people in organisations is enormous and I don’t think many people get that. Without someone like you, whether it be their gender, upbringing, sexuality or race to look up too, who are we meant to be inspired by? How do we know that we can do that too? Do we even have a future here, in this space?

What book should every aspiring woman leader read?

I am not an avid book reader by any stretch of the imagination. I do however, enjoy the odd blog and documentary. I think it’s always a good idea to keep yourself informed of current events, so as boring as it sounds, making sure you read the headlines (from a reputable source) is always a good move.

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

The best advice I have ever been given? I mean…. what a question! I guess the one I re-quote the most is “do something you enjoy, something that makes you want to spring out of bed in the morning and make strides”. For me, that is attempting to make a difference, even if I can only make a positive change to one person’s journey, I still think that it is worth it.

To hear more from Tahlia-Rose Vanissum, register to attend the She Leads College Conference now. Make sure to also follow She Leads on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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