22 October 2018
The annual 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 1 November 2018.
Morgan Marshall is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science/Arts at the Australian National University. She has been a volunteer with Robogals for over three years, and the president of the Robogals Canberra chapter since 2016. Robogals is a global student-run organisation that runs free robotics and coding workshops to inspire, engage and empower young women in STEM. Morgan is a recipient of the 2018 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards and the 2018 ‘Legends of Robogals’ Award. As a queer* woman with a disability, Morgan is a passionate advocate for what diverse leadership styles can bring to the world.
Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.
After volunteering for Robogals, I was approached to lead the club. I didn’t feel qualified, but was passionate about it so threw myself into it and thrived!
What has been (or is) the biggest challenge you have encountered in your leadership journey?
Honestly, the biggest challenge in my leadership journey is myself and not believing in myself as much as I as should. I was thrust into my role as President of Robogals and absolutely thrived, but I am terrified to think that I might not have put myself up for the role if I hadn’t been asked.
Why is it important that we increase the number of girls and women in leadership positions? How does this impact on gender equality?
We need people making decisions that reflect the world we live in, making decisions for us that reflect us. That doesn’t just mean more women but all kinds of diversity – people from different backgrounds, queer people, people with disabilities etc. When we have women in leadership positions, it does more than just improve the organisation they are leading, but it empowers women and girls – you can imagine yourself in that position.
If there was one resource that you recommend every future girl/woman leader would read or view what would it be?
Reshma Saujani’s Ted Talk – ‘Teach girls bravery, not perfection’.
It is about how girls are socialised to seek perfection, but we should be brave, take risks and not worry about being perfect. This mentality applies to all aspects of life, but the place I’ve seen it reflected most is in Robogals workshops where girls are often afraid to throw themselves into coding which requires a lot of trial and error and therefore a lot of failing. I love creating an environment in which its okay to fail – in fact, I encourage failure – to set the students free.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in high school, what would it be?
Don’t worry about not having direction – just keep doing whatever you want to do, what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place if you are passionate.