Diploma graduate is paying it forward

17 June 2015

IMG_5915Melissa Page delivered this speech on Tuesday 16 June 2015 as part of the She Leads Diploma of Management graduating class.

After travelling and living overseas and working most of my 20s and early 30s, meeting my husband and having a baby in my late 30s, I decided at the young age of 40, it was time to really concentrate on the direction I wanted to take my career in.

I had gone straight from secondary school into a finance role and I was in many management accountant and project management roles that I enjoyed.

These roles gave me a great foundation for where I am now but really didn’t connect me to people. I really was in a bit of a holding pattern for a few years, generally putting other people ahead of my own priorities.

While on maternity leave, I really thought about my career pathway more and more (I had a lot of time awake!!!!). My next career move after maternity leave would need to be more dynamic, to push and develop myself and my leadership skills to move forward.

I attended the She Leads Conference in 2014. I really enjoyed the Roar People Leadership ID workshop. This workshop really made me think about the type of leadership I admired and the leader that I wanted to be. Something that struck me was that I had quite strong values that really helped me to define the type of leader I already was and aspired to build on this.

It was at the She Leads Conference that I learned more about the She Leads Diploma of Management. After learning that this course really concentrated on being a woman in a leadership context I really thought (and I still do think) that obtaining a Diploma out of it was an absolute bonus. I have not found any other courses designed this way.

The course has challenged my view of myself. While I may look like an extroverted and bubbly individual, I have battled with self-confidence issues which I have come to realise stem from an earlier stage in my life. The course has drilled down into the behaviours that seemed programmed into me after many years, however I think I am slowly changing this. Hearing the invited panel members certainly helped me to ‘normalise’ these feelings. Another fantastic part of this course and journey.

The course has helped me to enhance my professional and personal relationships.

I feel empowered to believe in my own leadership abilities, being adaptable, collaborative, confident, influencing, inspiring, innovative and authentic. I believe that leadership qualities exist in everyone and I enjoy helping others to lead and succeed around me. I have a couple of mentors now (which I did not have before the course) and this has helped me to develop my responses to different challenges I’ve needed to implement at work and at home.

As a woman who has learnt a lot in the past twelve months, I am paying it forward.

I’ve already shared my experiences with some colleagues who I believe would benefit from the course. Two of them are now doing this course and I believe there’s more to follow.

A major change I made during this course was to ensure I was in a job that I fitted and vice versa. I finished my contract as a change manager and started to look for a role in HR. For the first time I was actually really purposefully choosy about the job I wanted. It took me a few weeks (I even turned a job down within that time) to see the job I wanted. I’m now in a HR Strategy role and I feel so proud to get to this point. I want to do further education in the form of a Masters. I would never have thought I could do further education two years ago.

In a blog I wrote that described my experiences during this course I wrote “Stop talking about it, time for action!” After finishing this course, please encourage others to explore their leadership pathway. It’s never too late!

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