2019 She Leads College Conference

YWCA Canberra’s She Leads College Conference is for young women, including female-identifying and non-binary people, living in Canberra and the surrounding regions aged 16 to 18, in years 11 and 12 and is designed to help young women discover their personal leadership strengths and how to reach their goals.

The theme, Innovators – You(th) Can Change the World, explores a deeper understanding of leadership that extends to the change that leaders have the potential to make in their homes, schools, communities, and workplaces.

Participants will have access to a diverse range of young leaders and leadership pathways that exist within their community and will be inspired to forge their own leadership pathways in order to affect change.  Participants will also be exposed to a range of post-school career options, providing them with an opportunity to explore career paths and define their interests and aspirations.

By the end of the day participants will:

• be shown that anyone can be a leader, and that leadership requires people with all kinds of skills, interests, and backgrounds
• gain tangible skills to begin or strengthen their leadership journey
• be given a safe space to share ideas and stories with like-minded people
• have knowledge of the impact of gender bias on women’s leadership
• be empowered and inspired to set goals and develop the skills to reach them.

The day will include interactive workshops, a keynote speech and a panel session all featuring incredible young women-leaders under the age of 30, as well as an interactive and thought-provoking world café style networking activity. In the world café activity, students will participate in an informal networking session that will provide them with practical skills to analyse and discuss questions pertaining to leadership and what it takes to make social change.

By encouraging young women’s attendance, you will provide them with the opportunity to develop their leadership potential and increase their capacity to take on leadership roles within their school environment and beyond.

This is a school excursion, and all students must attend with their teachers/school supervisors. The registration deadline is Monday 11 March 2019.

Key event details:

When: Wednesday 20 March 2019 8:45am – 3:30pm,
Where: Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra
Cost and inclusions: $40 per student. Registration includes a full day program of talks and workshops, morning tea and lunch, activity booklet and pen.

Other important information:

• this is a school excursion, and all students must attend with their teachers/school supervisors
• schools must return photography consent forms to She Leads for each registered student
• transport needs to be organised independently by schools or students


Thanks to the generosity of the ACT Government, a scholarship place for one Indigenous student is available. Please contact the She Leads team for more information, or to apply.

If a student wishes to attend but feels as though the price may be a barrier, please advise the She Leads team. We may have a small pool of allocated scholarships that we may be able to allocate to eligible students. We are committed to assisting as many young women as possible attend this event.


Download the event program now.



Maddy Weeks
Maddy is a local Canberra comedian. She is part of comedy troupe ‘ACT Like A Lady”, with which she has performed to sold out crowds at the Canberra and Melbourne International Comedy Festivals. ACT Like a Lady is a group of female-identifying comedians, who aims to seek out and foster the comedic talent of female-identifying and non-binary people in the ACT.

Keynote Speaker

Emma Byrne
At 28, Emma Byrne is one of the youngest senior managers in the ACT Government. As the Head of Sentence Management with ACT Corrective Services, Emma leads teams responsible for managing the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders in custody and on parole in the territory. In 2018, Emma received the ACT/NSW Young Achievers Award for Leadership and was named a Young Social Pioneer by the Foundation for Young Australians. Emma has previously chaired the NSW Youth Advisory Council for two years running, advising ministers and senior officials on youth affairs and other public policy areas. She also led National Youth Week in NSW, helping steer more than 1500 events and activities attended by more than 160,000 young people across the state.

Panel Faciltator

Kemiso Matlho 
Kemiso has participated in various youth-focused leadership and volunteering programs directly related to the empowerment of girls and women such as UN Youth, Jasiri Australia and The Girls Leadership Network. Kemiso contributed to an open letter by various women groups and youth-led organisations, addressed to every state premier and high-level politicians that led to the decision to remove the GST on menstrual products.

Panellists – You(th) Can Change the World

Georgia Maq
Georgia is a Naarm (Melbourne) based singer, songwriter, guitarist and activist who fronts the award winning alternative indie band Camp Cope. Georgia has spoken and mentored at events such as Jen Cloher’s ‘I Manage My Music’ Workshop and the Girls Rock! Camp. Georgia aims to help carve the path for independent female, trans and non-binary musicians in today’s climate by being vocal about the issues that we face.

Yasmin Poole 
Yasmin is the Chair of the Victorian Government’s Youth Congress, which is the inaugural youth advisory board representing over 1 million young Victorians. Yasmin is a passionate advocate for improving youth and woman-led engagement across government. As a result of this work, Yasmin was a panellist on ABC’s TV program ‘Q&A’, which has an average viewership of 1 million. She is currently studying Law and International Relations at the Australian National University.

Tina Dixson
Tina is an experienced policy, advocacy and communication professional and a feminist academic with a strong expertise in LGBTIQ, refugee and women’s rights, having worked in Australia and overseas. She co-founded the Queer Sisterhood Project, a peer-run support and advocacy group for queer refugee women in Australia and is currently the Policy Officer at the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance

Renee Songoro
Renee is a proud Saibai woman from Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) and Kairuku woman from Papua New Guinea. She is a founding member of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition (NIYEC) that advocates for an inclusive, culturally safe and equitable education for Indigenous peoples. Renee is currently a Science and Math teacher at Melrose High School in Canberra and is passionate being an educator, a profession she describes as contributing to something far greater than yourself.

World Café Facilitator:

Ashleigh Streeter 
Ashleigh was named the youngest ever ACT Woman of the Year in 2018 and was placed on the ACT Honour Roll and the IMAD Honour Roll for her activism, advocacy and contributions to the Canberra community. In 2018 she arranged Girls Take Over Parliament with both the ACT and WA State Governments, and was part of the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneers. Ashleigh has been an active member of the Canberra community and was appointed a YWCA Canberra board director in October 2018.

School Requirements :

It is vital that teachers attend the event and provide appropriate supervision and care and ensure that each participant arrives and departs safely. YWCA Canberra staff will not provide supervision of students and will not be responsible for the arrival or departure of students, or for their behaviour on the day.

Schools should treat this event as an excursion and will need to independently organise all necessary permission slips and transportation (if required).

Schools are responsible for managing the allocation of places to interested students; there are 10 available places for each school. The day will feature a full program of speakers, including workshops, a panel, and individual and group discussion and reflection. It is an interactive event and participants will be asked to engage and reflect on the content they are being presented with.

For each registered participant, a photography consent form will need to be completed and returned to the She Leads team. This is not the permission slip that should be used by teachers to gain guardian permission to take participants to the event. Teachers should have access to their own school-specific permission slips and use those to gain guardian permission.

Please email all the photography consent forms to sheleads@ywca-canberra.org.au.

The Teacher Information Pack is available to download here.

Our resources for teachers page will be available soon.

Are you a young woman, female-identifying or non-binary person?

If you are a young woman, female-identifying or non-binary person interested in attending the She Leads College Conference, you will need to let your teacher or principal know that you want to come along to the event as soon as you can. Your school may be sending other participants too, or they may not yet know about this event.

You will need to treat this event like any other school excursion, which means having your guardians sign your school permission slip, and organising transportation to and from the event through your school.

You and your guardian will also need to complete the photography consent form, which needs to be returned to the She Leads team prior to the event. Please give the photography consent form to your teacher, who will then provide the forms to us.

The Student Information Pack is available to download here

Further information

For further details relating to the event, or for any queries please contact the She Leads team at sheleads@ywca-canberra.org.au or call YWCA Canberra on (02) 6175 9900.