Five quick questions with Jakida Smith

26 February 2021

Rae Knopik

Rae is the Events and Marketing Officer at YWCA Canberra

The She Leads College Conference taking place on Friday 26 March, is a one-day leadership event for young-woman, non-binary and female students in years 11 and 12. It is designed to equip participants with the practical skills and knowledge they need to become confident leaders in their community.  

This year’s theme ‘Wild’, is all about harnessing personal adversity and using it to thrive as leaders in their personal and professional capacities. Today we caught up with one of the She Leads College Conference panellists, Jakida Smith, to talk about her leadership journey, leadership challenges and how she regained motivation to pursue her career as a dancer.  

Jakida is a results-driven leader in her community who loves to work with young children by sharing her culture and art. She has danced for high officials, such as Prince William and Princess Katherine, and most recently Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Governor-General. Recently, Jakida featured in the Canberra Times for International Women’s Day to talk about her experience living as a proud Aboriginal woman in Australia.  

We asked Jakida five quick questions about her leadership journey; check out her answers below: 

Describe yourself in 30 words or less. 

I am a very spiritual person who is deeply embedded in her culture, family, and community. I believe, just like how a boomerang comes back, what you put out into the world is what you get back. 

Tell us about a moment in your life that kick-started your leadership journey. 

It was after I had dropped out of high school and didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was young.  That’s until my dad allowed me to work with him full-time, teaching children every day about our culture. I have always loved my culture and it was then when I found who I was and what I wanted to do.   

What are the questions you’re tired of hearing about gender equality? 

I’m tired of hearing about how men get paid more than women. Job roles should have nothing to do with gender and should be about a person’s skill set. Men and women should be equal across all boards.  

What is a personal challenge you have had to overcome for your leadership goals?

It was when I dropped out of school and thought I wasn’t going anywhere; that I was never going to get a job and make a living.  

Imagine yourself in your 40s. What leadership advice would your 40-year-old self give to you right now? 

Always stay true to yourself and stay strong in what you believe in. 

Watch this space to keep up with Jakida’s leadership journey. If you are a young woman or nonbinary person in years 11 or 12, ask your school to register you for the She Leads College Conference on Friday 26 March – visit the event page for more information.

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