Paying it forward – the Y Canberra Life Member making women’s leadership even more accessible 

1 June 2023

Our flagship women’s leadership event, the She Leads Conference is on Friday, 4 August, and we can’t wait to bring emerging and established women and non-binary people together with some of Australia’s most inspiring, diverse and accomplished leaders for a day of learning and sharing. To make this event as accessible as possible, we offer a selection of scholarships that simply couldn’t happen without the generous support of our donors.   

In 2022, we interviewed YWCA Canberra Life Member, former Board Treasurer, and renowned pillar of the YWCA community, Betty Ferguson, about why she chooses to sponsor two Conference attendees enrolled in a vocational education and training program every year.   

Betty’s story 

Betty Ferguson first connected with YWCA Canberra in 2006 when she developed and presented a workshop about understanding financial reports. In 2007 she joined the Finance Committee and was co-opted onto the Board, finding herself elected from 2008 to 2014. Betty was once again co-opted in 2016, which she served on until 2019. Throughout her time on the Board, she performed as Treasurer for an impressive eight years. Still eager to remain connected to the YWCA Canberra community, Betty continued developing and presenting sessions about finance for YWCA Canberra until 2020. Now, in 2022 she is a life member and continues to serve on the Finance Committee. Betty also upholds an annual YWCA Canberra tradition (that members and staff alike have come to anticipate eagerly), where she donates a beautiful handmade quilt to assist in fundraising for our services for our annual Great Ydeas Innovation Breakfast.  

On top of all of this fantastic work, why does Betty sponsor two Conference attendees every year? Betty wants to provide access to an inspiring opportunity for women and non-binary people undertaking a vocational education and training program.

‘I often see scholarships for university students for different events, but rarely for students in vocational education.  Vocational students often take on the hard work and costs of studying on top of their usual home and job commitments, to change or improve their career and life, and that deserves recognition.’ 

Betty is aware that leadership opportunities for women and non-binary people can be few and far between and rarely encompass topics and issues of relevance. ‘I remember times when women were not expected to be in leadership positions, or indeed were actively discouraged from contemplating careers in many fields.’ As a result of her experience, Betty is passionate about creating more leadership opportunities to build better futures for women, non-binary people and their communities.  

Alongside this, Betty strongly encourages all women and non-binary people to attend the She Leads Conference, which she sees as very valuable to people of all ages and at any level in their careers.

‘The themes are carefully chosen to focus on growth and achievement in work and life. This year’s theme of being Dauntless is both an acknowledgment of women’s capacities to get things done, and an opportunity to challenge ourselves to transform our thinking and actions.’ 

Apply for a Betty Ferguson Scholarship

Are you a student enrolled in a vocational education and training program who wants to attend the upcoming She Leads Conference? Apply for a Betty Ferguson Scholarship today!   

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