Renee Carr: community campaigner, feminist, history nerd

26 April 2016

The 2016 She Leads Conference will be held on Tuesday 17 May at QT Canberra, with She Leads masterclasses to be held on Monday 16 May. Tickets and program details are now available at

Open to all, the She Leads Conference brings women from a range of sectors, at all stages of their leadership journeys, together with Australia’s most inspiring women leaders. This year, our program explores the theme ‘Transform’ – focusing on stories of personal transformation and experiences from women leaders who are transforming their workplaces, industries and communities.

Here we chat to Renee Carr, a speaker at the 2016 She Leads Conference. Renee is the Founding Executive Director of – a campaigning community of 35,000 Australians working for a fair and equal future for women. In 2015 Renee was named one of the Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence’.  Renee also serves as Board Chair at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition – one of Australia’s largest youth movements.Blog_Renee Carr

Describe yourself in 30 words or less.

Campaigner. Feminist. History nerd.

What has been a significant moment that has transformed your career to date?

Setting up and running Fair Agenda has definitely been the biggest ‘jumping in the deep end’ moment of my career to date, and as a result the most significant professional development moment as well.

What is a book that has influenced your leadership journey? 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sister Girl by Jackie Huggins.

How does having women in leadership transform our community?

I think having diverse leaders in our community enriches our communities in a multitude of ways. The one that always sticks out for me I think of as ‘strategic capacity’. Essentially that so much of our work, planning and vision relies on our lived experience. Australia is a richly diverse community – if the people in decision-making roles are all drawing from the same narrow lived experience, the chances that the decisions they make will produce the best opportunities and outcomes for the whole community aren’t particularly high. And that’s bad for everyone.

Having women and members of other population groups that are traditionally marginalised from decision-making forums in leadership gives us a better chance of utilising different experiences and expertise.

How do you be brave/resilient in situations where you feel uncomfortable?

In the first year I started working on Fair Agenda, so much was new that it felt like I was in situations that weren’t comfortable most of the time. I found two things really helped. The first was the advice that, when I was struggling with a piece of work where I felt well out of my comfort zone, I should anchor back to the question of whether or not the worst case scenario that was stressing me out would be worse than the guaranteed non-outcome I’d get if I didn’t try. In almost every scenario, the answer was no.

The other thing that was incredibly helpful was the really strong professional support and informal mentor network I had access to, which meant I could get access to someone who had done the thing before, and they could talk me through the thing and explain how it worked, give me feedback on my plan, and help take some of the uncertainty out of the whole thing.

Renee Carr will be a panel speaker at the 2016 She Leads Conference. You can find her on Twitter. Register to attend the conference by visiting the She Leads website, and follow the conference online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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