She Leads Diploma – Five Quick Questions with Sarah Bayes

25 July 2019

Sarah Bayes is the Manager of Scholarships and Prizes at the ANU, has than 10 years’ experience working in the higher education sector and is the mother of a two year old girl. Below Sarah reflects on her experience undertaking the She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management, a nationally accredited qualification for women delivered by YWCA Canberra. To enrol for the February class intake email To find out more about the She Leads Diploma enrol in our upcoming information sessions.

Why did you choose to undertake the She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management?

I had recently returned from maternity leave, and I felt I needed a new challenge–yes, on top of juggling my career and motherhood!

A colleague of mine mentioned the She Leads Diploma, and I signed up with a friend.

I chose this diploma because I needed more from my job, and I wanted to better myself as a role model for both my daughter and my fellow females at work.

I also wanted to formalise the skills I had learnt throughout my career, and I realised I needed to take time away from work and life to fill in the gaps in my knowledge that I felt were lacking.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most? 

One of the best aspects of the course were my classmates; we agreed early on that it would be a safe space where we could share our experiences, observations and stories, and I learnt as much from them as I did from the course content and instructors!

Having said that, the trainers were absolute experts in their fields, and their lessons were fascinating and so applicable to a working woman’s life.

I was inspired by the women in my course and those teaching us, and whilst I learnt a lot about myself, I also learnt practical things like how to communicate with a variety of personalities, get the best out of my team and myself, and align my personal values with my professional work.

Taking a leadership course with a feminist perspective was enriching and validating in a way that is invaluable.

How has the course contributed to your personal and professional career development?

This course instilled in me the confidence I needed to move my career forward and to back myself as a leader.

Upon completing the diploma, I got a new job in a workplace that suits me much better and in a more senior role that I find challenging and fulfilling.

The course gave me permission to work on myself as a person, as a woman and as a manager; I find I get so wrapped up in working that I rarely take the time out to work on my job and myself.

I have even found that my communication with my partner has improved as I now take more time to listen and be empathetic in a way that I hadn’t before–I feel I am a lot more patient and forgiving in general, especially to myself, since completing this course.

What advice would you give to women who are considering the course/want to build their leadership and management skills?

I believe that this diploma is one of those things in life where you truly get out of it as much as you put into it.

If you make the space and time for this, to work on yourself, to be a student again, to receive the lessons from these wonderful women, I think you will get that back tenfold.

You’ll find a real camaraderie and support from the women in the room–you’re not the only one to feel like an impostor, or to second-guess yourself, but you’ll learn to trust yourself and those around you.

Any other words of wisdom? 

  • Find additional resources–there are heaps of great podcasts, after-work lecture series and online training webinars that can give you a new perspective.
  • Make connections–a lot of my classmates and I are still in touch through LinkedIn or other social media, and we continue to cheer each other on and share our wins.
  • Believe in yourself–by taking a course like the She Leads Diploma, you are investing in yourself and your future.

Find out more about the She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management or contact our education and training team to enrol at

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