She Speaks! She Leads! She Can!

4 September 2014

She Leads Conference 2014 - delegates 1

This article was first published on HerCanberra on March 26, 2014

If you’re the kind of woman who exudes confidence, drive and ambition, there’s a fair chance the B-word has been thrown your way a few times.  Yes, I’m talking about that B-word that powerful women want to ban because it undermines a woman’s ability to see herself as a leader.

I’m talking about the word bossy.

While the jury is still yet to give its ruling, some are blind to see that we women are actually fountains of natural leadership skills. From running the family household, juggling a career and balancing life, women are masters of multi-tasking and seamlessly manage crisis and change. For some, stepping into a leadership role is a piece of cake, but for others it can take a bit more of a nudge to take the leap of faith.

Even with the changing tide and more women being elevated into leadership roles, women still face lingering and persistent barriers in reaching leadership positions, particularly in Australia.

Committed to creating the next generation of women leaders, YWCA Australia launched its annual She Speaks survey on International Women’s Day in an effort to gain insight into the challenges women face in their leadership pathways and the tools young women need to embark on their own leadership journey.

In addition to She SpeaksYWCA of Canberra endeavour to create and prepare pipelines of young women for leadership positions through key initiatives that foster intergenerational leadership.

Earlier this month, YWCA of Canberra launched its Great Ydeas grants program for 2014. With a goal to help women achieve their potential, the program provides up to $10,000 in grant funding annually and helps women from around the ACT develop their skills and make a positive contribution to the community.

Some of the projects supported include community-based activities, seeding funds for the establishment of a small business, education or training opportunities, conference attendance, or contribution towards the cost of secondment to another YWCA.

If you’ve an idea, dream or goal then this is a perfect opportunity to see it come to fruition. Applications close 5pm Sunday 6 April.

But if you’re looking for a little more to help you unleash your inner leader, then head to the National Portrait Gallery later this week to discover the YWCA of Canberra’s second 2014 initiative.

This Thursday night, the feminist non-profit community organisation will launch She Leads—an innovative and evidence-based women’s leadership program compromised of a Diploma of Management and an annual conference that aims to inspire, motivate and challenge young women.

Designed to develop cognitive capabilities and emotional intelligence, practical leadership skills and leadership identity, She Leads is at the cutting edge of leadership development.

It is a tool for aspiring, emerging and established leaders to explore and reflect on their personal leadership experiences and learn how to mitigate the impact of gender bias to accelerate their leadership potential.

Hoping to create safe spaces for young women to have leadership conversations with intergenerational and elderly mentors, the YWCA of Canberra has drawn on its networks to provide a program featuring outstanding female leaders.

Sharing their incredible leadership journeys at the launch, award-winning journalist, Sophie McNeill and Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann will join Executive Director of the YWCA of Canberra, Frances Crimmins who will share highlights from the 2013 She Leads program.

When young women speak, the YWCA listens. So come along and discover how you can hone in on your leadership potential!

the essentials

What: She Leads launch
When: 6.30pm-8pm Thursday 27 March
Where: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Cost: Members & Students $15, non-members $20, new-member + ticket $30
RSVP: COB Wednesday 26 March

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