Like wow*


Day two of the Australian Regional Women Leaders Convention and another day of great motivational speakers.

Sandra McCarthy – Mayor of Kiama Council. Mayor for last 10 years

  • ran election platform on tlc – teamwork, leadership and community
  • don’t react, but respond
  • develop a culture of mutual respect and cooperation
  • inclusive, principle centred teamwork
  • persistence, staying on task
  • leading is about bringing people with you
  • be yourself, not someone else
  • don’t compromise your values
  • engage in consultative processes – people value being part of the process
  • listen and give yourself time to suss things out
  • when hard – step back and do nothing, gather energy and breathe
  • appreciate the value of training
  • support other women

Melva Stone – rural WA, RFDS

  • what matters to us?
  • use strengths to get you through
  • feminism cost- women tried to be all things to all people and not possible
  • if you suffer loss, take time to grieve
  • passion overcomes fear

Felicity Harley – Editor Women’s Health Magazine

1/ trust your gut- listen to your intuition, take risks, you will screw up sometimes, smile

2/ whip your work ethic into shape – do all that is expected and a little more. Natural talent will only get you so far, so amp up the passion and enthusiasm

3/ simple tricks for long-lasting happiness

  • boost positivity top 10 positive emotions – joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. Need to aim for a ratio  of 3:1 – positive to negative feelings (Barbara Fredrickson). Power of positive self talk
  • boost confidence, happiness stems from confidence
  • boost your relationships
  • imposter syndrome from Wikipedia – “…regardless of what level of success they may have achieved in their chosen field of work or study or what external proof they may have of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced internally they do not deserve the success they have achieved and are actually frauds. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they were more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be”

4/ Rethink work/life balance. Balance is negative. Define it as a focus. Work out what’s important then focus on those priorities. It’s all about time- Australian would rather have more time than more money

5/ Be kind to the sisterhood. See the good in people – always.

6/ You only get one shot at life.

  • Make the most of every opportunity life presents
  • invest in experience, not materialism
  • cultivate randomness

7/ Find more empathy in you. “Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others” – Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO General Electric

  • Feedback is your BFF
  • harness the power to change women’s lives

8/ 100% happy

  • strategies for ultimate health and wellness start today – develop a loving and happy relationship with yourself and your body. Look after you for ultimate health and wellness, fitness, nutrition, emotional health, relationships, finances and beauty.

Then a panel session with four regional women from Illawarra:

Wendy Fogarty – right attitude, know when to say no, opportunities, supporting others, role model, be a magnet

Melissa Abu-Gazalah, MD, Best Catch Foundation

Why is a young female advocating for young men? (encouraged by Barnardos South Coast). 70% of commentary on young men is negative

  • if you see a young person is serious, take them seriously
  • don’t wait for an opportunity, create your own, encourage young people to be leaders of today not tomorrow
  • create pathways for young people to access national initiative
  • provide an experimental lab for social innovation

Michelle Kellaway UWOL – actively see opportunities and challenge perceived barriers

Jessica Saed UWOL – kick stereotypes

Margaret Harrison – President Mungindi Music Festival (Mungindi 120km northwest of Moree)

  • relationships the most important thing. Give people good reason to stay and be on board (especially for volunteers). Loyal to one another
  • felt like a fraud after success of the first festival (imposter syndrome, Marg thought it was menopause!)
  • was cursed with the “disease to please”
  • don’t define yourself by the role you’re in or the job that you are in
  • you don’t have to know it all before you say ‘yes’
  • be brave about life
  • thoughts about myself were limiting myself
  • the wind ensemble that she has organised and conducts is more about the community, time to heal – than the musical experience and expertise.
  • don’t be caught in the paralysis of doing nothing – small steps

Kelli Mills  -stepping out of comfort zone

  • comfort zone – no risk, no drama, no learning?
  • what stops us being bold?
  • out of comfort zone – builds confidence, open mind to new opportunities, learn more about yourself and your capabilities, ultimately become stronger
  • change the self-talk, what is the worst thing that will happen?
  • practise the art of boldness

Christine Nixon – Ex Victorian Police Commissioner, nows heads the VIC Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority

  • if you can’t figure it out, go and find someone who can
  • respect for each other
  • respect for self, the values and principles of you “be yourself, ‘cos everyone else is taken”- Andrew Denton
  • think about where you are going – have a plan. A lot of us bob along through life (or through periods of our lives)
  • What is stopping you? – things in your head?, systems. work, what is real?
  • if it doesn’t happen it is OK too (went for job at Police Commissioner 3 times)
  • networks important, no-one ever did it alone
  • need courage on occasions
  • have a belief that it is possible
  • develop a unique stronger, personal brand

So what does all this mean for me?

A few things really stuck out for me. I liked that a few women talked about being bold – I like that word and all the connotations of it. Trying, stepping out, courage, bravery, being fearless, daring.

A few speakers did say – “what is the worst thing that would happen?” I know that I don’t take a lot of risks at work…but more than others, but this is “all about me” (something else that came up a lot over the two days)

Lots of talk about the work/life balance. Not a balance as much as a pendulum…sometimes family takes up more time and energy, sometimes work, sometimes something else. It’s dynamic, not this perfect still *balance*.

I am grateful for the opportunity to take time out and be in a different space and reflect. There were *like wow* moments from hearing and being around some pretty amazing women. I like the stories about women who step out of their comfort zones and take on great challenges…setting up a school in Tanzania or the music festival or climbing Everest or in the media…

I liked that the women told stories, a narrative of their lives, or parts of them…Stories stick for me, far more than a glossy PowerPoint of management or leadership tips. I remember stories. I’ll be working through more of this with other colleagues that attended the convention.

I would like to read more about Barbara Frederickson’s work on positive emotions and work more on harnessing – joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love


*apologies to the Hoodoo Gurus

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