The third-ever Women Engaged in Leadership (WE Lead) event was held by the Parliament of Victoria in the City of Greater Bendigo on Saturday the 2nd of September. In total, 35 women from different diverse backgrounds and experience in leadership attended the event and learnt how they can positively contribute to their communities.
Legislative Assembly Speaker Maree Edwards officially opened the forum following a Welcome to country by Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owner Jason Kerr. Maree Edwards stated that she is “committed to making sure the Parliament’s doors are open and accessible to everyone. That means engaging and collaborating here with programs to help build your capacity and support the wonderful work you’re already doing across our region.”
Four members of the Legislative Council from the Northern Victoria Region, Wendy Lovell, Georgie Purcell, Gaelle Broad and Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell participated in an “Ask your MP” panel discussion.
The panel members were asked which female leaders inspire them, how those in the audience get started in politics, and to Georgie Purcell and Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell, what is it like being part of minor parties sitting on the crossbench? All panel members enthusiastically connected with the audience and shared their unique experiences getting into politics, inspiring, and encouraging everyone who sat in the room.
For the second panel of the day, local community leaders Rosita Vincent, Helen Garchitorena, and our Deputy Youth Mayor Lilly Correll, provided their perspectives on leadership. They discussed their leadership journeys and how they got involved in their local community organisations.
Deputy Youth Mayor Lilly Correll commented “The event opened my eyes to the career paths that are possible in politics. There is this idea that you must fit the stereotypical Australian box to succeed in politics and the women who spoke to us today showed us that diversity and range of life experience is critical in our politics. No matter where you come from you deserve a seat at the table.”
This event fostered learning and creativity, with the final session of the day looking at how to solve potential barriers women face in leadership roles. As well as this, the forum provided key networking opportunities and a safe space for women to thrive.
Deputy Youth Mayor Lilly Correll said, “As inspiration bounced around the room, the event emphasized to women that we can lead, we can be businesswomen, politicians, mothers, career women or whatever we aspire to be.”