Four inspirational speakers from a variety of fields shared their perspectives at the 2019 Women in Leadership Forum, held at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta. Edwina Bartholomew – Journalist and Presenter with the Seven Network was joined by Annabelle Chauncy OAM – CEO and Founding Director of School for Life Foundation, Liz Scully – Chair, NSW Labor Women’s Forum and Chair, Parramatta Women’s Shelter and Belinda Woolford – CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Western Sydney. The panel discussed how each of us can boldly expand beyond what we know we can be.
“Each year the College is fortunate to have four generous, kind and confident women willing to share their career stories of successes and challenges, hopes and dreams, and diversions along the way. We know that girls learn from these narratives, particularly when the stories are told with humility and humour and the 2019 Forum speakers have been exceptional. Their consistent message of courage and service resonated with our Mercy community and inspired everyone present to consider ways they could effectively contribute to the wider community,” said Marie Wood, College Deputy Principal.
There were common themes including the importance of seeking mentoring, backing yourself, being courageous, being true to yourself and following your passion. The Forum kicked off with an appeal by Edwina Bartholomew to “be yourself, back yourself and believe in yourself.” She reiterated that it’s important to work very, very hard to achieve your dreams. Belinda Woolford outlined three important lessons she has learnt on her journey: “Leadership lesson number 1 is give it a go. Number 2 is you don’t always need a plan, you just need the courage to take risks. Lesson 3 is get a mentor.”
Liz Scully paraphrased Saint Teresa of Avila, encouraging students to trust God that you are where you are supposed to be. Annabelle Chauncy also highlighted the importance of mentoring: “One of the most important things about my journey is the fact that I had a mentor. My mentor taught me to crawl before you walk and walk before you run – taking one step at a time.”