Students share their views on ‘life-changing’ Student Leadership Conference 2020

Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia / 01 February 2020

Each year the Alliance brings together almost 200 student leaders from around the world, in their final year of school, to immerse themselves in a leadership discovery journey for four days. It is the largest girls-only student leadership event in Australia.

The conference allows them to connect with likeminded school leaders, create bonds to support them through the year (and beyond) and help them develop the skills needed to embrace the leadership challenges and opportunities ahead.

At the final conference dinner three students stood up to share their thoughts on the Student Leadership Conference 2020 experience and how they had made unforgettable memories and opened their eyes to their own leadership abilities.

Here are what two of those students had to say:

We learned a lot about ourselves and leadership for the last couple of days— and these few minutes we have is not enough to list down the learnings that have greatly left a mark on us and changed our perspective and views on leadership. 

So just to highlight the three key points I think we mostly got from the conference is to first, don’t be afraid of failure. Not achieving what you ought to achieve, happens for a reason, just like what belle said. Second is, don’t see your vulnerability as a weakness. Having the “real me” session yesterday showed us that by just being true to yourself is the best way for us to be our most authentic selves. Lastly, is to just believe. Believe in our capacity to lead and serve the welfare of others. Sometimes we’re too caught up with worrying and overthinking that we overlook the answer just right in front of us. 

Being able to travel across the world with my three amazing fellow leaders from Miriam College, Franky, Alicia and Lara was something I’d never imagined happening. I just imagined myself in the corner of the room alone, with the thought of my nationality and difference being a barrier. But, not even a single moment in this conference, has that happened. So thank you. 

One of the activities I loved the most in SLC was without a doubt the bestie that we get each day. For some reason, the people we choose are just the exact fit with our personalities. Having a bestie really made my heart so full. So I’d just like to use this time to thank Imi, Alisia, Kate, and my future day 4 bestie for making this conference extra special. 

Honestly, I couldn’t have had it any other way. There are people along the way that come and go; so I hope that the amazing girls I met for the past three days will come and stay. 

Margo Mendoza, Philippines

Our days have been packed with incredible speakers and workshops all focused around finding our wings, finding our leadership style and growing not only as leaders but as people. We have listened to incredible talks from Hayley Talbot, Dr Genevieve Nelson, Xialene Chang and Ben Pettingill, and I speak on behalf of all us girls when I say hearing their stories and learning from their wisdom is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Additionally, the array of workshops lead by the incredible YLead team have been just invaluable for the 200 student leaders you see before you today. We are so grateful to have been provided with such a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance our skills to take not only into this year as head students but well into our future.

A personal favourite moment of mine however was our venture into Sydney to take a look at the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Luna Park. I felt like quite the tourist and got told to “calm down kiwi!” Multiple times but it was such an incredible experience and so fun to complete with hundreds of people I had met only a day earlier but who I already called my friends.

And finally, to the girls. You are all so incredible and hearing your stories, seeing your passion as leaders and growing alongside you has been the most wonderful start to 2020. Thank you for the new friendships, the amazing connections made and everything in between. I am so excited to watch you all soar, spread your wings and take flight.

Isabella Barber, New Zealand