Eight lessons from the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium

On June 21st to 22nd, eight Western Sydney University students attended the Australian Women's Leadership Symposium at the Sydney Shangri-La Hotel....
On June 21st to 22nd, eight Western Sydney University students attended the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium at the Sydney Shangri-La Hotel.

After listening to powerhouse female trailblazers such as Australian media icon Ita Buttrose, former New Zealand Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley and the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Professor Gillian Triggs, the eight students shared their insights from this excellent event.


Naomi Hastings
Master of Research student & Vice President of the Student Representative Council

On June 21st – 22nd, I had the pleasure of attending the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium at the Sydney Shangri-La Hotel, alongside seven fellow female Western Sydney University students. Across the two-day event, we were able to hear and learn from the experiences of many incredible women in powerful leadership positions, which has been so valuable to us in developing the skills necessary for affecting positive change. Women continue to face many barriers in the struggle for gender equality, but this event was significant is helping us realise that through collaboration and connectedness, this adversity can be overcome. Here, we would like to share with you some more of the key themes and insights gained from this amazing event.

Kezia Dunn
Bachelor of Communications Dean’s Scholar, 2nd year student

The women in leadership symposium was an amazing opportunity to connect with brilliant, hardworking women and be inspired by their stories. The standout of the two days was hearing Professor Gillian Triggs address the crowd. Professor Triggs boldly addressed not just women currently struggling in leadership roles, but women who have been excluded entirely from the workplace. She reminded us of our responsibility to our sisters left behind, to bring them with us on our journey and use our leverage to open doors for them.

Enoch Kim
Bachelor of Nursing, 2nd year student

This was an impactful turning point in my leadership life. I felt my understanding of leadership qualities, which subliminally stereotyped the masculinity to be the norm, strongly change from within. Inspired by guest speaker Robyn Davidson, who spent 9 months crossing the Australian desert on a camel. I found myself delving into my ‘whoness’, knowing that this was the start of ‘getting through the desert on my own’. Such insight stabilized me to feel firm and courteous, and not be afraid of change. I am ever grateful for this symposium which has recharged me to empower other women.

Adele Cave
Doctor of Philosophy student

I attended the symposium, in hope that I would become more confident in myself and my abilities and be able to network with strong, talented women. I can with certainty say, that my hopes were transformed into reality. The message I have been implementing each day since the symposium is what was delivered by Professor Gillian Triggs: “In conversation, be firm, and courteous”. I would recommend the symposium to any female who doesn’t have the confidence in themselves to show the world what they are truly made of.

Naomi Hastings and Enoch Kim with keynote speaker Ita Buttrose AO OBE
Renai Warner
Bachelor of Communications, 1st year student

What I hadn’t expected from this symposium was how it would force me to look more closely at myself and how my leadership is so important in the push for equality for women. So many of the speakers asked us to look within ourselves and find out ‘genius zone’, making me look at myself and evaluate what I’m good at, how I can lead from the front and what I can do to help other women. It made me feel more ambitious and as though with the help of these women who surrounded me, that I could conquer the world and achieve anything I set my mind to.

Natalie Hoskins
Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Natural Science, 4th year student & Hawkesbury Womens Officer

I’ve always held leadership positions however I’ve always felt like an impostor. Attending the symposium showed me that I wasn’t alone in this feeling and gave me chance to see that I can, and have, succeeded despite these feelings of doubt. This event was full of women supporting women, ready to break stereotypes and work together to empower each other. And empowered I feel.

Romonda Eid
Bachelor of Social Work, 3rd year student

The Symposium really validated the “woman” within me. The highlight was the speech of the Honorable Dame Jenny Shipley, who carried herself with incredible poise and confidence. Hearing from Ita Buttrose was also incredible, as she had a personality that was of great humor and humility. Each speaker brought great wisdom to the audience, inspiring in many different ways.

Nicole Da Cruz
Bachelor of Medicine, 3rd year

Pioneering a business model, advising the Australian Federal Police on counter-terrorism, trekking through the desert with only four camels and a dog– at the symposium we heard of a range of remarkable adventures made by women of great clarity in purpose. Ita Buttrose spoke of ‘going into the jungle’ and the need to do be prepared to tackle the unknown with grace and elegance, through criticism or setbacks. Principled leadership and the need to have an unwavering moral compass guiding your intention was also a powerful message, along with being fair, kind and working with genuine integrity.