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Women in Leadership Summit 2019: What We Learnt

For those of you who attended the Women in Leadership Summit last month, or WILS as we call it, I’m sure you’ll agree that as predicted – 2019 was our best yet. Keynote speakers Carrie Bickmore and Alannah Hill didn’t disappoint and actually unveiled more than expected about their personal leadership journey and the struggles they face to this day.


Over 35 inspirational women took to the stage with me. I personally thank each and every one of them for their honesty and willingness to share not only their success stories but also the times when things haven’t gone to plan. Let’s face it, we’re not perfect and it’s refreshing to know that some of these women at the top of their game have been in the same place at some stage of their careers and life in general.


Ann Sherry AO, Former CEO and Chair of Carnival Australia opened the summit, which for me was a career highlight, and something that has been in the works for many years. Her speech really set the scene and cemented our theme for 2019, Take Action. She instilled in us all to not get caught up in the perfection trap, take risks, be active for change and use your voice to climb the ladder and pull other women up with you.


A popular speaker at all of our summits, Marnie Baker, Managing Director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank focused on influence and the shadow we cast as leaders. She reminded us that how we act, what we say, how we measure outcomes and what we prioritise all influences what gets done, or doesn’t, and most importantly how people respond to us.


Angela Mentis, CEO of BNZ challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and to actually find a way to embrace it. From now on we all need to put our hands up whether we’re ready or not, set the narrative to eliminate assumptions and be consistent to gain trust.


I really enjoyed Erica Berchtold, CEO of The Iconic, who opened with the fact that the phrase “women can have it all but not at once” irritates her, I feel the same. As a working mum, her advice to create your own normal is something that has really stuck with me since the conference and I hope it has with all of our attendees. Let’s let go of the guilt of being a working mum and remember that our normal will become their normal.


Confidence, collaboration and conviction is what helped Kendra Banks, Managing Director of SEEK along the way. While Susan Martin, Managing Director from Johnson & Johnson Medical inspired us all to think about our monologue and what it’s telling us and to move to constructive dialogue. We all have that inner voice that seems to try and sabotage us at the worst possible time, its only us who can change it and actually hear it, so it’s time to stop.


I could write a book based on the stories, tips and advice our amazing speakers shared. If you missed out on joining us this year, don’t worry we’ll be back in 2020. To close out the year it’s not too late to book tickets for our Executive Leadership Summit being held from the 26-29 November. Key speakers include, Mark Bouris, Todd Sampson, Kendra Banks and Suzy Nicoletti to name a few. See the full program, line-up and secure your seats here.