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Get some MADness in your life… (the good kind)

By August 8, 2017Event, Media

**YLEAD IN INTERNATIONAL PRESS** Check out the media coverage from our Dunedin summit!

– Otago Daily Times – Aim to give girls ‘the grit’

Southern Television (Channel 39) – Girls reach for the stars at leadership summit


If you ever want to feel inspired and reassured about the future of society, put yourself in a room with 37 year 9-11 girls who are passionate about making a difference. When you combine this with an incredible team of volunteers, plus an array of organisations creating change within their communities, you know you’re in for an epic weekend!


Inequality and injustice are rife amongst society. The media bombards us with negative stories and we feel dejected about what we can do to have an impact. yLead, partnered with the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia, is crushing those feelings of hopelessness by empowering the next generation of young female change makers. Created as a result of recognising the need for strong female leaders within society, the Make A Difference (MAD) Conference now runs in 4 states across Australia and New Zealand – Sydney, Melbourne, Dunedin and Brisbane.


“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”


The key objectives for the conference are:

  • Creating conversation
  • Collaboration
  • Having the courage to take action

DAY 1: 

-After an initial change makers challenge that sees the girls immediately starting to think outside the box (how creative can you get with 3 bins, a strip of material, garbage bags, and 100 small balls – think the pits you sink into), they’re inspired by a guest speaker that’s creating real positive change. Sydney saw mindfulness master Rosie O’Halloran, with Melbourne being captivated by One Girl CEO Morgan KoegelDunedin met Veronica Stevenson, founder and CEO of Humble Bee and to finish the series, Brisbane was inspired by Words with Heart founder Lauren Shuttleworth.


-We all know how awkward some conversations can be… the participants work on their networking skills by meeting representatives from a huge array of social change organisations. The likes of Seaside Scavenge, One Girl, AIME, HoMie, Eat Up, Crepes for Change, Chalk Circle, Studio Artes, Yevu Clothing, School for Life Foundation – you could literally spend all day checking out these organisations online!

-How often do we take the time to reflect on our values and strengths? We all know (or at least have a vague idea) what they are, but rarely stop to reassess. The students look at the 24 character strengths (the test is free online to see the order of your strengths, totally worth taking 10mins to complete!) – which strengths we use quite naturally in our everyday actions, as well as those which are not as high but we can look for in others. Don’t forget finding your passion and purpose, which the girls looked for channelling a bit of creativity with some vision boarding and magazine cut outs!

DAY 2: 



-3 guest speakers address the girls, giving invaluable wisdom and knowledge about specific areas – Community Engagement, Fundraising, and Harnessing Technology. Sydney saw a line up of Jemma Nicoll (KidsPace Code), Tom Dawkins (StartSomeGood) and Cindy Tan. While Melbourne featured Carmen Hawker (Global Women’s Project), Larissa Ocampo (One Girl) and Becky Chau (Thankyou). Dunedin saw Kendall Flutey (Banqer), Jessie Ducey (PledgeMe) and Anna McDonald (Timely). Finally Brisbane was educated by Brittany Davies (Ruby Olive), Angie Galles (QUT Creative Enterprise) and Jessie Hughes (SignVR).


-All good ideas need a plan! Addressing different areas of interest such as the environment, education, gender inequality, community and health, the girls are asked to create a project they can take back and implement within their schools… the more schools per group, the more impact created! They practice the skill of pitching an idea to an audience to bring the conference to a close.


A big thanks goes to our incredible teams of volunteers that come to mentor the students. We love the energy and individual flair you each bring to the conference!


“Real change comes when we take it upon ourselves to be the activists for social justice and equality in our own communities” – Loren Bridge, Executive Officer, Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia


If you think you’d like to come, or this is something for your students, head to the yLead or Alliance website for more details.