Empowerment: A feeling of confidence. A sense of self or group determination. The desire to make a change.
Being empowered is an incredible feeling; it pushes you to reach further. This is exactly how I felt after mentoring at the Melbourne Making a Difference: Girls for Change Conference run by yLead and the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia. The 2 day conference targets girls in Year 9-11 and aims to provide them with tangible skills that can be applied to social initiatives or within their school environment.
Hearing from some of Australia’s most innovative influencers was a privilege for all the young women and yTeam. Each and every guest speaker shared their ‘gems of wisdom’, encouraging and supporting us to pursue our passions. We were inspired by Hannah Easton’s incredible analogies and the Thank You mission (Executive Assistant at Thank You), captivated by Christy Hildyard’s gift of storytelling (Co-Founder of Grace Pads), motivated by Amy Pearce to fundraise (Head of Marketing and Fundraising at Oaktree) and left, by Tim Baxter, with a sense of determination to create a trusting relationship with clients in order to build an online presence (Growth Marketing Team at Who Gives a Crap).
Not only were we lucky enough to hear from these incredible guest speakers but were fortunate to be able to network with individuals representing some of Melbourne’s amazing non for profit organisations, inclusive of Crêpes for Change, Flourish Girl, ygap, Second Chance Animal Rescue (yes, there were some very cute puppies!), One Plate and Fitted for Work. The networking session was one of my personal highlights. Being a first year university student I’m currently searching for a new passion to pursue, and this session reminded me of the importance and value in building and maintaining connections. It also allowed me, and the participants, to reflect on a broad range of issues that are currently challenging our world and learn about the different ways that we can make an impact.
The girls showcased the skills that they learnt over the conference by planning and pitching a social initiative that supported or contributed to the resolution of a current issue that they were passionate about. I was honestly blown away. Sharing experiences, ideas and opinions is something I highly value and seeing the power of collaboration was extraordinary. Knowing that I supported and contributed to these young females feeling a sense of confidence and motivation to tackle world issues and implement their ideas brings me immense joy and gratitude.
It is always a pleasure and honour to wear the blue alongside some extraordinary women and I am eternally grateful for everything yLead does. MAD 2018 was an incredible experience that has reignited a sense of passion and purpose within myself. It is a unique conference that leaves participants and mentors feeling enthusiastic and motivated to make a positive change within their communities…no matter how big or small.