Mentoring next generation of female leaders

More than 100 students from local schools attended Georges River Council's inaugural TRUE Women Developing Future Leaders program last Friday.

They participated in a series of workshops and presentations throughout the day, designed to impart leadership skills to the next generation of female leaders.

Students from across the Georges River took part, including students from Beverly Hills Girls High School, Blakehurst High School, Georges River College Peakhurst Campus, Kingsgrove High School, Kogarah High School and Woniora Road.

Councillors Sandy Grekas, Colleen Symington and Nancy Liu joined 30 volunteers from Georges River Council to deliver four workshops throughout the day focused on developing leadership skills in young women from Years 8, 9 and 10.

The program, which was designed and developed by Council's People and Culture team and held at the Georges River Council Civic Centre in Hurstville, was put forward by Councillor Sandy Grekas in a Notice of Motion at a Council Meeting in August this year.

Councillor Grekas said there is strong female representation across all of Council, making the organisation well-placed to share a wide range of knowledge with young women in the community.

"It was such an honour to spend the day mentoring the next generation of female leaders; they are truly an amazing group of young women and no doubt they will achieve great things in their careers," Cr Grekas said.

"What we offered at the leadership program matters - if you look at the top Australian companies, there are more CEOs named John than there are female CEOs. The same goes with CEOs named Peter or David.

"My hope is that the TRUE Women program will inspire local students to become the next generation of leaders in this country so that in 20 years, there are just as many Matildas, Michaelas and Emilys as CEOs of major Australian companies as Johns, Peters or Davids.

"The program has the potential to impact the girls' lives in a very real way, whether that be building confidence and self-belief, meeting a woman in a job that they may want to pursue, or knowing that there's a community of women around them that encourages them to follow their dreams," Cr Grekas said.

Former Matilda and media personality Amy Duggan attended as a keynote speaker, delivering an inspirational story of resilience and self-belief. Council's General Manager Gail Connolly also shared a personal story with students about her leadership journey.

Students were treated to lunch where they could gather information from five stallholders including Dress for Success, Youth Employment Partnership, Georges River Council Recruitment, Hurstville Aquatic Centre and Headspace.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with 100 per cent of teachers in attendance saying they would like the program to be reoffered.

Students who attended were equally impressed with the program, with 100 per cent of survey respondents saying they would recommend the program to their peers.

One student said that "all the workshops were inspirational and helpful in becoming a leader, pursuing goals and gaining social skills".

Another student said "it was eye-opening and very rewarding to be surrounded by so many strong and inspirational women, their stories have impacted me as a leader and school Vice- Captain."