By Natalie Fitzgerald, with the support of Andrew Terrell

Congratulations to SCA (NSW) and their Young Strata Network (YSN) who recently held a ‘speed networking’ event for it’s under 35 members. Attendees were able to spend time with industry leaders, gaining valuable knowledge as well as expanding their network of contacts. Unfortunately, I had a meeting on that evening and was unable to attend, by all accounts it was a fantastic night.

I was disturbed, however when I saw photos of the event. Disturbed, but also motivated. There were just two (two!) women experts on the panel of over twenty. There was a total of five invited. This is not because the YSN steering committee didn’t want to include women. To the contrary, they too were aware of the gender imbalance, however, as I discussed with their steering committee chair, Andrew Terrell, women are underrepresented in Senior Management roles (as opposed to strata management positions).

So where are we? Where are the women? More importantly, how do we implement change and empower YOU to be in those leadership roles?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if, five years from now, at a YSN networking event, we saw an expert panel represented equally by women and men? And not just YSN, but at any panel, conference or seminar in the sector. I am excited about a future in strata where women are called on for their expert opinion, where we are holding senior roles, in numbers equal to our male colleagues.

I think we, as a sector can achieve this. We KNOW there are talented, intelligent, ambitious, capable and qualified women in our sector. What we need to do is empower those women, to empower YOU to go after those Senior Management roles. For you to KNOW you are worthy of them. You ARE capable. You are qualified. And you can do it.

Andrew Terrell, as chair of the YSN steering committee, is committed to gender equality, and will work with WiS for future events. WiS is committed to providing resources, advocacy and support to women to achieve this goal. We, along with YSN, want to empower the young women in the sector to reach for the sky.

As Amanda Farmer attests here, a mentor will provide you with the know-how, but also, the confidence to reach up. To pull yourself up each rung of the ladder. To not be deterred. To not give up. We are committed, through the mentoring program, to carefully match mentor to mentee, so each person benefits. So the sector benefits. So our women are empowered to step up, step out and follow their aspirations with the confidence of knowing they can.

We welcome applications from both men and women to be a mentor, and we encourage all women in the sector who want more from their career to consider signing up . All the details, including a simple ‘how to’ guide will be explained at our launch breakfast next Thursday. Come along, be part of changing the picture.

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