International Women’s Day 2020 #EachforEqual

On Thursday 12 March, Oakhill College was privileged to welcome four inspirational, resilient women to celebrate International Women’s Day. Briony Akle, NSW Swifts Coach, Louise Sauvage, Paralympian Gold Medallist, Elisabeth Goh, from NSW Department of Communities and Justice and Amber Foster, Oakhill Alumni Class of 2017. Facilitated by Rose Garofano, Dean of Curriculum and Deborah Gillis, Dean of Pastoral Care, attendees were given an insight into some of the challenges and experiences that these women have faced. Our panellists all had a different story to share and have achieved success in their chosen careers, while overcoming personal challenges and times of self-doubt, that they credit with shaping them into the person they are today.

The common theme of these women’s stories was the tenacity, resilience and many setbacks they have experienced in their life. They emphasised that there is no failure in life and your path in life can change in a direction you didn’t expect, and this is something to embrace. Our speakers reminded us that we can be so much more than we think, but we must have the self-belief and determination to make it happen. We heard how balance is a key ingredient to success and how you can define success on your own terms as it comes in a wide variety of forms.

Our panel discussed how an important key to success is surrounding yourself with people who are healthy for you, who will encourage you to stand up and to be the best version of yourself and who will proudly celebrate your achievements. They advocated ‘leaning in’ with people and taking chances and opportunities when they come your way, as life is not a spectator sport.

Our panellists talked about how as young independent women, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements no matter how big or small.

Social media was a prominent topic of discussion, as living life as a high-profile figure often comes with social media exposure accompanied by negative and false comments. The panel recognised that what you see on social media is generally not a true representation of a person’s life, only showing a tiny portion of the reality, the parts they want people to see – it is not the authentic person and doesn’t show the full picture. Our guests acknowledged that you can’t avoid social media and it does have its benefits, but the key is managing how you engage with it and respond to it. They have all learned to turn the phone off and not look at comments about them – to remain true and authentic to themselves.

At the end of our celebration, Oakhill College launched the 2020 International Women’s Day #EachforEqual video, showing what some of our staff and students think of the most important women in their life.

Following our inspirational speakers, our audience of over 300 people enjoyed morning tea as well as an opportunity to talk further to our guests.

#EachforEqual #IWD2020 #internationalwomensday

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