More than 15 academics from across Griffith University took part in a speed mentoring session in support of young women at the Wheel of Brisbane, in South Bank, last week.

The speed mentoring event was the first of its kind to be held in Brisbane.

Representatives of Griffith Business School and Arts, Education & Law each mentored four young women from years 10-11 for a 15-minute session inside the iconic Wheel’s pods, helping them to tackle problems and challenges arising in their studies and personal lives.

An initiative of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival — of which Griffith was a presenting partner — the speed mentoring commemorated this year’s International Day of the Girl, which took place on Thursday, 11 October.

Mentor and Griffith Business School Associate Lecturer Dr Elaine Yang said she was inspired to take part in the speed mentoring sessions after attending WOW earlier this year.

“I attended the Women of the World Festival sponsored by GBS back in April and was inspired by the speakers,” Dr Yang said.

“One speaker encouraged the attendees to ‘change things within our reach’. There’s also a famous feminist quote saying, ‘empowered women, empower women’. That was why I volunteered at the event: to give back to the community and to lift others up.

“To quote [Facebook chief operating officer] Sheryl Sandberg, ‘Women need to shift from thinking, “I’m not ready to do that,” to thinking, “I want to do that — and I’ll learn by doing it.”’”

Mentors and students line up for their spot on the Wheel of Brisbane.

Mentors helped their charges with commonly cited issues among teens, including balancing parental and peer expectations, dealing with social media and cyberbullying, thinking about subject and university choices, balancing sporting and academic commitments, and dealing with stress, anger and conflict.

Dr Yang said she believes that supporting events such as the speed mentoring session speak to Griffith’s ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality in all aspects of its culture and operations.

“Griffith is supportive of promoting gender equality in more than just its words; it takes action by sponsoring events like WOW and Day of the Girl,” Dr Yang said.

“The speed mentoring at the second event is especially important, as it allows the girls to talk to mentors from different professions. You cannot be what you cannot see, and I believe the event has inspired some young hearts.”

The speed mentoring event was the first of its kind to be held in Brisbane, and forms part of a larger WOW Festival Legacy Event, which included an appearance by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, a performance from celebrated Indigenous singer-songwriter Emily Wurramara, a multi-faceted panel discussion, workshop event and much more.

See WOW’s website for more information, and find out more about Griffith’s mentors below.

Dr Abi Badejo
, Research Fellow/Sessional Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Ms Anna Webb, Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Mrs Anoushka Dowling, Director, MATE Violence Protection Program
Professor Caitlin Byrne, Director, Griffith Asia Institute
Ms Caitlin Mollica, Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Dr Deborah Delaney, Program Director, Griffith Business School Outreach
Dr Elaine Yang, Associate Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Ms Melissa Watt, Research Assistant
Associate Professor Rebecca Loudoun, Director of Engagement, Griffith Business School
Ms Robyn Wells, Schools Engagement Manager, Griffith Business School
Associate Professor Sara Davies, Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith Business School
Associate Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer, Griffith Law School
Dr Susan Ressia, Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Dr Tracey West, Lecturer, Griffith Business School
Professor Anne Tiernan, Director, Policy Innovation Hub, Griffith Business School
Ms Shaan Ross-Smith, Director, MATE Violence Protection Program
Ms Whitley Bradford, Associate Lecturer, Griffith Business School