Remarkable University leaders have shared their experience, advice and learnings on leadership on International Women’s Day.
Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans, was the first woman to hold that role at Griffith and welcomed the focus on the importance of women’s leadership for this year’s International Women’s Day.
“Griffith has women across the university who are leading and providing a wonderful example for other colleagues and students,” Professor Evans said.
Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous and Head of Logan Campus Professor Cindy Shannon admits her leadership journey was, at times, daunting.
“Every job I have had, since 1992, I’ve been the first in that role. So there’s been nobody else that I can turn to or get some advice from or mentoring who has been in that role.
“And I realised that I didn’t know everything, I couldn’t possibly, and that I was setting up something new, so I had to empower people around me, I had to support them, trust them.
“The best leadership advice I’ve ever received was that my job as a leader is to empower and support.
“That advice does reflect my leadership journey very well.”
Her advice for women navigating uncertain times is both powerful and uplifting.
“Be courageous. Be really supportive of one another and don’t forget or lose sight of what a hurdle we overcame last year.”
“I think what we can celebrate is the agility, the resilience, the support for one another that I saw through extraordinarily challenging times.
“It wasn’t just a period of change it was a period of great uncertainty. It did call for a lot of courage and a lot of resilience and I really respect the way people stepped up to that.
“It was very easy to say at the end of 2021 thank goodness that year is over and of course what happened last year will change the way we do some things for ever but we’re not out the other end yet.”
Griffith will host an exclusive livestream event on International Women’s Day, featuring Griffith Business School alumnus, strategist and researcher Dr Elise Stephenson. She will lead a discussion with fellow alumni, human rights lawyer and Fullbright Scholar Sasha Purcell (Whaleboat), and Sir John Monash Scholarship recipient Emily Ragus on the topic of Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world.
Dr Stephenson, an advocate for increasingly marginalised voices, particularly those of women and young people, in Australian international affairs, said the best leadership advice she’s received was to paddle her own canoe.
“You have the power to determine where your life goes,” she said.
”If you come up against choppy waters, it will be okay.
“If you run up against a current or a receding tide, you actually have the ability to change direction.
“For the next generation I say embrace uncertainty. This is really your opportunity to upskill, build on your options and create your own future.
“Gather your own army and stick to your values and principles. Because those leaders that you don’t see out there in the world…. we need you to be them.”
Dr Stephenson said 2020 showed the incredible efforts of women across the economy, “whether it is that we’re the majority of frontline workers or health workers or educators or (doing) domestic work in the home.”
“I was really excited to see that New Zealand had its first indigenous female foreign minister, which would be great to also see in Australia too.
“My leadership advice to organisations, business or govt would be that crisis is not the time to let gender inequality slide.“
Watch Griffith leaders including Professor Caitlin Byrne, Professor Shannon and Professor Susan Harris-Rimmer, along with Dr Stephenson, Dr Lara Herrero and Dr Dhara Shah speak on leadership, equality and celebrating women.