On Wednesday 26 May 2021, the College held the fourth annual Women in Leadership Forum. It was a wonderful and inspirational evening with an impressive line-up of speakers including ex-students Melanie Silva and Dr. Natalie Galea as well as Michelle Lee and Professor Deborah Richards. Sharing their varied stories of successes and challenges, the speakers spoke honestly and with humility. Their messages of courage and service and resonated with our Mercy community. It was truly an extraordinary night where all our speakers inspired and ignited in us a sense of limitless possibilities.
Mercy Girls were joined by College staff, parents and carers, Alumnae and students from local schools in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta on Wednesday 29 May for the 2019 Women in Leadership Forum.
Four inspirational Forum speakers from a variety of fields shared their perspectives on women in leadership and discussed how each of us can boldly expand beyond what we know we can be. Edwina Bartholomew - Journalist and Presenter with the Seven Network was joined by Annabelle Chauncy OAM - CEO and Founding Director of School for Life Foundation, Liz Scully - Chair, NSW Labor Women’s Forum and Chair, Parramatta Women’s Shelter and Belinda Woolford - CEO Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Western Sydney.
“Each year the College is fortunate to have four generous, kind and confident women willing to share their career stories of successes and challenges, hopes and dreams, and diversions along the way. We know that girls learn from these narratives, particularly when the stories are told with humility and humour and the 2019 Forum speakers have been exceptional. Their consistent message of courage and service resonated with our Mercy community and inspired everyone present to consider ways they could effectively contribute to the wider community.” Marie Wood, College Deputy Principal
There were common themes throughout the evening including the importance of seeking mentoring, backing yourself, being courageous, being true to yourself and following your passion. The Forum kicked off with an appeal by Edwina Bartholomew to “be yourself, back yourself and believe in yourself.” She reiterated that it’s important to work very, very hard to achieve your dreams. Belinda Woolford outlined three important lessons she has learnt on her journey: "Leadership lesson number 1 is give it a go. Number 2 is you don't always need a plan, you just need the courage to take risks. Lesson 3 is get a mentor."
Liz Scully paraphrased Saint Teresa of Avila, encouraging students to trust God that you are where you are supposed to be. Annabelle Chauncy also highlighted the importance of mentoring: "One of the most important things about my journey is the fact that I had a mentor. My mentor taught me to crawl before you walk and walk before you run - taking one step at a time."
Four inspirational forum speakers took part in the second annual OLMC Women in Leadership Forum on Wednesday, August 29 2018 in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta.
Marina Go, Chair of Wests Tigers NRL Club and New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Justice Julia Lonergan was joined by the Captain of the AFL GWS Giants Amanda Farrugia and Restaurateur
Carol Salloum on a panel that will explore perspectives on women in leadership and discuss how each of us can boldly expand beyond what we know we can be.
Mercy Girls and their families were joined by alumnae of the College, current students, staff and the broader community for this special event which saw speakers each share their stories before joining the conversation through a Q&A session.
Principal (Acting) Marie Wood said it was great to hear the stories of such diverse women, and hearing how they have recognised opportunities and grown from them: “My hope is that, in sharing these stories, it will inspire our young women to be confident and positive in their engagement with the world.”
Panellist Amanda Farrugia, who is also an OLMC ex-student and current PDHPE teacher, was excited to share her insights about her leadership journey: “I want to enable students and all attendees to gain an insight into the demands and expectations of leadership in the broader world, the challenges of leading a team in a new sporting venture (particularly in a traditionally male-dominated sport) and the challenges women face in balancing sport, work and other commitments.”
Newly appointed Head Girl for 2018/2019 Sophie Brown says the Forum is a wonderful initiative that provides young women with lots of insightful information: “Hearing the stories of strong, confident women ignites in us the courage and belief that we can all be women of leadership in our own way.”
Four inspirational forum speakers challenged women to embrace all opportunities and to back themselves at the inaugural OLMC Women in Leadership Forum on Wednesday, August 23 2017 in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre.
Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services and Labor Member for Barton, and Samantha Armytage, Media Personality and co-host of Channel Seven’s Sunrise, were joined by Author Felicity Castagna and Dr Yijiao Jiang, Senior Lecturer at MQ Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre, on a panel that explored the challenges and opportunities faced by women today.
Mercy Girls and their families, representatives from the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, students and staff from seven other Sydney schools and staff and friends of OLMC listened to the speakers’ addresses before joining in the conversation through a Q&A session and a live Twitter and SMS Feed.
Principal Stephen Walsh says that, in many ways, this event goes to the heart of what OLMC Parramatta is about; “For almost 130 years, OLMC has been equipping women to push the boundaries and at the forum, we heard personal experiences and insights from four outstanding women who do this well in their respective fields. We are passionate about giving our girls access to strong female role models and this is one of the reasons we initiated the annual OLMC Women in Leadership Forum. Every day at the College, through events like this, but also through smaller conversations, it is made abundantly clear that the OLMC story is about strong women of Mercy making an impact.”
The Forum speakers shared heartfelt advice, both from a practical and big picture perspective. Linda Burney MP told the audience that we all have something remarkable to share as women and it is important to remind yourself of what makes you who you are. She shared her seven ‘Ls’ of advice to Listen, Learn, Lose well, have Limits, demonstrate Loyalty, Live well and to think of life as a journey, a Long game. Samantha Armytage encouraged girls to identify and hold onto their values and to get to know themselves and treat themselves kindly. She challenged girls to be open to opportunities, brave, resilient, to work hard and seek out mentors.
A key theme that came through from each speaker, according to Deputy Principal Marie Wood, was the importance of being true to yourself – of being authentic; “Their wonderful stories were funny and inspiring and reminded us all to never give up believing in yourself and to live your life with courage and confidence.”