Empowering Women in Business

Empowering Women in Business: Reflections from Our International Women's Day

Over 65 amazing business and professional women joined on Friday 8 March 2024 for our inspiring International Women's Day event. 

Inspirational keynote: Kate Gibson's journey

A highlight of the event was the keynote address by Kate Gibson, who captivated the audience with her story of determination to establish a sanctuary for mental wellbeing through hiking. Kate's narrative was not just about her endeavours but also an invitation to the audience to dare to dream and embrace vulnerability, a message that resonated deeply with many attendees.

Fostering connections: Team activities and camaraderie

The event was energised by team-building activities, brilliantly facilitated by Christine Kuca-Thompson. These activities were not just fun but were instrumental in forging bonds, laughter, and a sense of belonging among the participants, emphasising the importance of collaboration and mutual support in personal and professional growth.

World cafe sessions: Engaging dialogues for reflection and growth

The World Cafe activities added a unique dimension to the event, facilitating meaningful conversations and reflections. These sessions, led by experts Victoria Green, Karen Dennett, Kate Gibson, and Professor Antonia Girardi, covered a wide array of topics, including the dynamics between self-doubt and self-belief,entrepreneurial mindset, envisioning personal goals, and the intricate balance between personal and professional life. The discussions were not only insightful but also encouraged participants to introspect and engage with diverse perspectives.

It was wonderful to hear the moving Welcome to Country from Robyn Collard and Tryse Rioli it set the scene for  a strong feeling of safety and the freedom to be vulnerable, with everyone supporting each other as we shared, learned, and challenged our current thinking. 

In the spirit of sharing, the following provides a synopsis of the world café sessions, offering you a chance to reflect on your own responses to the key questions raised.

The blueprint for balance (hosted by Kate Gibson)

In our session with Kate Gibson, we explored the concept of balance in our lives.

  1. Creating a vision: We began by envisioning our ideal day. Words like "balanced," "peaceful," "family time," "space," "calm," and "productive" came up frequently.

  2. Reality check: We then reflected on our current reality. Let's just say, the responses highlighted a gap for many attendees between their ideal and actual day-to-day experiences!

  3. Striving for balance: The session addressed this gap by exploring strategies to achieve a better work-life balance. Here are some methods shared by the audience:

  • Prioritising your wellbeing: Exercise, meditation, and to-do lists were popular choices.

  • Setting boundaries: Saying no to distractions and establishing screen-free time emerged as key tactics.

  • Mornings matter: Many participants emphasised the value of a dedicated morning routine ("eat the frog" was mentioned!).

  • The power of nature: Spending time outdoors received strong support.

  • Communication is key: Open communication with partners and family was highlighted.

Take a moment to envision your ideal average day. Are there any strategies mentioned that could help you find more balance in your own life? By incorporating some of these practices and reflecting on your personal needs, you can start creating a life that feels truly balanced and fulfilling.

Are you a Paradox Navigator? (hosted by Tonia Girardi)

In this session we explored what it means to be a paradox navigator – navigating the intersection between personal, professional and business life.

A paradox navigator is someone who adeptly handles situations where seemingly opposing forces coexist. They acknowledge the inherent contradictions and find creative solutions that integrate both aspects.

Here's a couple of examples of how this can play out in a woman's world:

  • Assertiveness vs. Agreeableness: Women might be expected to be agreeable and polite, yet effectively advocate for themselves. A paradox navigator might practice confident communication, expressing their opinions clearly while remaining respectful.

  • Visibility vs. Humility: Striving for recognition while maintaining a collaborative spirit can be tricky. A paradox navigator might strategically showcase their achievements while fostering a team environment.

So, are YOU a paradox navigator? Consider these questions:

  • What paradoxes are in your life?

  • How do these paradoxes make you feel?

  • What skills do you currently possess to navigate them effectively?

Understanding your own approach to these paradoxes is the first step towards becoming a true paradox navigator.

Silence self-doubt, amplify self-belief, and back yourself without exception (hosted by Victoria Green)

This session delved into the roadblocks that often prevent us from embracing opportunities and saying "yes" more often.

We identified common challenges faced by many, including:

  • Self-doubt: This crippling voice can hold us back from pursuing possibilities.

  • Social anxiety: Fear of judgment or social situations can limit our willingness to step outside our comfort zone.

  • Imposter syndrome: Feeling like we don't belong or aren't qualified enough can hinder our ability to seize new ventures.

  • Time constraints: Juggling responsibilities can make saying "yes" feel overwhelming.

  • Family commitments: Prioritising family needs is crucial, but it shouldn't come at the expense of personal growth.

  • Lack of energy: Feeling drained can make taking on new challenges seem insurmountable.

Did any of these resonate with you? Reflecting on these obstacles is the first step towards overcoming them.
The session also offered valuable insights on how to silence self-doubt and embrace the power of "yes":

  • Challenge negative thoughts: Don't let self-limiting beliefs dictate your actions.

  • Seek support: Surround yourself with encouraging individuals who believe in you.

  • Focus on your strengths: Recognise your capabilities and leverage them to your advantage.

Remember, backing yourself is a journey, not a destination.

Craft your entrepreneurial mindset (hosted by Karen Dennett)

This session focused on honing the entrepreneurial mindset, a crucial element for business success and personal growth.

We explored a range of essential mindset qualities. Just some examples include:

  • Self-confidence

  • Idea generation

  • Risk acceptance

  • Passion

  • Future focus

  • Independence

  • Optimism

  • Action-oriented.

Acknowledging that we all have these entrepreneurial mindset qualities but at different levels, we were asked which ones we felt were our current mindset qualities and which ones we needed to amplify to achieve business success and personal growth.

It was noted that while some qualities needed to be amplified, others may need to be moderated. For example, we may be great at generating ideas; however, we may need to amplify our ‘execution’ mindset quality to bring those ideas to life.

Reflect on your entrepreneurial mindset qualities. What qualities require amplification and which might need moderation? By actively nurturing your entrepreneurial mindset, you can equip yourself for greater success and personal fulfillment.

In closing

Our International Women's Day celebration was not just an event but a milestone in our collective journey towards empowering women in business and beyond. We invite each of you to carry forward the spirit of empowerment, collaboration, and personal growth. Let's pledge to support one another, celebrate our achievements, and work together towards a future where every day is an opportunity to elevate women in all aspects of life.

International Women's Day 2024



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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.