On an autumn morning in May, 500 women gathered at Melbourne Convention Centre to be inspired, to be uplifted, but above all to connect. Welcome to Women Leading Change.
As Seane Corn, American Yogi Extraordinaire, opened the day, she spoke of separation and how it is on all of us to close the gap. The bar was set high as she spoke about her own personal journey, including her time in New York clubs and meeting one man in particular who bestowed this slice of advice which pretty much encapsulated the ethos of Wake Up Project’s tour...
“Ignore the stories, see the soul. Remember to love. You will never regret it”.
With not a dry eye in the house, the tone was set. One of heart cracking honesty, strength, wild resilience and true feminine beauty.
Janine Shepherd, the former cross-country skier, who, after a life changing accident left her with a broken neck and back, as well as a host of other devastating injuries, gained her pilots license within a year of leaving hospital. If you haven’t seen Janine’s TED Talk it is not one to be missed and gives a true view of what she shared; that acceptance is a lived experience, it is a doorway that we must pass through to live. How true acceptance only comes when you say ‘YES” to the whole experience and that it’s not about having it all but loving it all.
Or as writer and former model Tara Moss put it, it’s actually about having YOUR all. As someone who was famed for her physical looks Tara delved into what it looks and feels like to be a woman living today. With all the media attention and consistent reminders that despite all that has moved forward, women are still disproportionally represented in politics, media, and corporations, even in our own social circles. How if we as women are to create change we first must look after our selves, stop holding ourselves, or others up as superheros and recognise that as ‘ordinary’ people, we are capable of extra-ordinary things.
Which couldn’t be truer of the firework that is Lucy Perry, the former CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. After going from a volunteer to CEO in the space of three short years, Lucy spoke of audacious determination, courage and how kindness should be the default business practice of every business. She also had the whole house laughing and crying, even sharing the story of how she gave birth at a party and that we need to always take the time to celebrate the wins.
Clare Bowditch celebrated women in all shapes, sizes and stages. How we must sit in The Uncomfortable During and acknowledge that life is seldom lead at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ stage. Treating us to a couple of songs – the lyrics reminding us that if:
“You want an amazing life
But you can't decide
You don't have to be just one thing
But you have to start with something
Leading an amazing life can only be done if we show up fully in every area, which is what Tami Simon urged us to investigate. Asking us if we can heed the call of our dreams, to have the courage to find out and be comfortable with forging the path that hasn’t been trodden yet. Tami left us with trust, truth and letting go as being the keys to being true to who we are.
Coming full circle, Seane Corn took to the stage again to tie up the threads of the themes that were shared on stage throughout the day. Reminding us to simply start where we are. There is no place to be other than now and to approach life, leadership and change with open ears, open eyes and above all an open heart.
I left feeling uplifted and so bonded to all the other people in the audience. Creating a space where hearts are open and people have come together with a similar intention awakens a very special and potent kind of energy. I think it was a beginning to understanding our own power and truth as women; that we, as we are and where we are, are the change makers who will lead the world into a new way of being.