Case study: Young and emerging leaders recognise their potential

Why Rebecca thinks you should apply for the Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Women Leaders program.

Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Leader 2018 Dr Rebecca Koss

Recognise your potential as one of tomorrow’s leaders – apply!

For Dr Rebecca Koss, the decision to apply for the Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Women Leaders program was an easy one. 'I saw this as an invaluable opportunity for self-development and I went for it.'

The program is a tailored leadership development scholarship. It’s designed to give women who are just starting out or new to leadership positions the skills, networks and experiences they need to achieve their goals.

Developing confidence as a leader

Rebecca admits thinking of herself as a leader didn’t always come easy. 'The label of leader now feels natural, but that’s really something that’s developed over time. The professional and volunteer opportunities I’ve pursued and the fabulous mentors I’ve had along the way all helped me to not only develop the skills I needed, but the confidence to recognise myself as someone who can influence others.'

So what does she hope to get out of the program? 'I’m a life-long learner and I learn best from listening to others.' Rebecca applied to the program to learn about different leadership approaches and styles.

'Meeting and listening to the diverse group of fabulous young women, all with different backgrounds and experiences, has been a real highlight. We’re all different, but what connects us is a passion for gender and cultural equality. We care about things like equality and diversity in the workforce, no matter the sector.'

Rebecca says we can’t champion gender equality and diversity without bringing everyone along on the journey. This includes men (who currently occupy the majority of leadership positions). 'There will always be some people who prefer men in leadership roles - the challenge is to bring them with us. We can’t change their minds without including them in the conversation.'

Think beyond your patch

As a science writer with the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Rebecca is clear about what she wants to do with what she learns from the program. 'I want to encourage the next generation of leaders to think and act beyond their patch. The challenges the future presents can’t be addressed if we stay in our silos. You don’t have to be a science writer to care about the environment or want to make it better. You can use your skills and experiences to achieve the same goal.'

So what would she say to other women who might hesitate in applying for the program?

'Recognise your potential as one of tomorrow’s leaders – apply!'

The Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Leaders program will reopen in 2019.

Reviewed 29 August 2019

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