2018 Women on the Move : Voice Matters

So many of us wish we had the courage to speak up when it really matters. Speak for ourselves and for others. Our Women on the Move forum this year titled ‘Voice Matters’ challenged us to own the voice we have.

Guided by Anisa Nanduala we wrote our very own poems channeling our authentic voice to share what we care about, what compels us. Interestingly I recognised the importance for me to use my voice to recognised those individuals who are ‘anchors’ in my life and have supported me.

Amna Karra-Hassan encouraged us to represent ourselves authentically and to ‘get comfortable feeling uncomfortable’. Together with the panel of Major General Stephen Porter, Julie Hassan and Alastair Lynch we engaged in a meaningful discussion on how men and women can work together to give women voice and empower them to find their own pathways.

Anisa Nanduala and Amna Karra-Hassan encouraged and inspired us all at this years Women on the Move event.

The question we will always ask ourselves on reflective days like this is, so what do I do differently? Certainly, the power of coaching circles allowed all of us to take home at least one key to opening up our possibilities.

Thank you to Dr. Cathy See and the GSB team for a transformative and inspirational day of reflection and self-discovery.

 Read on for other reflections of the day…

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How can we fix the gender imbalance in management positions and particular very male-dominated working environments?  What can I do to support other women in reaching their full potential?  When is the right time to have a voice?  Where am I headed? 

These were some of the things I thought I might get a few more insights into when I attended the Women on the Move forum – Voice Matters.  Well, all my expectations were blown out of the water.  Straight up I was challenged.  Anisa Nandaula gave us a spoken poetry lesson and having to write down my values and aspirations was terrifying. I plucked up the courage to let the rest of the room hear what I had to say.  It was like slowly dipping into an unknown pool, at first you thought it was going to be a complete shock, however, as I started I felt the warmth of the other women in the room.  It was actually a great experience.  Listening to their stories was inspirational.

Whatever my perceptions were of women from the western suburbs of Sydney were have just been totally altered.  Amna K-Hassan was without a doubt one of the best speakers I have ever heard.  Her life experience and motivation to have the courage and have a go was without a doubt a story of true grit and determination.  It is a modern day story of David and Goliath.  She has broken all the stereotypes given to women and religion.  Her tenacity, humour and genuine authenticity makes her a leader I certainly would follow and aspire to be like.

A great panel discussion followed, a few very challenging and topical debates that were conducted with the utmost respect. 

The afternoon provided some time for real reflection and to get to know some of the other participants on a more personal level.  It was a really diverse bunch of people, and I felt privileged to be amongst them for the day.  

Alison Pocock
National RMX Process Improvement Manager

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At a break in the Women on the Move event, one participant said to me that the day had been recommended to her by a colleague, who said to her “you will have to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone.” I think that one of the greatest benefits that an event like WoM can deliver. I think we all need to be challenged regularly and reflect on our discomfort. Whether hearing views that don’t mesh with our own thinking, being asked to write poetry, converse with new people or sing in a group, the WoM had multiple opportunities to test our personal boundaries and see perhaps where we have imposed limitations on ourselves.

Brene Brown in her work on vulnerability speaks of the importance of leaning into discomfort. Vulnerability, she argues, is the “birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for – love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust.”  What I walked away with was a sense of opening up to new possibilities, and I’m sure that was the experience for all the wonderful brave women who joined in with us.

Dr Kate Joyner

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The eclectic mix of speakers and participants at this year’s Women on the Move conference generated an atmosphere of community and curiosity across the day. Spoken Word Poet Anisa Nandaula’s performance jarred the room into a strong self-reflective space and set the scene for the powerful story of advocacy and leadership shared by Amna Karra-Hasan. 

For me, one of the thoughts from panelist, Maj Gen Stephen Porter, that resonated most for me was that at leaders and influencers we need to move our focus from being interesting to being interested. Looking forward to watching how our Women in Leadership community can continue to flourish.

Dr Cathy See

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Amna’s session was fabulous! She is a woman with purpose, passion and a determination to succeed and bring others along the journey with her. That inspired me.

She challenged us to think big, have courage, seek support from allies in the community and never give up!

One of Amna’s quotes that really stuck with me was… ‘I’m not asking for your permission, I’m asking for your support’.

Kristy Hammond

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I came in late to Anisa’s session – but quickly saw how she had the group thinking… about what holds us back, what we can do, and how we can make a difference. Her poetry challenge produced some amazing insights – words that stick in my mind are “Courage is fear walking” and “not having a seat at the table”. Sorry I cannot credit the authors of these powerful insights – but I was impressed with the courage displayed by all those who read out their thoughts. Anisa’s energy and passion inspired and encouraged to think and reflect on the kind of person I am, and who I could be.

Amna’s directness and honesty challenged me to think about what compels me and how will people remember me? Her sharing of the challenges she faced resonated with me. My challenges where mostly my own perceptions, nothing as real at Amna’s, but none the less real to me. Her courage and bravery inspire me to continue challenging myself, get uncomfortable and step up!

To sum up and quoting both these inspirational women… “I leave you with this…”, “if you want to achieve greatness – stop asking for permission”.

Glenda Markwell

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To continue the conversation, please add your comments below
or join us on LinkedIn at: QUT eX | Women in Leadership


Professor Vicky Browning is currently the Director Client Programs for QUTeX and is responsible for the national Public Sector Management Program (PSMP) and corporate programs delivered by QUTeX . She qualified as an organisational psychologist and complete her PhD at the University of Cape Town on the influence of HR practices on service behaviour in the retail and hospitality sector. Prior to her academic career she held senior HR roles in industry and consulted in training and development. She has taught in the areas of leadership, organizational behaviour and human resource management in undergraduate and post graduate programs including the MBA and client executive programs at QUT, University of Otago and University of Cape Town. Her research has focused on service behaviour, human resource management and leadership development. Currently she researches into pedagogy with a particular emphasis on the impact of executive education in organisations.


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    Dr Fran Finn Reply

    It is always an honour to be present at a Women on the Move event, I love the opportunity to experience the energy that is palpable on the day and simply “be”.

    This year I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by Anisa Nandaula and Amna Karra-Hassan – both such inspirational women. In particular, I found the structure Anisa used to encourage us to use metaphors to express our inner voice incredibly powerful personally, whilst at the same time, such a useful tool that I could incorporate into my leadership coaching.

    The subsequent discussions, initially generated by the panel, which were continued over a lovely lunch and drawn together in coaching conversations, proved a thoroughly memorable and thought provoking day.

  2. Avatar
    Glenda Markwell Reply

    Thank you to all those who participated in this event and have contributed to the feedback. If you haven’t done so already please complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H6N8677. It should only take a couple of minutes and will enable us to plan future workshops on topics that interest you.

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