The QUT Pathways to Politics program for Women is an opportunity for women who are seriously considering being elected or have already been pre-selected to learn more about the nuts and bolts of politics and how to navigate the challenges and opportunities of their political journey. Like Katie Havelberg, participants on the program come from many different backgrounds and bring their expertise to bear on their choice to start on their political journey.
Katie shares what she learned from the program and how it transformed her and built her confidence to seriously consider a political career.
Who or what influenced/inspired you to apply?
I had seen the program was being run in Victoria, and I watched anxiously each year to see if we would get it in Queensland. As a scientist, I have always felt we needed more science-based policy-making and leadership in politics. I wanted to be part of a program that was enabling women to move into political leadership, that talked openly and honestly about the ins and outs of political life, and that exposed me to other women with similar interests and experiences in leadership.
I submitted an application for the inaugural Queensland program with the thought, “this is my practice application, next year I might actually have a chance to be accepted.” To my complete and utter surprise, I was accepted. Fair to say that I suffer from some degree of imposter syndrome!
How did the Pathways to Politics Program transform you / help you the most?
Pathways to Politics gave me real direction for a potential future in politics.
In my mind it had always been something for the future, it would maybe just happen one day by accident. The program included personal development and leadership coaching and policy development, right through to practical skills such as media training.
During the program, I had a few moments of self-realisation about my own worth and where I wanted to expend my energy and purpose. As a result of this, I have commenced a new job allowing me to become more involved in the political process on a day-to-day basis and to develop my own leadership skills.
What was the highlight of your experience?
The highlight for me was meeting other women who had the same intensity that I had.
Coming in a very close second was hearing from all of the politicians who spoke so candidly about the realities of political life, and especially hearing that being a politician was the best job in the world.
What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do this program?
To anyone considering applying, without hesitation, I would say go for it.
What message would you give those who donated to the cost of this program?
To those who supported this program, either financially or in other ways (big thank you to the advisory panel and mentors), I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude for making this program possible.
Supporting women to enter politics will have social and economic benefits for us all.