Westpac Summit 2019 - How has being a Westpac Future Leader impacted me?

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2 years ago, when I stood here at my Summit, I heard stories of how the Westpac scholarships had changed lives, I heard about the immense impact it had had on the scholars and the bonds they shared. I stood, immersed in this evening full of wonder about my journey with Westpac and the stories I might have to share one day.

I never dreamed that in 2 years so much was possible and just how instrumental my Westpac community would be. When I began my FL journey, I was a mother of one, embarking on a PHD and I had no idea what the future would hold. Since then,  Ive been interviewed, photographed, MC’d prestigious events,  and been invited to give key notes. Ive had the privilege of meeting experts in my field, dignitaries, royalty and Ive pitched in front of hundreds of people across the globe. And all of these opportunities are as a direct result of my connections with the Westpac Community.

 What I initially thought would be a 9 month program has become an ongoing and ever growing relationship. It started with The Leadership Development Program, and while the depth of knowledge and the calibre of speakers still influence me today, the real magic was found in the vulnerability, and the emotional moments shared within my cohort.

 I have spent weeks trying to pin point the exact thing that sets Westpac apart from other programs And if I boil it all down, to one thing -  the one thing that helps keep me motivated on tough days, that one thing that has changed my fundamental view of myself, and of how I envisage my  future to be then that one thing is that they believe in me. I had doubts, especially when I had my second baby last year, I was fearful that Id fall behind, that Id be forgotten, overlooked and that Id sit by and watch others soar ahead as I felt torn between my role as scholar and mum. And yet, Ive missed nothing. With every email, with every opportunity, with every conversation, the Westpac community prove that they believe in me. and there’s an extraordinary power in having someone believe in you, especially when we start to question what we are capable of for whatever reason. it burns away any self doubt and fuels a sense of empowerment that simply can’t be achieved without authentic connection.

 When I recently founded the Village Foundation I sought from Westpac mentorship, advice, connections, and what I received was that and so much more. Ive been thrust into the forefront and been given the best people and the best tools so that I can set about making my dream a reality.

2 years ago, I danced with new friends. Tonight I am so honoured to call them old friends. And as I embark on my future I do so with the backing and strength of a community of compassionate, inspiring people – of friends, mentors, colleagues who all foster a belief in each other that tells us we can move mountains,  that we can impact Australia’s future for the better.

Im just one of hundreds of Westpac scholars, but the effect this program has had on me, is profound. Thank you, for the opportunities, the community, and for your belief in me. 

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