An open letter: to the future female leaders of Australia

Hear from two past alumnae on how our Emerging Leaders Program has helped shaped them into stronger leaders both personally and professionally, what their key takeaways were and advice for those wishing to take control of their future. 


To the future female leaders of Australia,

At the start of last year I set myself a goal to undertake a program to build on my leadership and development skills. I was beginning to think about what was next in my career and I knew exactly what I was looking for, but wasn’t sure where I could find it: until I came across The Dream Collective via a post on Instagram. I immediately knew this was the program for me given that the company’s visions and values were very much aligned with my own.

The program content covered everything I was looking for and so I immediately made some enquiries and signed myself up for the three-day Bootcamp in Sydney.  I am so thankful for having the opportunity to not only be supported by my manager to undertake this program, but to form new relationships throughout and following the program.  These relationships and networks are what drive and inspire me to take accountability for both my own career, as well as other emerging female leaders.

One of the immediate action points I took following the program was to get myself a mentor, I now have two, one of which is female Partner within my organisation and another of which is an external senior female leader. This has made an incredible impact on my career in the last six months and I would strongly recommend that every woman in the workplace (regardless of their level) seek the same.

One thing which became extremely apparent to me as the week went on was how lucky and appreciative I felt about the organisation I work for and the career development and support I receive and continue to get.  This was contrary to the rest of the group who generally felt restricted in their organisations and weren’t sure what their future looked like. They asked questions such as: where do I go next? How do I have a meaningful conversation around my career pathway?  What else can I do to continue my leadership development?

It was incredibly interesting to listen to the variety of examples discussed across the group around the biases that women continue to face in the workplace.  I personally do not feel I have been affected or held back in my career because of this but the program gave me more awareness and insight into the problems a lot of women face as they progress into a leadership role.

A key takeaway for me was to think about how I can enable my team to feel empowered and to think about how I can encourage emerging leaders both within my organisation and outside of it, to have confidence to achieve what they want. A second takeaway listening to the range of facilitators across the program, was in helping me to grow my confidence in myself to lean in, create and navigate my own career pathway without relying on someone else to do it for me as well as speaking up, taking a risk, going for it, and believing in myself.

However, as mentioned earlier, my key learning from the program was the importance of networking by building relationships and staying connected to other female leaders – something that I feel I had a real opportunity to do through The Dream Collective.  I feel this is extremely important because there is so much to learn and share from each other and the inspiration I have gained following this has certainly made an impact in both my personal and professional life.

Since the program, I have been lucky enough to be invited by The Dream Collective to sit on the panel discussion at the most recent Sydney Bootcamp. It was a reminder of the amazing talent out there among young, female leaders and the important role each of us have in ensuring we create a workplace that is supportive and empowering to other women.

– Ashleigh Burness, ANZ Operations Manager

Connect with Ashleigh via LinkedIn here.


To the future female leaders of Australia,

Thinking back on my first day of the Dream Collective Emerging Leaders Program, I literally had no idea of the journey I was about to embark on!

I thought to myself “Ok great, there’s some content I will benefit from, plus an awesome night planned with a senior female leader in business” but other than that, I wasn’t expecting much.

Well I couldn’t have been further off the mark!

As we progressed through the course, I started to see the relevance of the tips and learnings in my own career at that time. For me, the ah ha moment was when we role played out a scenario of an employee asking her superiors for a pay rise.

Now that seems like an easy enough task for some, but at times, we are all guilty of thinking we’re amazing at what we do but actually asking for other people to recognise this and then rewarding us can be a difficult task.

I learnt that there’s definitely a skill and art to how we communicate what we want to achieve through certain words, tones, body language and sentence structuring.

I’d never really taken the time before to learn how to negotiate, I’d simply just winged it. Now each time I run a meeting, or make a big decision at work, I never wing it. I prepare all the facts, I practice in front of the mirror, and I continually remind myself that I have something of value which the other party involved either needs or doesn’t yet know they need.

Another tip which I picked up was the importance of self-worth exercises. I still to this day write down three things that I’m grateful for in a journal. I haven’t gotten lazy with it, because it feels good to self-reflect and appreciate the smaller things in life such as my morning coffee when times are tough.

So if you’re reading this, and something of my personal journey has sparked your interest, I strongly urge you to check out the Dream Collective and encourage you to reach out to me. Trust me, the inspiring women, amazing content and learnings you will get out of it is very much worth it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Bootcamp has altered my career and confidence for the better.

My advice is not to be a spectator to your own life. Take charge, step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to implement the tools you pick up from others to achieve the most you can. I’ve always dreamed big, and I can’t wait to exceed the goals I’ve set myself!

– Candice Bourke, Investment Adviser 

Connect with Candice via LinkedIn here.

If you, like Candice and Ashleigh, would like to be empowered to lead with confidence, equipped with leadership and cross-functional skills while expanding your professional network, get in touch today here. We can’t wait to meet you!


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