Country to Canberra ‘Power Trip’ inspires future female leaders

19.12.17

From primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women? This was the leading question for senior rural high school students vying for the Country to Canberra ‘Power Trip’, where winners experienced four days of personal and professional development in the nation’s capital in December 2017.

The empowerment program aims to inspire young rural women to reach their leadership potential and create their own path in rural Australia.

Program founder, Hannah Wandel’s passion for ensuring young women living in rural and remote communities have equal access to education and opportunities prompted the business idea.

“The ‘Power Trip’ program is something very close to my heart. I grew up in a rural community and am passionate about making sure young rural women are empowered to reach their leadership potential,” said Hannah.

“In Australia we have a large imbalance when it comes to women in leadership. Women are underrepresented in the boardroom, in executive positions, in politics and primary industries. We need to be really proactive with delivering opportunities to kids in rural areas and provide them with equal opportunities to succeed.”

AgriFutures Australia played an integral role in investing in the program by sponsoring three of the 14 winners to attend the Canberra ‘Power Trip’ to meet with prominent leaders including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,  2017 AgriFutures™ NSW/ACT Rural Women’s Award Winner, Sandra Ireson and National Farmers’ Federation President, Fiona Simson.

The three young women sponsored by AgriFutures Australia came from three very different areas of rural and regional Australia.

Rose Denovan, Year 11 student at All Saints College, Bathurst NSW was extremely grateful for such a great opportunity.

“Country to Canberra has truly been an absolutely amazing and unforgettable experience that I will remember and look back on for years to come,” said Rose.

Rose’s winning entry focused on empowerment starting at a primary level and embedding the ambition in young women through their secondary years.

 

Isabella Thomas, Year 12 student at Daylesford Secondary College, Daylesford VIC, constructed a powerful video with a strong message portraying that support and visibility is key to inspiring young girls to become powerful women.

Amy Astill, Year 10 student at John Paul’s College, Kalgoorie-Boulder WA, submitted a powerful poem, ‘From Wife to Life’ focused on how gender inequality in today’s society remains stagnant.

Rose explained her key take-home lesson from the Power Trip.

“The biggest lesson from the trip was that most people who had experienced success or were in positions of power had undergone setbacks when they were younger, but resilience and hard work allowed them to overcome failures or disappointments. Their perseverance and dedication to their jobs was a key factor to their success.”

A future in agriculture may also be in Rose’s sights, with the experience opening her eyes to opportunities that she previously never thought possible.

Hannah Wandel expressed her gratitude for AgriFutures Australia’s investment in the program.

“Thanks to AgriFutures Australia’s support we’ve been able to change these girls’ lives, build skills and connections with people in Canberra and really open their eyes up to opportunities in agriculture. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

AgriFutures Australia strives to attract capable people into careers in agriculture and build the capability of future rural leaders. The Country to Canberra initiative forms part of the AgriFutures Australia people and leadership arena. For more opportunities and initiatives supported by AgriFutures Australia visit agrifutures.com.au/people-leadership/.