On the 28th November 2017, I delivered a keynote address to the YWCA Canberra She Leads High Conference, a one-day leadership event specifically targeted at young women, including female identifying and non-binary people, in years 9 and 10.
Being able to speak about my journey, lessons learnt, and what lies ahead for all of us was so exciting, as I would have loved something like this when I was 15! I drew from my experience of studying my undergrad and PhD at the Australian National University, founding and growing Fifty50 with Em Campbell, and then my transition to industry as a Consultant at Arup to distill two key learnings for these young people:
1. Be purpose driven – and you will always make the right decisions for you
2. Focus on growth – our world is changing so fast, don’t worry about what your career will be, but do focus on your growth.
Read on for a testimonial from YWCA Canberra Executive Director, Frances Crimmins:
“Francesca has long been a force in the Canberra community advocating for young women within STEM. Following her award of 2017 Young Woman of the Year, and given her clear alignment with the work YWCA Canberra do, Francesca was an obvious choice to speak at our inaugural She Leads High Conference.
She Leads High Conference is a one-day leadership event specifically targeted at young women, including female identifying and non-binary people, in years 9 and 10. Held on November 28, Francesca delivered a keynote address to more than 90 young women from 12 ACT and Canberra-region schools.
Francesca was chosen as one of the three keynotes to speak because of her ongoing commitment to gender equality, and her ability to speak passionately about ways to increase the number of girls and women within STEM. Francesca was also selected because due to her outstanding presentation skills, which show her to be continually engaging and motivating.
The value that Francesca brought on the day was immense, not only to the overall atmosphere of the Conference, but to the young women. In the evaluation forms the young women wrote highly of Francesca, discussing the importance of increase the number of women in STEM, of being encouraged to pursue engineering, and of becoming fearless to charge ahead into the world of STEM regardless of how little women were currently there to support them.
Engaging Francesca as a keynote was a worthwhile venture. She surpassed our expectations as a speaker, she was easy to work with throughout the planning process, and timely in providing all necessary inputs. It is without hesitation that I recommend Francesca Maclean to everybody seeking an experienced, professional, engaging, and highly motivating speaker. After hearing Francesca speak, I have no doubt that your audience will be motivated to not only spur change, but also be the change.”