Keira High School student Rebecca Gonchee aspires to one day be a leader who makes a positive difference in her community.
It could be argued the 17-year-old school captain is already a leader of sorts, having helped organise a number of events, most notably an International Women’s Day Breakfast.
But Miss Gonchee wanted to take it a step further with the Women and Leadership Forum she held at the school on Friday.
‘’This forum follows on from the International Women’s Day Breakfast where we had Lisa Burling as our guest speaker,’’ she said.
‘’Everyone found listening to her story and experiences really inspirational and beneficial so I decided to further develop the past event and create this forum where we can explore the challenges and joys as a female leader.’’
Burling, a journalist and PR professional with over 20 years experience, was on the forum panel which also included Public Schools NSW Wollongong North Network director Debbie Lowe and Keira High School deputy principal Skye Gray.
But it was having Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Commandant, Brigadier Cheryl Pearce as a panel member that most excited Miss Gonchee.
‘’I like to challenge myself and I hope one day to study electrical engineering at ADFA and have a career in the Navy. I’m very privileged to have the commandant of ADFA here, she said.
COMDT Pearce was also excited about helping young women be the ‘’best they can be’’.
‘’Having 32 years in the army and coming through as a young 18-year-old and looking back at my younger self, I now see the opportunities that are presented to our future leaders and I’m happy to help, motivate and inspire them to be the best they can be,’’ she said.
‘’I’d encourage the girls to step outside their comfort zone, always challenge the norm, challenge where you want to be and what you want to do and give everything a shot.
‘’As a female in defence, it’s a great place to be. It’s an equal opportunity [industry] and you can do whatever you want to do in whatever service you choose to serve in.’’
About 100 people attended the forum.