The 10th annual Illawarra Women in Business Conference and Expo Day addressed an important issue on Friday.
After a panel discussion facilitated by The Disability Trust's Margaret Biggs that involved Henny Williams, of Essential Bookkeeping Solutions, Marie Russo, of the Zig Zag Hub and Amy Harper, of Kells Lawyers, the keynote address was delivered by Jo Burston, of Inspiring Rare Birds.
Ms Burston spoke about many important statistics and about how going back to her old primary and high schools with the blessing of the Department of Education earlier this decade changed her life and has helped many others. She interviewed 30 children between the ages of 8 and 17 and asked them "who do you want to become"?
Ms Burston said many children even in high school still don't know what job they want to get when they leave high school.
She also asked the girls she interviewed what an entrepreneur was and most said it was a man in business or a man who has a business. And she realised girls cannot become what they can't see.
"There is a real reason why young boys want to become firefighters and young girls want to become nurses and teachers. It is because that is what their environment shows them," she said.
"This exercise was a real grounding moment for me to understand that you have to be able to see who you can become.
"There are very few young people that I meet who know what they want to become or who they want to be as they grow. I was pretty inspired by these young women and decided I would create a full profit social impact organisation called Inspiring Rare Birds to facilitate the change that I wanted to see.
"People say you have to be the change you want to see in the future so I took on a great responsibility to build a global community of women and men who can support the economic empowerment and the role that women in business and entrepreneurs play in building our economy, building themselves, building their communities and building their families".
Ms Burston said there is power in numbers and it is really important to shout out each others wins just as Illawarra Women In Business does. She said in the five years Inspiring Rare Birds has been operating it has been able to connect 60,000 women globally.
"It is about creating a community of practice. It is about being vulnerable and talking to each other about what is not going well and what your successes are. We are finding when women have issues other women are quick to help them solve them and there is an underground network of conversation".