WELA has provided me a steady stream of support and wisdom in a year full of uncertainty. I wasn’t sure what to expect from online programming, but I can say with confidence that WELA delivered in spades. I feel so close to and supported by my cohort and the WELA team, and am grateful for the opportunity to have connected with such kind and talented women. I know that their support and advice will continue to sustain and strengthen my work well into the future.
Sanaya Khisty, WELA 2020
In 2020 – with the pandemic, and the lockdowns – I have really appreciated the wisdom and support of my fellow WELA women. Despite our program being restricted (mostly) to online, our cohort has created an impressively open and honest space. That is thanks to the incredible program organisers and the genuine intention brought by every participant. WELA to me feels like a beginning … a means to build the confidence, relationships, and perspective needed to think about your next step – whatever that may be.
Phoebe Rountree, WELA 2020
The 2020 WELA leadership programme has been ‘a life saver’ for me during 2020. It was amazing to have fortnightly WELA zoom meetings with 20 other amazing and inspiring women around Australia. It was especially precious during a year that was throwing up unprecedented challenges of isolation. I live on a farm 100km’s away from the closest town. I felt very privileged to be part of WELA bringing together a diverse group of women who shared their journeys about leadership in the environmental arena. Inspiring guest speakers covered a whole range of topics greatly extending my resources and knowledge on dealing with leadership for women. The ‘intensive’ three day gathering was enriching and empowering. I feel I have gained an invaluable set of skills and a wonderful group of friends to continue to contribute to the environmental movement in this country.
Sylvia Leighton, WELA 2020
WELA has enabled me to see that leadership based on collaboration, compassion, diversity and authenticity is something we all deserve and can aspire to, and there is a role for each & every one of us to play! Without judgement or expectation, the WELA space is nourishing and enriching and filled with caring beings whose insights I treasure.
Louise Harrison, WELA 2020
My WELA sisters have been with me as I navigate life in parliament and post-politics. The facilitators and various cohorts have formed such a strong and supportive community. It is the kind of love and inspiration that keeps each of us paying it forward as activists.
Huong Truong, WELA 2017 at the WELA 2019 Gathering
It is fantastic to stake stock, one year since my WELA fellowship. To recognise the Council policy and funding implementation wins we have had that WELA gave me the ambition and boldness to strive for. As well as the support systems and campaign collaborations that have been set up to further deep and long term life affirming change. I went from doubting myself and feeling paralysed by overwhelm and frayed by the diversity of issues, to focus my campaign strategy and actions. I’ve also been able to recognise my unique and genuine gifts as a leader.
Cath Blakley, WELA 2018 at the WELA 2019 Gathering
WELA has been and continues as a vital educational and support network that has been instrumental in winning a decade long fight, the Rocky Hill coal mine/climate judgement in Feb 2019.
Armed with clear strategies, a global perspective, an understanding of the layers of complexity and the ability to work in a more confident, informed, and strengthened way led to a more concise and effective leadership role as chair of Groundswell Gloucester.
Julie Lyford, WELA 2017 at the WELA 2019 Gathering
The nurturing of the WELA experience has been life changing. I’ve found fresh inspiration and confidence to forge my personal path as an environmentalist, and stepped into leadership roles for two projects.
The support and mentoring of WELA made it possible to meet the challenges with renewed ambition. After a 25 year working career, ten years in the environment movement, the WELA program has encouraged me to believe my contribution is important and effective and that I can persevere.
Ruth Hessey, WELA 2018 at the WELA 2019 Gathering
WELA is playing a crucial role in transforming the environment movement to be a stronger, more successful force to face the increasing challenges in creating a sustainable future. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the WELA reference group is being carefully passed on to the current generation of present and emerging women leaders to ensure we know and build on our own strengths, learn from those who have gone before us, benefiting our campaigns and causes. The WELA retreats are a perfect balance of new content, tools, lessons as well as space to reflect, try new things, strategise, learn, grow and build community. I’m leaving WELA not just as a more leaderful change agent but one with a powerful network of inspiring, supportive women for years to come.
Teryn Crick, WELA 2018
WELA has enabled me to take all I thought impossible to challenge in the system and and reframe it to make me feel powerful and capable of making change.
Libby Harper, WELA 2018
WELA is about building strength within the environment movement by enhancing the skills of female environmental leaders. WELA’s power is in the strength of the collective. WELA brings together a group of women to learn from each other, to challenge and inspire, provides a space to network and build relationships so they can return to their work — in community, government, non-government, politics — stronger, more connected and better able to have the impact they need to create positive environmental change.
Bernadette Thomas, WELA 2017
After 17 years in the union movement, I’m new coming to this space. Without WELA I’m not sure how my first year in this incredible, diverse, complex and important movement would have turned out. The women who run and participate in this course all have so much to offer and I am grateful for the opportunity to have met them all and to now have them in my life-long journey in this movement.
Maria Cirillo, WELA 2017
I feel deeply privileged to be involved with WELA 2017. This has been an important educational and professional opportunity for me at a critical point in my leadership roles. I cannot overestimate how powerful the WELA leadership, tuition and enabling of personal growth has been for me and the skills I possess.
Julie Lyford, WELA 2017
I would recommend WELA to any women interested in building their leadership skills in the environment movement. The skills you learn and the amazing women you meet will change your life.
Jodi Larke, WELA 2016
WELA was an amazing opportunity to meet and learn from a wonderful group of women. It was a very supportive environment in which to learn and grow. I think one of the most important outcomes is connecting people together, which as a whole helps create a more connected environmental movement. It was a blessing and a gift to be part of it and I feel stronger and ready for more challenges.
Tiffany Harrison, WELA 2016
A wise feminist said that the best thing you can do for your health is to get a girl gang. WELA introduced me to women who are inspirational, wise, generous and experienced in a wide range of environment and social justice work. With these new relationships I have a wealth of resources to draw on, to help me be a powerful campaigner, organiser and to navigate life’s challenges too. WELA is a fantastic way to build relationships that could support our work for life.
Phoebe Howe, WELA 2016
Overcoming various environmental challenges and creating a future where people and nature can thrive demands a new type of leadership across our organisations and communities. The WELA program provided the teaching, relationships and space for reflection that allowed me to identify with and accept this challenge and recognise the role I can play in leading, generating and empowering that change.
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, WELA 2016
WELA has been the best leadership program I have been involved with. The coming together of women from all ages and from across Australia passionate to make a difference has been totally inspiring. Its emphasis on supporting women to step up in their leadership is essential to our world. The program has been challenging, rich in theory and practice with excellent guests and resources. So great to know others will have a chance to participate in WELA 2017.
Louise Duxbury, WELA 2016