Startups invite students to consider the future

The 2019 Future of Female Leadership summit exposed students from Sydney Catholic Schools to the career possibilities that come with a fearless attitude and mind for positive social change.

The students from schools including St Patrick’s College Sutherland and Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich made up half of the 50-strong delegation chosen from across NSW to mingle with successful female entrepreneurs at the STEM event hosted by not-for-profit organisation Orbispace in July.

Students toured the Sydney Startup Hub, which is home to Orbispace’s initiatives to promote digital equity and develop technologies that support disadvantaged communities around the world.

They also had a mindfulness coaching session with former Silicone Valley corporate leader Julie Demsey before a speed dating style lunch with 50 female innovators, who gave insights into their work and study paths, and the skills needed to succeed. Event sponsors EY, Accenture, Quest Payment Systems and inQ Innovation also spoke about their roles in innovation, creating cowork spaces, and dealing with technological disruption to industries.

It was very inspiring.

– Zara O’Mahony

St Patrick’s College Sutherland Year 11 students Daniella Janji and Zara O’Mahony said they found the day helpful and inspiring. Daniella studies physics and is considering a career in architecture among other fields. With a focus on the design and innovation element of STEM more than the engineering and science behind initiatives, the event was not entirely what they expected.

“The best part of the program was when we got to speak to some of the women who had used the startup as a foundation for their businesses,” Daniella said. “It was cool getting to know them and hearing about how they faced challenges. A lot of the advice was very helpful.”

Chemistry student Zara said the event emphasised skills including collaboration and workplace communication.

“The hub had spaces where everyone could get together and work on technology together,” she said. “They gave us more of a view on the future of science and STEM.

“Learning the different skills that everyone said I should take into my future was good. Mostly communication, but change management was a big one and being able to adapt to different situations. It was very inspiring.”

See highlights from The Orbispace Initiative’s Future of Female Leadership event in the video below.

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