Inspiring Young Women and Men Events

The Gippsland East LLEN has been holding a series of exciting Inspiring Young Women and Men Events across the region over the past few years.  The aim of these events is to link successful local men and women in our community, with young men and women from Maffra Secondary College, Sale Catholic College, Sale Secondary College, Federation Training and Gippsland Grammar Sale, who are seeking an insight into their careers and career pathways.

Earlier this month, two of these events were held in Sale, in the Wellington Shire; the first featuring Inspiring Young Women and the follow-up event a week later featuring Inspiring Young Men. Each of the guest speakers – Stephanie Bullen – Vet; Emma Thatcher – Beauty Services Business; Catherine Theodore – Cafe3847; Ashley Roberts – Administration; Amy Gartside – Counsellor; Jeanette Henwood – Property Management; Leanne Blake – Community Housing; Jenna Beatson – Sales; Pollyanna Gibson – Photographer; Peter Henwood – Home Maintenance; Tom Breakspear – Health – Emergency Nursing; Tim Daikin – Arts Coordinator; Matt Vaux – Retail Butcher – Youth Councillor; Brenton Dinsdale – Gipps Sport – Sports Promotion; Gavin Roberts – Artist – Theatre Management; Wyatt Kilgower – Volunteer – Community Ambulance; Thomas Crosby – IT Services – were invited to share their stories, their experiences, and how they got to where they are today. Each speaker had a different story to tell, with commitment to education and perseverance of goals a common theme. The ice was broken with a couple of warm-up exercises, including having the students sit next to people from the other schools, and learn some personal facts about each other – where they were from, what they liked – and have the students introduce one another to the rest of the group. These exercises lend themselves nicely to the networking nature of business, and give students and speakers alike a chance to go out on a limb and get to know one another.

After each guest had shared their journey with the group of students, smaller working groups were formed to give the students a chance to meet personally and speak with the guests one-on-one, and to ask any questions that they may have had regarding their own professional trajectory or career goals.

Throughout the 2-hour sessions, Gippsland East LLEN Program Co-ordinators Don Shaw and Pam Waters facilitated the groups, and listened and learned along with the students, picking up the common themes from each speaker. From the Inspiring Young Women Event, the stand-out points were: attitude, networking, focus, diverse pathways, can-do attitude, reliability, proactivity, life-long learning, skill-building, and mentoring. From the Inspiring Young Men Event, the results were very similar, with these the following being pin-pointed: apply yourself, follow instructions, seek employment, don’t limit yourself to what you can’t do, develop networks, develop pathways, honesty, goals, mentoring, volunteer work.

The Gippsland East LLEN has found that the positivity of these events continues well after the initial presentations – students walk away with not only a broader knowledge of what they can do after they leave school but, in a number of instances, create a connection with someone from within their community who has been successful in obtaining their goal and is interested in acting as a mentor. The Inspiring Events also encourage local business and industry to consider their role in supporting young people in our community – whether this is through similar events, offering work experience opportunities, or other first-hand educational support. Most importantly, these events inspire connections, professional collaboration and help broaden aspirations.


Our guest Inspiring Men’s speakers

Maffra Secondary College

Maffra Secondary College students




Catholic College Sale students

Catholic College Sale students


Gippsland Grammar Sale students

Gippsland Grammar Sale students



Wyatt speaks to the guest students about career pathways and volunteering.