The Power of Connection – The cornerstone to the Future Female Leaders Program

The Future Female Leaders Program started with a connection.  An introduction of two aligned minds with a shared passion for making a real impact on gender equity in Australia.  


When super connector, Karen Thompson realised that both Claire Seeber and Karen Dennett needed to meet, she initiated an email introduction, and the rest is history.


Of all the learnings the girls take away from the program, the key lesson is the power of connection and networking.   Reaching out to others and politely inviting them to support and share their vision and why, propels their simple idea further than these girls ever imagined was possible.


What do the girls gain from this experience?


When in the process of developing and launching their social impact projects, the girls start to reach out to their networks and connect with people in their networks, and they gain


  • Ideas and suggestions that enrich and widen their project scope 


  • Offers of resources from expertise and volunteers to materials that are needed in the delivery of their project idea


  • Links to and offers of financial support such as local Government grants and assistance from community funds


  • Connections to more people and organisations who can offer guidance and support


However, these 16-year-old girls join the program feeling a little inadequate and often experience immense imposter syndrome.  Which is to be expected, because they have just positioned themselves into the professional world, while still existing as a high school teenager.  


The question “Why would anyone take me seriously?” along with the fear of rejection can often hold them back, and without proper scaffolding, encouragement, and learning, could quite possibly prevent them from making any progress altogether.


Therefore, there are four key elements to the Future Female Leaders Program that prompt the girls to build their network, seek support and gain the validation and self-belief they need to learn the value and power of connection and feel comfortable and confident with independently reaching out.


1. Professional Mentors


Each girl is connected to a Professional Mentor from industry.  We match the girls and their mentors based on the interests expressed by the girls in their applications.  The girls meet their mentors at our kick-off session, and they meet monthly.  


The mentors not only guide them to develop professional skills and etiquette, but they also support with feedback, ideas, and connections for their social impact projects.


Professional Mentors are the first connection each girl gains in their newly formed professional network, after the program coordinators, Karen, Claire and Emma.  They play a significant role in the professional development of the girls.


2. Dedicated tutoring and guidance from Super Connector Karen Thompson


Networking and building meaningful connections require skills in communication and emotional intelligence.  


Therefore, within the program learning content, the girls complete four self-paced tutorials created by experts, with reflection and inquiry tasks that build the underpinning knowledge and understanding, to get started.


The first tutorial accessed on our learning platform is Personal Branding and Networking, delivered by Karen Thompson, which also includes guidance on how to create their Linked In profile and build connections.  Taking the girls through the why and how to build their presence and reach out with confidence.


3. The Pitch and Networking event


The Pitch and Networking event was introduced in 2022.  Each girl is given the opportunity to pitch their social impact idea and the resources and support they need to bring their social impact project to life to a panel of investors, in a room filled with mentors, program investors, sponsors and invited guests from the business community.


With thanks to venue partners Spacecubed and Flux, the girls were able to network, chat and build connections and relationships over a delicious grazing board, before their pitch videos were aired, and they took their turn in the hot seat to answer questions from our pitch panel.


During and after pitching the girls were inundated with offers of support and suggestions to propel their ideas forward from the audience of impressed professionals, passionate to help these girls succeed.  


The power of connection not only professed and encouraged but live, in action, and reinforced in the minds of our girls as they evolve into Future Female Leaders.


3. Group peer connection


A key part of our vision is the creation of a powerful network of Future Female Leaders Program Alumni, who have graduated from the program and forged an alliance to support, encourage and grow together through their careers.  


We are thrilled that are 2021 and 2022 girls are connected, the friendships formed, and the support, suggestions, and connections that the girls are giving each other, throughout.


This program is not simply a stand-alone program that creates a momentary impact, they will take these learnings, connections, friendships, passion, and vision with them beyond their graduation.  


The Future Female Leaders Program Alumni Network provides industry with skilled, talented, and passionate female leaders to add value and diversity to their organisation.  


Therefore, the program is fully funded by Business and local Government Organisations who are committed to building the next generation of leaders.




If you are an individual, or business organisation, and you have been inspired by the program, check out the ways you can get involved, and connect.