Esperance Senior High School students host Women's Leadership Network

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More than 60 women have gathered at the Esperance Senior High School Library for the second instalment of the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry's newly established Women's Leadership Network.

Esperance Senior High School's Girl's Leadership Project hosted the event on Thursday morning, March 28, organised with the help of program coordinator Julie Hawke.

Planning and hosting the event was a project for the leadership program, which focuses on addressing health, wellbeing, leadership and resilience with young women.

The program featured a number of guest speakers, including year 12 student and business owner Casey Rowe, Head of the English department Vicky Williams and Head of the Humanities department Leanne Cassam, who shared the barriers they faced as women in the workplace and how they overcame them.

Mrs Cassam discussed the challenges she faced returning to her leadership role after having her two children and finding the most effective balance for her responsibilities.

Citing timely references, including AFLW's Tayla Harris being targeted by trolls, Mrs Cassam highlighted the role of social media commentary in perpetuating inequality.

After developing her sugar scrub product two years ago, Casey Rowe discussed growing her own business, the influence of social media marketing and navigating the retail sector as a young woman.

"Being new to the whole retail and business world, who did I turn to? Mum, of course," she said.

"I was lucky that she was a savvy business woman who knew the finer details and pitfalls of business.

"With hopes of completing year 12 and going to university in the city in the future, I see a vision for expanding the 'sugarman scrub' community.

"From day one, I've constantly made changes to aspects of my product and strategy.

"I hear a lot of people talk about finding the balance between life and being involved in many things like sport, study, business and relaxation.

"Not being consumed totally by any one of them gives me a great balance to learn my way into being a happy, healthy, energetic and enthusiastic woman."

Using a fitted sheet as a metaphor, Ms Williams highlighted the importance of leaning on others for motivation and supporting each other.

"Without the many women who have supported me along the way, I wouldn't be here today," she said.

"Their belief in me, their shared knowledge, and their support has helped smooth my doona.

"I was inspired by the women in leadership positions and I aspired to be a leader myself and share my knowledge, my empathy and my desire to succeed.

"Principal Cathy Bamblett was one of the things that drew me here.

"If you have the opportunity to support a woman, do so.

"If you have the opportunity to help her out, do so.

"If you have the opportunity to make someone shine, do so.

"There are many inspirational women right here in Esperance, including Shire president Victoria Brown and deputy Natalie Bowman.

"Elected by the people, these women bring forward change, acceptance and welfare concerns.

"These women, and women like them, have helped to pave the way for innovators such as Belinda Lay, winner of the 2019 WA AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.

"As mentors, as guides, as leaders, we all need to hold the corners of each others doonas - wrinkling out hurdles as we support women everywhere in the bridging of gender gaps in the workplace."

Following a short intermission, student Gabby Botha hosted an auction to help raise money for the Leadership Project and guest speakers participated in a question and answer session.

Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry Local Business advisor Tammy Maloney extended thanks to the project for hosting the network event.

The next event will be hosted by Activ in April.

For more information about the Esperance Women's Leadership Network events, contact Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Kylie Ryan on 9071 5142 or email