Women in super speaker training day

Twenty-eight super women are ready for the conference circuit after spending a day with the experts at Women in Super’s inaugural Speaker Training Day in Melbourne.

We’ve all been to conferences and wondered why there weren’t more women on stage – after all, it’s not as though our industry isn’t filled with smart and talented women with expertise to share.

Women in Super gets regular, last-minute calls from conference organisers asking for female speaker suggestions and many of our members have signed the Panel Pledge, committing to gender balance in public forums.  We also know that the more women who speak at conferences, the more other women will be encouraged to do so. 

It was time to eliminate the excuses. We decided to help widen the pool of women speakers in our industry and asked some member funds to nominate talented women with little or no experience in public speaking to attend our first Speaker Training Day in June.  The response was outstanding, and the day quickly sold out.

Twenty-eight women from across the spectrum of fund operations arrived for a full, enjoyable and challenging day led by the team at Women Speakers, founded by prize-winning broadcaster and journalist Catherine McGrath.  

Throughout the day, participants learned how to strategically plot and write a three-minute speech and were given vocal and breathing exercises to strengthen their voices.  Microphones set up on podiums gave them the chance to practice tips and techniques to make them comfortable in a conference environment, while a trainer helped with other presentation skills. 

The energy in the rooms was palpable, and the atmosphere was warm and supportive.  When, at the end of the day each participant delivered their speech to the group, the applause for each was loud and long.

Feedback from participants has been excellent, with one saying she ‘soaked up the information like a sponge’ and others praising the trainers, the content and the unusual but exciting networking opportunities the day provided.

Women in Super is keeping the names of all participants on file to form the basis of a women’s speaker list, and we had a photographer on hand to take headshots of the women.  When we get the next call from a conference organiser, we’ll have twenty-eight new suggestions for them.

Following the success of the inaugural Speaker Training Day, we are planning more of them.  Please get in touch if your fund would like to help eliminate the excuses and give its talented women the skills and confidence to speak up, both at conferences and within the organisation itself.

Women in Super would like to thank AIST, ACSI and ASFA for their support of this important initiative.

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