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Future Leaders Announced for the First JTWomenToLead Program

Published on 17 Dec 2018

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A group of 14 students from Woodridge State High School has been selected to the be the first to participate in the JTWomenToLead program delivered by the Johnathan Thurston Academy.

The program has been designed to encourage, educate, empower and inspire young women to reach for their dreams so they can become role models and future leaders for their community.

The first JTWomenToLead program will be held at the school for the 15 Year 9 and Year 10 students in 2019 with the young women chosen to participate being named as: Gloriose Irankunda, Brooke Hornery, Nelleah Morganson, Folau Uhatafe, Iang Lian Lin, Chantal Heri, Lagaau Leaa, Tiarne, Aoina-Weir, Kathleen Fraser, Aisha Hatungimana, Jeshiana Tsang, Lily O’Shea Grissell, Felicity Blake, Jasmine Walker.

The JTWomenToLead program will cover goal setting, developing leadership skills and then working on plans to build the career or life path they want for themselves.

The program has been made possible by the sponsorship of Brisbane law firm Meneghello Law.

Students at the school were invited to submit their applications in the form of a 10 second video for the first JTWomenToLead program, which is tailored to each group of participants to help support and encourage them into the workforce.

“Girls should have equal rights as boys in sport,” one girl said. “They should be advertised the same on TV and there should be equality.”

Another offered her opinion on women STEM fields stating simply:
“young women can do math and science because they are unstoppable”.

While a third young woman said: “What I want to see for the next generation is young women to speak up, being pushed to their limits, being bold and most importantly to never give up”.

Kathleen Janecek, Principal of Woodridge State High School explained the school developed its relationship with the JT Academy after their employment connections coach heard about the work they were doing and wanted the school to be involved.

The JT Academy has already held some sessions at the school under the JTSucceed program, which Kathleen said had resulted in increased confidence of the school’s students.

WSHS is excited about our young woman being a part of this program as it provides them with further opportunity to be Connected to Every WorldIt serves to value add to their learning experience to ensure they graduate empowered, connected and future focused young leaders with a world of opportunity at their feet” Kathleen explained.

“Through the projects that the girls will undertake they will be provided with the opportunity to make a positive impact on their local community, fellow peers and broaden their horizons to effect change on the world’s stage.

“We hope the program will inspire our young women to embrace their place in the world and recognise the impact that they can have when they believe in themselves and their potential to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The support of Meneghello Law has been invaluable in providing this opportunity to students at the school.

“We are certain that the outcomes of the program will be positive and future programs will be extremely popular,” she said. “Peer mentoring in our community is powerful!  When students can see other students overcoming barriers and rising to a challenge they are empowered to do the same.”  

Daniel Meneghello, the principal of Meneghello Law, is proud to sponsor Australia’s first JTWomentoLead program at the school for 15 young girls aged between 13 and 14.

The commitment to sponsor the first JTWomenToLead program was made by Danial Meneghello and the team at Meneghello Law following a recent episode of 60 Minutes where Thurston visited the school.

“I am not sure the JT Academy will change the world, but it certainly has the potential to help plenty of people and is driven by people who are clearly passionate about making that happen,” Daniel explained.

“This is our way of doing our bit and we believe it is a valuable initiative. This is such a good program, we were excited to be able to sponsor the first of its kind.

“The end goal of the program is to help change people’s lives for the better so they can then go on to become role models themselves for their children, their peers and their community.”

Thurston said he hoped the program participants will “achieve personal growth and life success by being inspired”.

 “We want to help young and mature women find work, support indigenous women seeking to find employment and increase the levels of female participation in the areas of sport, politics, business, STEM (science, tech, engineering, maths) fields and mining,” Thurston said.

“I want for my three daughters to grow up in a world where they have an equal seat, equal pay, and equal say around any boardroom table.”

To learn more about this program visit the JT Academy here.


Johnathan Thurston Academy pays the deepest respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country across Australia. We acknowledge and thank our Elders who demonstrated over 60,000 years of sustainable Indigenous business and ask them to guide us back on track to a more prosperous and purposeful future.

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