How many times do we see or hear that sentiment? How many of us actually believe it?
One local woman who believes it and celebrates this sentiment daily is Kylie Bartlett, founder of Women of Achievement – a collaborative community for women to inspire, connect, share, empower and elevate.
Women of Achievement (WOA) is a collaborative community for women to share inspirational stories and words of wisdom, to give back and inspire other women. Kylie explains that WOA is hinged on one phenomenal word – elevate.
“I have always believed in the power of elevating our women and girls. When women from diverse backgrounds and experiences share their voice authentically and courageously, they become trailblazers for those who follow. Anything is possible when we learn how to take strategic action to elevate ourselves and other women.
I don’t think we appreciate the full economic, social, political and cultural power of our women.
“I don’t believe we were born simply to be cogs in a machine,” Kylie says.
“We came here to learn how to be ourselves, to live to our fullest potential, to share, celebrate and elevate each other along the way.”
Globally, women now own more than 30% of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the economic potential as these numbers continue to grow is boundless. A McKinsey Global Institute report indicates that if the global gender gap were to be closed, in which women play an identical role in labor markets to men’s, as much as $28 trillion could be added to global annual GDP in 2025.
Whilst global statistics like these are impressive, Kylie agrees they can at times seem miles away from a local context.
“I don’t think we appreciate the full economic, social, political and cultural power of our women. For me, it wasn’t until I was sitting in a conference in Sydney listening to the remarkable achievements of the amazing women there that I personally realised the quiet pinhole and lack of representation that was gapping on a local level,” Kylie recalls.
“I will never forget that moment mid-conference, I nudged my husband, leaned in and said “we’re not celebrating the diverse achievements of our local women, there is a huge gap.” And from that, Women of Achievement was born.
“From the beginning, the big message I wanted to share was, regardless of how it unfolds or who facilitates it, don’t let the word ‘achievement’ scare you!” says Kylie. “Every woman, every man, has achieved something, regardless of how big or small, despite society’s classification system or our own unconscious bias. Sometimes we are so busy in life that we don’t take time to recognise it ourselves.”
This October will see the sixth annual WOA event take place as Kylie continues to passionately advocate for the achievements of our women alongside this year’s special guest speaker, entrepreneur and author Lisa Messenger.
“There is something deeply rewarding about the collective power and wisdom of a group of women who show up and dare to be vulnerable, who explore strategies and practices to influence personal and professional growth. Seeing that change impact the community is how we challenge the status quo and start a revolution.”
Townsville’s professional women’s networking landscape has continued to evolve with the Townsville Business Women’s Circle, The Sky Foundation, Blaq Diamonds, Business in Heels and Women Rising just a few of the many platforms now forging together to power the opportunities for our local women.
Kylie believes that the future requires cracking open more conversations, unearthing more truth tellers, game changers and those willing to share their failures, even if their voice shakes. “It’s not just dialogue on how to start something, scale something or keep cash flow; it’s about learning how to sustain our passion and endurance along the way. It is the making of space for self as we cross personal and professional arenas.”