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Celebrating International Women's Day in 2024

Elle Roseby, Managing Director of Country Road and Trenery, guest speaker at the St Kilda Road Campus International Women's Day Breakfast

Over the last week, members of the Wesley College community gathered at events across our three campuses to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a day to recognise the challenges that have been overcome and the contributions that have been made by those who continue to strive for a more equitable world for future generations.

We thank our OWs, parents, students and staff who generously gave their time to share their experiences and inspire our community to continue to invest in and support women so we can accelerate progress towards a healthier, safer and more equal world where everyone has the opportunity not just to grow, but to thrive.

Find out how each of our campuses celebrated this special day.

St Kilda Road Campus

Our guest speaker at last Friday’s wonderful International Women’s Day Breakfast was Elle Roseby, current Wesley parent and Managing Director of Country Road and Trenery.

Elle delivered an inspiring address that highlighted just how much this year’s theme - Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress - has guided her as the head of an iconic Australian business.  But it’s at Country Road that Elle has really made her mark, establishing a culture of ‘leading with heart’ and making the brand a leader in responsible, sustainable design.

‘It’s the responsibility of business and community organisations to lift women up by supporting them returning to the workforce, teaching financial literacy and life administration and providing equal opportunities for women to learn, earn and lead because when this happens, entire communities thrive.’

‘But you don’t need to be in business to invest in women,’ said Elle. ‘Accelerating progress is something everyone can do, every day, through the words we speak, the behaviours we display and ultimately, the support we provide each other.  It means being generous with your time and sharing your experiences to show other women that anything’s possible, because you’ve always got her back.’

Tull Roseby (OW1991), Peter Vial (OW1963), Kit Horman (OW2023), Elle Roseby, Saskia Elliot (OW2023) and Elle and Tull's daughter Sari (Year 11).

The Wesley connection

Our connection to Country Road can be traced back to the very beginning some 50 years ago, when Stephen Bennett (OW1965) and Peter Vial (OW1965) founded the company. Peter was there for Elle’s presentation, and Stephen joined via a Zoom link.

That connection is set to continue with the announcement of an exciting new internship program with Country Road for two of our Class of 2023 graduates, which emerged from a deeply engaging presentation on sustainable design that Elle generously gave to our Year 12 IB Design Technology students last year. At the breakfast, Head of Campus Kim Bence announced the lucky recipients were Kit Horman and Saskia Elliott. Currently studying design and marketing respectively at Melbourne University, they will join the Brand Team at Country Road for invaluable on-the-job experience later this year.

Elsternwick Campus

Last week, close to 80 parents, staff and students from our close-knit Elsternwick community came together in the Ding Family Courtyard to celebrate International Women’s Day, hosted by Nadiya (Year 8) and Arthur (Year 6), with musical performances by Maggie, Lily and Angel (Year 9).

Dylan (Year 8) interviewed our three guest speakers, who all had a special connection to Wesley College:

  • Carolyn Sanders (OW1996), an energy specialist who is passionate about inclusion and diversity, smashing gender stereotypes and showing girls the amazing things engineers do every day;
  • Lauren Kenneally (OW2023) who – inspired by a love of Mathematics, Physics and travel – has chosen to study a Bachelor of Aviation at RMIT and believes anything is possible when you work hard; and
  • Kelly Bates (current Wesley parent), who has spent over 20 years in the financial services industry and who believes girls should be encouraged to undertake STEM subjects as they can lead to highly rewarding careers in a vast array of industries.

Carolyn, Lauren and Kelly spoke candidly about their chosen professions and what it’s like to work and study in what are traditionally male-dominated industries, the gender-related challenges they have and continue to face and how Wesley supports ‘gender equity’ by ensuring women and girls are given equal opportunity to build their capabilities and strengthen their capacity to learn, earn and lead.

The message from all three guest speakers for our young female audience was clear: ‘Find your passion, work hard and make the most of opportunities.’

Glen Waverley Campus

We welcomed the incredible Katya Crema (OW2006) to our Glen Waverley Campus as guest speaker at the 2024 International Women’s Day Breakfast last week.

Katya is the Director of Projects and Head of Sales at HIP V. HYPE, an ethical, socially conscious and environmentally focused property developer. She is a third-generation member of the 65-year-old Crema property and construction family business. Actively supporting women in the property and construction industry, Katya co-founded the Women of Architecture, Building & Planning (ABP) in 2016, a women’s networking group supported by the University of Melbourne, to aid females in the industry.

Prior to her career in property and construction, Katya was an elite athlete on the Australian National Ski Team and represented Australia twice at the Winter Olympics in Ski Cross (Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014). She remains connected to her previous life in sport as a Director on the Snow Australia Board and as a Board Member of the Victorian Olympic Committee.

In her speech, Katya reminded us that our ‘passions, perseverance and resilience are the trinity propelling us toward a future of boundless opportunities. Approach each day with an open mind, an unyielding determination and a belief that your dreams are not just aspirations, but the building blocks of a remarkable and fulfilling life,’ she said.

Women are a force that will accelerate together, progressing the world around them through their own different talents. So, let’s invest in ourselves, and our sisters and take this opportunity to show appreciation for all of the remarkable women in your own life.

Kiara, Publications Prefect, and Aarya, SRC Prefect (Year 12).

An International Women's Day edition of the student magazine is available on campus now.