All Hallows’ School ‘Finding Your Voice’ Panel Discussion
Principal, Ms Catherine O’Kane; our MC, Ms Madonna King; panellists, Ms Samantha Cohen and Dr Elizabeth Hamilton; students and supporters of All Hallows’.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands of Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and pay my respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.
It is my pleasure to be here this afternoon as part of an event of such significance to young women.
When I was sworn in as Governor, I spoke of my wish to make young women a focus of my tenure. The education and literacy of young women is of paramount importance; above all, because it enables them to find their voice.
In our voice lies our power.
Through our voice we express our thoughts, our opinions, our feelings, and our intentions.
It is the medium by which we are known to the world.
It is also the medium through which we take our place in the world.
When spoken with integrity, our words become action. They become our action; they can also inspire others to action.
Remember that finding your voice is but the first step. You then have to use it.
This always takes strength; sometimes it also takes courage. We do not always speak for ourselves alone. Sometimes it falls to us to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
The Vision of All Hallows’ is: “To inspire young women to a life of faith, compassion, learning and leadership in the spirit of Mercy”.
In order to lead, we need to learn ways in which we can make our voice heard, and our words listened to.
It is not always easy to find your true, authentic voice.
I cannot stress enough the importance of perseverance, which is the bedrock of my approach to success.
As a young woman in the 2020s, your life pathways stretch ahead of you in every direction.
Growing up as I did in the 20th century, there were more roadblocks in the way, and it was through perseverance – coupled with the support of my husband Graeme – I was able to forge my way in medicine and in medical administration.
There is still some work to do, there are still some roadblocks that need to be addressed, but I urge you to step out along your chosen path with confidence.
When you do so, remember those who come after you.
In the way that you have been helped, do the same for those who follow where you lead.
I would like to thank the All Hallows’ School P and F Association and the Debating Parents Support Group for organising this afternoon’s event.
The women from whom we will hear today have been a role model for many young women, and like you I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.