International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equity. This year’s theme was #EmbraceEquity, and the aim of campaign theme is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough.
One of the ways to celebrate IWD is to learn from the stories and experiences of women who have overcome challenges and barriers in their fields. That’s what San Remo Library did on March 10th, when they hosted a special event for students from local schools. The event featured a panel discussion with two local women who are thriving in traditionally male-dominated spaces: Hannah Eisen and Deb Leonard.
Hannah Eisen is a project manager, architect and interior designer who is also heavily involved in the community. She is passionate about architecture and design, sport and recreation, community infrastructure and environmentally sustainable design.
Deb Leonard is a business owner, lawyer, active community member and mum in Bass Coast. In 2022, she stood as an independent candidate in the Federal election, with aspirations to be the first female elected to our federal seat, and to bring much-needed attention and representation to our region.
The panel discussion was facilitated by Myli Programs Officer Sarah, who asked Hannah and Deb a range of questions, including:
- What makes you a badass young woman in the male-dominated space?
- What does this year’s IWD theme of gender ‘Equity’ mean to you?
- How can all females absolutely ROCK being a female in 2023 and beyond?
Hannah and Deb shared their insights and advice with the students, who attended from Cowes Primary School, Newhaven Primary School, San Remo Primary School and Bass Coast College. They talked about how they pursued their dreams and passions, how they dealt with stereotypes and discrimination, how they supported each other and other women in their fields, and how they challenged themselves and others to achieve their goals.
The students were very engaged and interested in the panel discussion. Myli team member Sarah said that the event was a great success and that she was impressed by the student’s enthusiasm and curiosity. She said Hannah and Deb were both passionate and proud about their roles in paving the way for women in male-dominated spheres of work and play, and that by the end of the event, the energy of the room was full of power and inspiration!
Thank you to everyone who participated in our IWD celebration, and a special thank you to Hannah and Deb for being such amazing role models for us all. Happy International Women’s Day!
Speaker Bios –
Hannah Eisen –
Hannah is a project manager, architect and interior designer who is also heavily involved in the community. She is passionate about architecture and design, sport and recreation, community infrastructure and environmentally sustainable design. Hannah has a unique experience in governance and legal within local government, architecture and design and project management, as well as a devotion to healthy living, travel, the environment, sport and architecture which blurs the boundaries between work and personal life.
Hannah brings social innovation, enthusiasm and personal experience to the projects she works on enabling better outcomes for our communities. She works collaboratively and inclusively and pushes boundaries while providing well-considered decisions and advice towards the delivery of organisational strategy for better community outcomes.
Currently Hannah is completing a Diploma of Governance via a scholarship received by State Government, she is undertaking a Fellowship called ‘Women Leading Locally’ and is President of the Phillip Island Boardriders Club. She works full-time as a Senior Project Manager at Bass Coast Shire Council where she is leading the construction of the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre and the Wonthaggi Activity Centre Streetscapes Masterplan as well as running her own business, HE Consulting, a consulting firm helping people design and construction their dream homes. She also loves activities; yoga, gym, swimming, surfing and walking with her mum are her go to activities!
Deb Leonard –
Deb is a business owner, lawyer, active community member and mum in Bass Coast. In 2022, she stood as an independent candidate in the Federal election, with aspirations to be the first female elected to our federal seat, and to bring much-needed attention and representation to our region. With a groundswell of community support, she achieved over 10% of the primary vote, sending a strong message to the major parties that we demand better representation on issues such as climate action, integrity in government and gender equality.
As an active community member and mum, Deb was the Vice President of San Remo Preschool for 2 years; taking an active role in shaping early education for local children attending the centre. Deb is currently on the committee of the Phillip Island Boardriders Club, in role of Supergroms Coordinator where she organises events for children of all surfing abilities in an inclusive and fun environment. Deb also loves to chase the snow with a passion for snowboarding and managing a lodge at Mt Hotham, surfing, being with friends and adventures locally and beyond with her family.