During 2017, Melissa Heagney from the Weekly Review interviewed Elisabeth Wong Hansen, the Melbourne Girls Grammar 2017 School Captain. Read about her experience as a leader at MGGS, and how she has worked to make the local and school community a better place.
Melbourne Girls Grammar’s Elisabeth Wong Hansen has learned how to balance her work as a leader and her school assessments during her time as school captain this year. With her fellow students, Elisabeth has been working to make the local and school community a better place.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE LEADERS IN THE WORLD?
We, as women, make up half the population and deserve equal rights to be heard. Currently, females are under-represented, especially within the workforce. In Australia, 46 per cent of employees are women, yet 26 per cent of organisations do not have any women in leadership roles.
Female leaders are particularly important because they give young girls role models to look up to and identify with, encouraging them to pursue their own goals and dreams.
Working together with other leaders has meant that we can change the local community for the better.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE SCHOOL CAPTAIN?
For several reasons, the first of which was to represent the girls in my year level. The 2017 year 12 girls are such a wonderful, fun and enthusiastic group and I have been proud to represent them this year. Running for this position has also given me the opportunity to give back to the school. I have been able to organise many events that not only work towards improving student cohesion and school spirit, but also raise money for a chosen local charity. Working together with other leaders has meant that we can change the local community for the better.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AS SCHOOL CAPTAIN?
Being a leader is harder than it looks. Often, when we see leaders in the media or politics, they seem confident and completely in control. However, I have learned making speeches is nerve-wracking, staying organised can be difficult and always being positive is sometimes the last thing you want to do when faced with challenges.
I have also learned that behind every good leader stands a whole legion of support, be it family, friends or teachers. In this way, leadership is also very much about teamwork, which I have had the pleasure of learning with my two vice-captains, Ingrid Zhang and Charlotte Hartley.
IS THERE A LEADER THAT YOU LOOK UP TO?
Although I’m in awe of inspiring leaders from the likes of Mandela to Malala, there isn’t one person who stands out to me. Instead, I’m inspired by everyday Australians who have the confidence to
“give it a go”. Young entrepreneurs and individuals who take it upon themselves to give back to the community are inspiring as they work hard to change the world for the better in their own little or big way.
HAVE YOU HAD OTHER LEADERSHIP ROLES WITHIN THE SCHOOL?
The Green Room program in the senior years was one of the first opportunities I had to be a leader. This initiative involves older, more experienced girls providing tutor-like sessions for the younger girls, answering questions about anything from maths homework to how best to create a study timetable. I also have another role coaching the grade 5 and 6 Saturday netball team, which provides another chance for me to inspire enthusiasm for a sport that I love.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
Although I do not yet know exactly what I want to be, after my final year at MGGS, I would like to combine science and business fields. I am also interested in travelling, to explore places that I have not yet been and to meet new people. However, many people have said that your plans can easily change as you discover something new.
Melissa Heagney, The Weekly Review