A Seat at the Table: Fostering Leadership Opportunities for Young Women

On 7th September, CMY’s Seat at the Table brought together program participants, alumni and Board members from partner businesses for an inspiring evening of networking at Free to Feed in Fitzroy North. The event was a fantastic opportunity for young women to network with other young leaders in an intimate and relaxed environment. 

CMY’s Seat at the Table networking night held at Free To Feed, Fitzroy North. Image: Fifty Mil Studios

Seat at the Table is a leadership immersion program that aims to address the under-representation of young women from refugee and migrant backgrounds in leadership and governance positions. Through the program, young women are provided with leadership training and placed with a Board of Committee to observe governance structures, strategic planning and decision-making in business. 

We heard from guest speakers Shelin David, Deputy Chair of CMY’s Board of Directors, CMY CEO Carmel Guerra OAM and Khayshie Tilak Ramesh, an inclusion, diversity and equity strategist, who spoke about the importance of providing young women with a seat at the table, the value that young people bring to governance, and their professional journeys in leadership. 

Keynote speaker The Hon. Natalie Suleyman MP, Victorian Minister for Youth, was in attendance and shared her own experience as a Muslim woman of colour and how she worked her way up to being elected to the Parliament of Victoria.  

The Hon. Natalie Suleyman MP. Image: Fifty Mil Studios

CMY is grateful to all the mentors and businesses who have generously given their time, wisdom and professional insights to our Seat at the Table participants over the course of the program. 

Free upcoming ‘taster workshops’ are available for young women in VIC, WA, ACT and TAS to provide a snippet of the Seat at the Table program. Find out more and register here. 

CMY is grateful to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women, who funded the initial pilot of Seat at the Table in Victoria 2022; which was expanded nationally to Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia in 2023 in partnership with MYAN Australia. 

Generous funding from the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s Office for Youth has enabled the expansion of the program in Victoria in 2023.