Celebrating our first Seat at the Table graduates

On Monday 28 November, the Seat at the Table (SAT) pilot program participants celebrated their achievements at the end of their 10-month Leadership Immersion Program. Over 30 Board members from participating organisations, young people and CMY staff attended the celebration at Henry and Fox in Melbourne’s CBD.

Seat at the Table 2022 participants with CMY CEO, Carmel Guerra, and CMY staff

SAT provides a leadership opportunity to address the under-representation of young women from refugee and migrant backgrounds in leadership roles. The program includes an Observership Placement on a Board and a training program that covers governance, finance, risk management, effective communication and other core areas of leadership.

CMY Youth Trainees Marie-Claire, Ikram and Mikaelewa, who assisted Senior Project Officer Jess Case with delivering the program throughout the year, were MCs for the evening.

CMY’s CEO Carmel Guerra addressed the audience and shared her personal story of not knowing what to say and doubting herself as a young woman in her 20s, and how she wished a program like SAT existed for her back then.

Carmel also thanked the young women who took part in the program and the Board members for giving power, voice and access to young women. She then announced the additional funding received from the Office for Women, to continue delivering the program and its expansion to Tasmania, Western Australia and ACT in 2023.

Rahima Khatun, one of the program participants then gave a speech about her experience and said a key takeaway for her was learning that leadership meant listening to people’s views and opinions and for her, it meant leading herself first.

“I built my courage and I see myself being here (on a Board) one day. This program has changed my vision for myself,” Rahima said.

Rahima Khatun, SAT participant

Western Chances CEO, Zac Lewis then addressed the audience and said that for the organisation, it was a values-based decision that aligned for them and that the Board were lucky to be a part of the program.

“Talent is everywhere but not opportunities,” Zac said.

Zac Lewis, Western Chances CEO

Certificates and gifts from Sisterworks were then handed to Board members for their time and support, and the young women for the incredible energy they brought. The night concluded with delicious canap├ęs and mingling.

You can still join Seat at the Table program in 2023 as a business if you’re based in TAS, ACT, WA & VIC.