IWD 2018: Women at CMY on leadership, resilience and failure...

March 8, 2018

International women's day

“What has made me a stronger leader is failure not success. Failure is so important,” says CMY’s CEO Carmel Guerra OAM.

Carmel is known for her over 30-year career in the youth settlement sector and her expansive knowledge of multicultural youth issues.

But very few people know that Carmel failed her VCE English exam.

“I was an average student, but even my English teacher was shocked at the result,” she says, “That was the first time that I had to sit down and think of what to do – do I give up or keep going?”

“I didn’t want to give up my dream of going to university so I studied English at night school, did voluntary work and got into my youth work course, deferred for a year and then went back to school. “

“So don’t be afraid of failure. But don’t make the same mistakes twice.”

“If you want something, strive for it. If you don’t get it the first time, keep trying. But if there’s something you can do differently and learn from, learn from it.”

Carmel counts great advocates and experts on women’s rights as her early mentors.

“I learned a lot of my social policy from Mary Crooks. I also learned a lot from Joan Kirner. I first met her as a 20-something and she threw me into the deep end – put me on committees and such! I didn’t realise till later that she had taken me under her wing.”

“More recently, I think Michelle Obama is incredible in the way that she has taken on the mantle of issues for young women. Observing Angela Merkel is fascinating too!”

Have an inspiring and exciting International Women’s Day 2018! #IWD2018 #PressforProgress

Find out how you can get involved in CMY’s mentoring program for newly-arrived young people looking for work – Pathways to Employment


International Womens Day 2018 

“The best career advice I’ve received was actually rather straightforward: it was to be persistent and, most importantly, to be patient with my own progress,“ says Yusra Hasan, Youth Intern at CMY.

“Of the many challenges I’ve faced, in looking for work particularly, the most demoralising was the feeling of dejection that followed every rejection email or unsuccessful interview.”

Yusra has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University. She’s passionate about issues of social equity and human rights, and wholeheartedly believes in the importance of equal representation among all levels of society.

“Learning the value of persistence throughout that journey has not only given me greater resilience, but has also made me value myself in a way that I think is profoundly significant, especially as a woman of colour.” 

When she’s not the Youth Intern at CMY, she’s either reading or spending time with her cat. 

She counts her mother as her role model. “Growing up and witnessing her immense resilience and strength has given me the fortitude and drive to work towards my goals, regardless of what they may be.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mum give up at anything, and that’s a model that I try to instill in my own life and career.”

Have a passionate and powerful International Women’s Day!  #IWD2018 #PressforProgress

Find out more about how to get involved in CMY’s leadership training program for young women – Lead Yourself, Lead Others


 International Women's Day 2018

“Be the best version of you, whatever you want to be,” says Media and Communications Officer at CMY, Anjali Nambissan.

Anjali moved to Australia from New Delhi in 2014 and calls Melbourne her “new New Delhi.”

“It doesn’t matter what you want to be – a dancer, a mechanic, a cobbler – you must be the best version of yourself, my mother used to say,” she shares. 

When she first started working in Australia, Anjali juggled two part-time jobs and volunteer work. She now has her own vegan food business that she runs alongside her comms role at CMY.

“I work off of my instincts. If it feels right, it usually is. And if it doesn’t, it probably is all wrong for you.”

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, but learn to trust your instincts. Your instincts will guide you through new and challenging situations.”

She counts all her female bosses as her mentors and her mum as her inspiration.

“I‘ve had the privilege of working with some phenomenal women editors throughout my writing career. I’ve learned so much from them!”

Have a cheerful and creative International Women’s Day 2018! #IWD2018 #PressforProgress

Find out more about how you can get involved in CMY’s programs to support newly-arrived young people build better lives in Australia.