Leading The Pride

Pesel & Carr is a proud sponsor of Whitelion’s ‘Leading the Pride’. The event is an opportunity for women to gather and show their support and leadership on issues that matter to young people. This years’ theme focuses on the future of work for young women.

Ahead of the event, we spoke to Whitelion CEO, Hang Vo, and our Managing Director, Barbara Pesel to hear their thoughts on what ‘Leading the Pride’ means to them.

Hang Vo

What does ‘Leading the Pride’ mean to you?

In its second year , ‘Leading the Pride’  is an opportunity for women to show leadership on issues important to at risk youth.

Last year one of our team read an article about lion prides being matrilineal, meaning female lions do the bulk of the food gathering, organisation and protection work. With lions being so prominent in Whitelion’s identity this article got us thinking – what role do women play in helping Whitelion achieve its purpose? From this Leading the Pride was born!

We have a panel of amazing women who bring different perspectives on work – a researcher, industry leaders and employers, and a young woman who has overcome barriers to work. Our panel moderator, Husna Pasha, is an Indian Australian, raised in Tasmania by her hard working parents, a mother of two, a wife and a Muslim woman. She embodies the true face of Australian life and culture – globally connected, female, educated, experienced and aspirational.

Together – along with a room full of hundreds of women – we can learn from each other how to make positive change, particularly around helping at risk young women find positive connections and access to work. Leading the Pride is an important vehicle for bringing women’s voices into Whitelion’s work.

Why are young women a particular area of concern for Whitelion?

We know that empowering women, and particularly young women, to make their own choices for active participation in the economy can disrupt cycles of disadvantage for themselves,  their families and the next generation.

Research also shows that young women – when compared to young men – have higher unemployment rates, higher levels of informal employment, and endure the persistent issue of wage gaps.

In addition to the commonly understood barriers to work faced by all at risk youth, young women are also more likely than young men to face additional barriers around family or caring responsibilities.

Where do you see the future of work for young women?

Research tells us that the future of work will be complex – globalisation, technology changes, and demographic shifts will all impact on how young people access and maintain employment. These are added to the complexities at risk young women already experience. To ensure at risk young women don’t fall further behind, Whitelion believes that the future of work for young women is best approached in partnership.

In recent years a group of young women in Sydney had great success when Whitelion partnered with Lend Lease to provide support and on-the-job skill-based learning – helping them access employment in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Through the Victorian government’s Jobs Victoria program Whitelion has partnered with Victoria’s largest public transport project – Cross Yarra Partnership – to provide training and employment opportunities to nearly 20 at risk young people. In the first year of the partnership 11 young women accessed this opportunity.

There is an exciting future opportunity to combine government, industry and Whitelion expertise – and opportunities- to help young woman navigate the future of work.

Barbara Pesel

What does ‘Leading the Pride’ mean to you?

Leading the Pride means being ahead of the curve and leading the way for a better future.

Through our work with clients who lead the way in their respective areas, from environmental sustainability and women’s sport through to the life changing work Whitelion does with young people, we help to achieve this.

Leading the Pride also means investing in the future of our young people and being a voice for social issues that help build a better future, like the future of work for young women.

While comparative employment rates between men and women have improved in recent years, there is still much to be done.

Government figures show that women are much more likely to be working part-time than men (44% and 16% respectively), which ostensibly points to greater insecurity levels and a need for strong leadership to support young women in this precarious position.

Why is supporting an event like ‘Leading the Pride’ important to you/Pesel & Carr?

It’s inspirational, presenting a learning opportunity as well as an intimate occasion to introduce the organisation to other like-minded individuals.

Pesel & Carr has a long and proud history of supporting the work of organisations like Whitelion, and many others who play everything from an essential grassroots service through to research into social justice models and as policy changing agents for reform.

How does Pesel & Carr lead the pride?

We believe in using the power of communications for good.

From our work with clients like Whitelion and the Deakin Melbourne Boomers and developing campaigns like ‘You Are Not Alone’ with the Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation and  Communicating with Confidence for Speech Pathology of Australia – we thrive on working with organisations who make a difference in the lives of people.

At Pesel & Carr we are committed to the future of work for young women and men alike. We have an active and inclusive program for interns, we are guest speakers at universities, judge awards and provide critical feedback and offer a yearly sports-communication scholarship. We are dedicated in developing the next generation of our industry.


Are there any young female figures demonstrating inspirational leadership right now?

As a young female leader, I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become a powerful source of inspiration for young women.

Her unwavering fight for justice on the major social issues of the today, delivered with forensic, charismatic oratory, will give hope to younger generations that they have a voice.

Whilst some may disagree with aspects her politics, she has become an excellent role model for young women around the world.