IWD 2019: Madison Birtchnell, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2019 International Women’s Day (#BalanceforBetter), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Madison Birtchnell shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

What were the benefits to you in being a 2018 NCWQ bursary recipient?

I am most grateful to have received in 2017, from Chiou See Anderson, the Elements Living Bursary and in 2018 the Forum Communicators Bursary from Joy and the Forum committee. It is particularly special to me to have received a second bursary this year and to be following in my sister Taylor’s footsteps who was last year’s Forum Communicators recipient. There are so many wonderful opportunities to contribute to our communities and I particularly admire the NCWQ bursary program as it has given women across Queensland, particularly young women, the opportunity to use our passions as a platform to encourage others in the pursuit of service and become actively engaged in their communities, in leadership roles and challenging the status quo. The financial support that I have received from these bursaries has been primarily utilised to purchase a laptop for my university studies and text books, with the remainder of my funds being saved to assist in the costs of attending the Women Deliver Young Leader’s Conference next year which will be hosted in Vancouver, Canada. But this program is so much more than just financial support, with the ongoing relationships that the wonderful sponsors offer being incredibly meaningful.

I was delighted to meet Chiou See at the bursary presentation evening in 2017 and she has been a great source of mentorship and advice for myself since then, particularly in regards to my studies and entering the workforce. I particularly admire her drive in creating her own business and successfully delivering such wonderful services to her residents at Elements Living. I have also been very fortunate to speak with the lovely ladies from Forum Communicators this year, some of whom I met when I used to attend their Cleveland Forum meetings when I was younger with my mum, and I love that I am going to be able to present with them over the coming months, and assist them in their efforts to encourage women to find and raise their voices and also to speak and present confidently. Already, they have been so encouraging of my endeavours and have provided wonderful role models and a diverse network to engage with.

What are your goals for this year?

My goal this year is to continue to work towards empowering more young people to become leaders in our communities, raise awareness regarding the importance of good youth mental health, advocate for equality and inclusion and to continue to advocate for social justice issues. This year, I am traveling to Canada in June as part of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program for the Global Conference. This worldwide program enables me to be a catalyst for and enact real change. This platform elevates my work as a champion for gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women within Australia and globally. Through consultations and awareness campaigns at both grassroots, national and ultimately global level, this two-year initiative shapes the programs and policies that affect the lives of young girls and women.

What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations?

If not today, then when? I believe in the power of now and seizing the opportunities that lay before us, to never give up on one’s passions. From a young age, I have maintained the importance of a selfless attitude and giving back to my community. It is from these experiences and interactions I have developed a passion to work in government and the United Nations, where I can have the most impact and create social change. As part of this aspiration, I enjoy becoming involved in all aspects of the community and have a great passion for empowering others. It is my hope one day that I will be able to use the skills and experience that I have gained, to create a legacy which inspires the next generation of community leaders and fosters an environment that realises the potential of young people.

Who have been your most significant woman role models?

For myself, I have been fortunate to have been influenced, mentored and inspired by an array of inspirational women. In particular, I have been inspired by the drive of my sister and empowered by her continuous support and belief in my endeavours. I am also inspired by my mother, who has always supported me without question and has put me before her own needs. I am very fortunate to have also been supported by many community-minded role models including Noela O’Donnell AM (NCWQ) Kay Danes OAM (Rotary), Karen Murphy (Quota) and Louise Baldwin.

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