Academic Search International as Prime Sponsors of the Inaugural Conference for WATTLE (Women ATTaining LEadership)

Academic Search International is proud to have been involved as prime sponsors of the inaugural conference for WATTLE (Women ATTaining LEadership). The first conference for academic women took place in November 2018 and saw an outstanding cohort of aspiring female academics who attend the week-long conference. In June 2019 ASI sponsored the first conference for female professional staff and again, remained very impressed by the calibre of women who attended this tailored workshop to higher education.

WATTLE, based on New Zealand’s very successful New Zealand Universities Women in Leadership Programme (NZUWiL), provides leadership training and support to women in the Australian university sector. WATTLE identifies and brings together female potential leaders across the university sector, providing an intensive leadership and networking program to address the severe underrepresentation of women in senior levels of leadership within the sector.

“We’re really happy to be associated with the WATTLE Conference,” enthuses ASI Executive Director, Sonia Pechner. “The New Zealand programme has been going for well over ten years now and it’s made a difference. Thanks to the efforts of some very energetic women in Australia they’ve now managed to get it up and running there too.”

Sonia presented at both conferences and had a chance to meet the attendees. “They’re an inspirational group of women. Seeing them towards the end of the week and the strengths they were able to develop just confirmed how valuable this week-long residency is.”

Sonia says they may not necessarily be women who already hold a management title. “These women have been handpicked as having the potential to further develop in higher education They could be very actively engaged but haven’t yet had the opportunity to prove themselves. The conference prepares them to step up to next level.”

It seems the current focus on women in leadership is already making an impact. From 2020, fifty per cent of New Zealand’s Vice Chancellors will be women. “While this isn’t directly linked to the programme,” Sonia explains, “it has created a great deal of awareness around gender diversity and advancing women’s careers.”