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Two years on: Emily Milton Smith

Two years on: Emily Milton Smith

Leading Change catches up with Queen's Young Leaders and asks them to reflect on their experiences

Image above: Emily Milton Smith receiving her Queen's Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty the Queen, June 2015

Emily Milton Smith is a gender equality activist from Australia who was awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2015 for her work with young girls on body image.

1. Looking back to the beginning of the Leading Change course, what are the significant developments in your work or education?

"My focus was Voices Against Violence and Free Being Me.

"We had issues with Voices Against Violence, but were able to get two government grants and have developed and got up trainings using the money across the eastern seaboard. Pilots are due for the next six months.

"The Free Being Me pilot work has finished and now it’s a core bit of programmme business.

"I developed and ran the Girls Advisory Panel (GAP) [putting] all the learnings of Leading Change into GAP.

"As it’s an advisory panel – huge nudge theory work – getting girls into their local and larger decision-makers. This is going to be so important because we are changing practices to change an organisation and we know it will have huge impact."

2. What was the highlight of your first year as a Queen's Young Leader Alumni?

"Integrating my learning from the Leading Change course into my work to enable and empower other women and girls. I utilised several resources and workshop tools provided to me during my Queen’s Young Leaders year in my education programmes and project (and team) management.

"Connecting with this, another highlight was my participation in a Queen's Young Leader incubator and accelerator in Singapore. Here, I was able to develop and refine the knowledge I gained throughout my Queen’s Young Leaders year and amplify my skills. This has been critical in my continued work empowering the teams I work with in Australia, and notably a youth advisory council I started up and currently manage.

"And I finished my thesis! A Queen's Young Leader at the residential in 2015 gave me some sage advice – just keep writing! Write, write, write, then edit. This helped me to focus on the process, rather than the result and showed me that my writing was more pliable when handled regularly and developed creatively."

3. What are you planning for 2017?

"So much! I’m excited to share that we’re in the program implementation stage of the Voices Against Violence Project – something I’ve been working on solidly for several years.

"I’m also working on handing over several projects as one of my management roles finishes tenure. This handover sees the extrapolation of these projects, allowing more personnel into the advocacy and youth empowerment space.

"Importantly it means many of these projects are more greatly embedded in the organisation’s practices and this enables their sustainability and increasing impact. These are very huge wins and reflect the meaningful work each of these projects has been undertaking!

"As a result of this welcomed transition, I’m excited to make space to engage with new projects and emerging work that tackles other, interconnected issues with which I’m passionate.

"On a personal note, I’m looking forward to housing stability. After moving home several times last year and all the havoc that it wreaks, I’m planning on some stillness this year!"