Broadening perceptions and changing assumptions was the mission of the 2017 Staff Conference – one that we can confidently say was achieved.
The Staff Conference is an occasion that is regarded by all at RA Tas as a highlight of the year. The Conference represents the one opportunity where all staff can connect, learn and be inspired as a collective group.
The theme of the conference was “What is REAL Gender Equality?” This question framed discussions and speeches throughout the Conference – encouraging and inspiring staff to reflect and question, “What does gender equality mean?” and “How can we ensure gender equality is present in our workplace, relationships, and communities?”
Over the course of the two days, staff heard from a number of speakers touching on topics such as family violence, discrimination, and equality for people from marginalised communities.
Catherine McGregor, the world’s highest-ranking transgender military official and an Australian of the Year nominee, was one of the many inspirational speakers in attendance at the 2017 Conference. As a former army officer and a prominent transgender figure within the Australian community, her personal story of gender transition was compelling and inspiring.
Staff also heard from Sarah Bolt, who touched on our need to foster a society free of discrimination, prejudice, and bias, drawing on her own experience as Tasmania’s Equal Opportunity Commissioner.
Jacqui Watt, CEO at No To Violence, spoke about the important point in time we are currently in for Family Violence services and the opportunities that exist to shift the individual, community, and system responses. Jacqui also touched on the causes and the effects of family violence on women and children and how we can move this conversation forward – ultimately changing how men think, feel and behave.
Mani Mitchell, an educator, counsellor and change agent, lead staff on a reflective journey – broadening our knowledge of and cultural competence in the LGBTIQ community.
Dr Justin Coulson, a Psychologist & Happy Families Expert, left staff with the information, tools and strategies to help transform their personal or professional relationships – speaking on how to boost wellbeing and improve relationships.
As in previous years, the 2017 Conference saw some of our own staff take the stage, to deliver some inspired and thoughtful Ted Talks. Ted Talkers included; Liz Everard, Lyn Dunn, Amanda Duigan and Della Slater. The insights and discussions led by the Ted Talkers were, as always, a meaningful and popular component of the Conference.
The 2017 Conference embraced the complexity of diversity and explored what REAL gender equality means, giving us an open invitation to bravely advocate for awareness and change about any issues impacting on us or our clients.
Concluding the 2018 Staff Conference staff were given the opportunity to reflect on how the past two days had changed any perceptions or assumptions they held in regards to diversity and gender equality – staff were asked to reflect on what they used to think … and what they now know …
I used to think that gender was physical … I now know that gender is holistic and about the complete person – physical, emotional and spiritual.
I used to think I knew a lot about issues affecting LGBTIQ people … I now know that these issues are more profound and complex than I realised.
I used to think that gender equality is well addressed in our community … I now know we have a lot more work to do.