Hallmark Program Leadership Symposium

As part of the La Trobe 50th Anniversary activities in 2017, the Hallmark Program was proud to launch an inaugural leadership symposium. The symposium brought together former and current Hallmark students for a one day event to hear from keynote speakers, participate in informative and interactive workshops about discovering, building and reflecting on one’s own leadership potential.

Some students who attended have given their feedback on the fantastic event.

By: Grace Shing-Francis

Held on the 28th of April, 2017, the Hallmark Program held the inaugural Hallmark Leadership Symposium, aptly titled ‘The Art of Leadership: Discover Your Own Potential.’  This event brought together Hallmark students from across the La Trobe campuses, current and former students.  We first heard from Tasneem Chopra, a leading cross-cultural consultant, one of AMAA’s 2013 Women of the Year, one of Australian Magazine’s Emerging Leader, Top 10 Thinkers 2009 and a TEDx Melbourne Presenter.  She spoke powerfully about culture, racism, and how it is imbedded into our everyday lives.

Our next presenter was Susan Inglis, Professor of Practice Management at La Trobe University.  She spoke with us about leadership strengths, and how we could increase them.   She spoke about the evolution of leadership, something that I thought was interesting. We delved into things that we value and how we can use these as an effective leader and job seeker, before examining how to broaden our mindset and shake up our network.  It was a very effective presentation with take home messages that many of us took to heart.

Our final presenter of the day was Donna Cooper, General Manager at Seed Value.  Donna spoke to us about effective communication skills to prepare us for the world of employment, with advice on taking care when writing emails and arranging meetings.  Her presentation was coupled with anecdotes of her real world experience, as well as key tips to survive in the workplace.

The Hallmark Symposium was a fantastic way to catch up with students from across all campuses.  For the 1st year Hallmark Students, it was an effective way to see the friends that we had made at orientation together in one place, and network with older students and the guest speakers.  The 1st year students undertaking the Hallmark elective could see their classmates from other campuses and as a result the atmosphere was very friendly as everyone chatted between breaks.  Overall the symposium was a huge success, and we are all very excited for the next one.

By: Noah Duldig

The inaugural Hallmark Leadership Symposium was a fantastic opportunity to hear from truly inspirational and intriguing guest speakers, as well as connect with students from different subject areas, year levels and campuses.

The day started off with cross-cultural consultant and advocate Tasneem Chopra speaking about her extensive career and expertise in community development, and the intersection of feminism with ethnicity and religion. Tasneem vividly recounted her experience of the stereotypes, assumptions and prejudices about her based only these three facets of her life, comparing it to the vast privilege they afforded to others. Women, people of colour and Muslims in Australia are so often being "spoken about, but never spoken to". Tasneem provided so many important messages to the students gathered, especially pertaining to the current geo-political climate. Her most pressing message was to take nothing at face value; to never lose curiosity and the tenacity to question what we are told.

Following Tasneem’s inspiring speech, we were addressed by Professor Susan Inglis of La Trobe University. Susan gave us an overview of the history of leadership styles and how to use our values as a guide. Professor Inglis, a lecturer in La Trobe’s MBA program, detailed the shift from leaders as heroes to host as well as showing the complexities of modern leadership, in which personal values have increasing prominence. We then completed an eye-opening task – to pick which ten values we consider the most important to us. Following this Donna Cooper from Seed Value showed us strategies to communicate effectively and seek employment straight out of university. Both Donna and Susan emphasised the importance of networking and effective communication, as well as demonstrating how to do them.

Overall this day was a huge success on all fronts. Not only were we inspired and educated by three fantastic speakers, but we were able to meet Hallmark Scholars from other year levels, campuses and areas of study, further enriching the experience. I am truly thankful to Tasneem Chopra, Professor Susan Inglis, Donna Cooper, and the Hallmark team for this event which provided me with so many new ways of thinking I would otherwise not have been exposed to. That, for me, encapsulates the Hallmark Program perfectly; a program to give incredible opportunities, experiences and learning.

By: Charlotte Usher

My favourite part of the symposium was listening to Tanseem Chopra who was fantastic. Her unique experiences as cross-cultural consultant made her speech intriguing and it was really interesting to hear about the different paths her career had taken.

The main “take-away” tool/thought/message from the symposium was that it brought home to me how important conversation is, in terms of networking, in terms of asking questions to those more experienced than ourselves or just to chat to the other students in year levels other than our own. Having the opportunity to make those connections at an undergraduate level sets us up for postgraduate experiences having had the chance to ask questions of those in different areas to ourselves and to meet other students that may be possible collaborators in the future.