International Women's Day

Every Lauriston student is an innovator and creator, supported to take risks and to always be curious.

Today, and every day, we are inspiring and empowering young women to be open-minded and critical thinkers who are well equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow, including growing the number of women in STEM.

For girls to choose tech, we must start with imagination

In a recent opinion piece published in The Age on International Women’s Day, titled “Women in Leadership – Opening up pathways for girls and young women,” Susan Just, Principal, contributed alongside two other female principals to discuss ways of expanding career possibilities for girls and young women.

At Lauriston, our STEM program is founded on the belief that imagination makes empathy and curiosity possible, and we believe that these traits are often more important than the acquisition of knowledge. 

“By putting imagination at the core of our STEM curriculum, we see our girls finding joy in their learning and being more comfortable in taking risks rather than fretting about ‘getting the answer right’.”

International Women's Day Breakfast

We are thrilled to share with you all the wonderful success of our International Women’s Day breakfast, held on Thursday 2 March. It was a fantastic event with a panel discussion that was attended by both parents and daughters. The breakfast was hosted by Claudette Leeming (OL 1991), Chair of School Council, Alice Robinson (OL 1991), Chair of the Lauriston Foundation, and Principal Susan Just.

The event celebrated the women in our community who have cracked the code and broken-down barriers to pave the way for future generations. It was inspiring to hear from our esteemed panellists, Dr. Danielle Gescheit (OL 2007), Olivia Willee (OL 1992), and Emily Gibbs-Connor at Lauriston Girls’ School. The panellists shared their stories of success and challenges and highlighted the importance of gender equality in our society.

Dr. Danielle Gescheit (OL 2007), Data Scientist and Head of Players with Disability at Tennis Australia

Dr. Danielle Gescheit (OL 2007) is Tennis Australia’s Head of Players with Disability and was previously Head of Professional Tennis Operations and Billie Jean King Cup Team Manager. During her now 12-year tenure at Tennis Australia, Dani has also headed up the Performance Analysis team and Athlete Management System. Her professional journey stemmed from an academic pathway and a passion for tennis. She used to play a lot of tennis growing up and was also a tennis coach throughout her 4-year undergraduate double degree - a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science and a Bachelor of Commerce (Sport Management). She then completed an Honours year in 2013 and finally a PhD in 2018 exploring injury risk factors in elite tennis players.

Dani started at Lauriston in Year 9 and experienced her first year at Howqua.  Throughout her education she received distinctions for Cross Country, Tennis and Chess. In her graduating year, she received full colours and was House Captain of Mitchell House.

Olivia Willee (OL 1992), Partner in Financial Services Technology Consulting at EY

Olivia Willee (OL 1992) is a Partner in Financial Services Consulting at EY, one of the largest professional services firms in the world where she works with banks, insurance firms and superannuation funds. Olivia leads the ServiceNow practice for EY in Australia and works in Technology Solution Delivery helping clients to deliver digital programs for their employees and customers.

Prior to this role, Olivia was a Partner at IBM Global Business Services (GBS) in Australia where she worked for 12 years. Olivia's role as a Partner in IBM's consulting business focused on digital transformation and analytics predominantly in the banking industry. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce from Melbourne Uni, and an MBA from Melbourne Business School. Olivia is passionate about diversity, digital disruption, agile and analytics.

Olivia commenced her education at Lauriston in Grade 4, graduating Year 12 in 1992.  Olivia was a member of Kirkhope House, a Public Relations Prefect, participated in many school musicals, choirs, orchestra and flute ensembles and held full colours and a music pocket.

Emily Gibbs-Connor, Head of Digital Learning at Lauriston Girls' School

Emily Gibbs-Connor is the Head of Digital Learning at Lauriston Girls' School and has been teaching at Lauriston for five years. Her targeted learning programs are helping to increase STEM knowledge for the jobs of tomorrow.

Prior to this role, Emily tutored in Business Information Systems at RMIT. Emily has a Bachelor of Teaching and a Bachelor of Social Science degree. She is passionate about meaningful connected education and is a member of the Apple Consultants Network.

“Technology touches everything. Whatever career you’re going to take, you don’t need to know how to code, it’s about understanding how technology can help people.” – Olivia Willee (OL 1992)

“It’s ok to fail. Embrace things, try new things and if you realise it’s not what you like to do, it’s ok to move onto something else. Embrace those moments of realising what you love and what you don’t love.” – Danielle Gescheit (2007)

We are grateful for the insights and experiences shared by all of our panellists at the event. We hope their words continue to inspire and motivate our community towards achieving their goals and aspirations.

"Here at Lauriston, imagination is at the cornerstone of our approach to STEM learning. We believe that through focusing on imagination, we enable the girls to take risks with their learning and learn from their mistakes"

- Emily Gibbs-Connor, Head of Digital Learning