What is the Girls Leadership Network?

Tim Benson 30 January 2018 19
Sian Rinaldi, senior consultant at Callida Consulting and member of The Girls Leadership Network leadership team.

Sian Rinaldi, senior consultant at Callida Consulting and member of The Girls Leadership Network leadership team.

Being the father of a bright, confident and creative daughter, The Girls Leadership Network (TGLN) sparked more than a little of my attention.

Now in its second year, TGLN was founded by Ritu Clementi, who had created similar programs in the US that were so successful that she won the Martin Luther King Jr Diversity award from Nike. She worked closely with her college-age daughter, Asha, in founding the program.

Seeing there were few long-term programs targeting senior girls across Canberra, Ritu received a Great Ydeas grant in May 2016 and started the TGLN program.

“This is truly a grassroots, ground-up organisation where a group of women are coming together to make a difference locally,” Ritu said.

TGLN is a series of workshops where young women discuss topics such as: learning about themselves, defining their priorities and understanding what their success looks like.

“We explore emotional resilience, understand that your path to your goals may not be linear and how to pick yourself up after a perceived failure and learn from that experience,” Ritu explained.

The program is open to girls in year 11 and 12 in the ACT and surrounding areas and attracted 35 girls from 13 schools in 2017.

The TGLN involves one workshop per month over five months and included the following topics and speakers in 2017:


  • Who am I: being authentic and true to myself;
  • The journey: where am I going?;
  • Understanding goals: what’s success for me?;
  • The winding path: resilience and failing forward;
  • Fit for success: self-leadership and attitude;
  • Ongoing journey: next steps on your path.


  • Her Excellency Naela Chohan, Pakistan High Commissioner to Australia;
  • Caitlin Figueredo, Youth Activist;
  • Amanda Heal, Visually impaired leadership coach;
  • Michelle Heyman, Olympian, LGBTI Personality of the Year 2017;
  • Heather Layzell, Director, Clean Energy Regulator;
  • Lieutenant Kate Munari, Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Pilot;
  • Hannah Wandel, CEO, Country to Canberra;
  • Heidi Zajac, Founder of Cooking Circles.

TGLN wouldn’t be the success it is without the commitment of a number of senior professional Canberra women.

One of those women is Sian Rinaldi. Sian is a senior consultant with local business Callida Consulting.

“Callida is a strong supporter of local Canberra initiatives. I saw The Girls Leadership Network and decided we should get involved,” Sian explained.

After meeting with Ritu, Sian volunteered with TGLN and joined their leadership team.

“I’m really pleased to be involved in teaching young women leadership and networking skills,” Sian said.

Sian is a specialist in human resources and change management and is highly qualified with two masters’ degrees.

“One of the main reasons I got involved is because I strongly believe in the power of networks. I often call upon my networks for advice and direction, not only on work-related challenges but also in general to gain different perspectives on a variety of issues.

Sian grew up in Canberra and lived in Singapore for years 9 and 10 and then came back to Canberra for years 11 and 12. She found that when she returned in college, it was so apparent to her that in Canberra, there weren’t many opportunities to break out of a school catchment zone or ‘side’ of Canberra. One of the primary purposes of the TGLN is to begin to break down some of those barriers and meet other young women that were interested in leadership.

“The earlier you are able to establish and harness a strong network and feel confident in approaching and using them, the better,” Sian advised.

What sort of young women are attracted to The Girls Leadership Network?

“There are a few school captains and other school leaders that have participated. But the majority are from diverse interests including STEM, music, design and commerce,” Sian outlined.

TGLN has partnered with the Finnish Embassy and undertake activities there including Girl Takeover.

Two girls from TGLN ‘took over’ the Finnish Embassy and ran their social media and attended meetings with the Ambassador.

TGLN also participated in Plan International’s Girls Takeover Parliament, where young women shadowed key members of parliament. Asha Clementi was chosen as the youngest participant, working with Rebecca Sharkie, from South Australia.

“I would encourage young women in the years 11 and 12 in Canberra and the surrounds to get involved in TGLN,” Sian concluded.

After speaking to Sian about TGLN, I will certainly be raising this with my daughter and encouraging her to get involved.

The Girls Leadership Network is looking for up to 50 young women in year 11 and 12 to participate in their program in 2018. TGLN is on Facebook and you can register interest by visiting The Girls Leadership Network.

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19 Responses to What is the Girls Leadership Network?
Florence Siba Florence Siba 12:32 am 09 Feb 18

Excellent idea.

Karen Baldwin Karen Baldwin 10:05 pm 08 Feb 18

I was scrolling through my feed and thought "wow! She looks just like Siân Rinaldi!" 😁 kudos!!

    Siân Rinaldi Siân Rinaldi 10:19 pm 08 Feb 18

    Yes it is a remarkably large photo of my head 😳 the girls are an amazing bunch who have made me feel wildly inadequate for the past year, I can't wait to see what this year brings!

    Karen Baldwin Karen Baldwin 8:41 am 09 Feb 18

    I really admire your strength and commitment to helping others 💪👍❤

Sophia Knight Sophia Knight 9:14 am 08 Feb 18


Alia Papageorgiou Alia Papageorgiou 8:19 am 08 Feb 18

Kathi Synodinou this is the one that Ritu Gupta Clementi started 🤗 know anyone in year 11&12?

    Ritu Gupta Clementi Ritu Gupta Clementi 8:43 am 08 Feb 18

    Perfect timing - I was going to reach out to Kathi!

    Kathi Synodinou Kathi Synodinou 11:04 am 08 Feb 18

    Ritu Gupta Clementi We only have up to year 10, but I'll ask.

Dechen Dorji Dechen Dorji 8:42 am 06 Feb 18

Kuenga Lham something you might like to look into

Steen Lowry Steen Lowry 8:02 pm 05 Feb 18

Go Siân! That’s awesome 💕

Jenny Hutchison Jenny Hutchison 7:55 pm 05 Feb 18

Excellent initiative!

Chris Ryan Chris Ryan 6:42 pm 05 Feb 18

Great program Siân Rinaldi!

    Siân Rinaldi Siân Rinaldi 7:57 pm 05 Feb 18

    Thanks Chris! It's shaping up to be a great year :)

Michelle Anne Michelle Anne 5:09 pm 05 Feb 18

Stephanie I wonder if we could join this

    The Girls Leadership Network The Girls Leadership Network 5:12 pm 05 Feb 18

    For more info: Www.thegirlsleadershipnetwork.org/register

    Michelle Anne Michelle Anne 5:27 pm 05 Feb 18

    Is this open to Queanbeyan schools?

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 5:46 pm 05 Feb 18

    Hi Michelle, yes, my understanding is that the program is open to Queanbeyan schools.

    Stephanie Marie Stephanie Marie 6:39 pm 05 Feb 18

    Michelle Anne Wells I’ll look into it, could be something I can run with the girls.

    The Girls Leadership Network The Girls Leadership Network 12:36 am 14 Feb 18

    Yes - absolutely open to Queanbeyan!

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