If You See It, You Can Be It
I enjoyed an opportunity this week to hear Belinda Clark AO, former Australian Women’s Cricket Captain, speak on the topic of sport and its connection to business and leadership. As a pioneering figure in women’s cricket, Clark has left an indelible mark on the sport, both as a player and a leader.
Clark’s leadership was defined by her ability to lead by example. She possessed an unparalleled work ethic, displaying determination and resilience on the field and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Her leadership style emphasised teamwork, unity and fostering of a strong sense of camaraderie amongst players.
Earlier this year, a sculpture of Belinda Clark was erected at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This was the first sculpture of any female cricket player in the world, and one of only 4% of public statues of women in Australia. Sadly, there are more statues of animals than women in Australia. I was proud to think of our very own Barbreck Girl located in the Forecourt of the Junior School. This was, indeed, a wise and insightful decision by past parents, Wayne, and Sonia Kent, who gifted the sculpture in 2016. Our Barbreck Girl is very much enjoyed by every girl in our Junior School as they stroll past, often taking the time to sit beside her and touch the chess pieces.
For Belinda, her very own sculpture encapsulates “being able to have a go – to be bold and courageous, to take on challenges and to break convention.” The statue captures Clark in a dynamic pose, depicting her in full cricket gear, poised for action. It represents her determination, skill, and the fearless spirit she embodied throughout her career. It serves as a constant reminder of Clark’s leadership and the impact she had on the sport. Clark’s statue reminds onlookers of the values of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Such character dispositions reminded me of our very own endeavours with St Catherine’s students.
Belinda highlighted the importance of visibility, emphasising the concept of “if you can see it, you can be it.” When young girls see successful women who have achieved their goals and overcome obstacles, it can inspire them to believe in their own potential and pursue their dreams.
During her Address, Clark mentioned research conducted by Cricket Australia indicating that girls tend to look for role models closer to home, while boys often seek inspiration further afield, global superstars as an example. This suggests that providing girls with relatable role models within their immediate community can have a significant impact. These role models could include women from their own families, teachers, St Catherine’s Old Girls who are our coaches or even more broadly in the local community. By having access to role models who share similar experiences and challenges, girls can better relate to their journeys and feel supported in their own endeavours.
Additionally, the research suggests that girls are more comfortable taking small steps towards their goals rather than making giant leaps. This further emphasises the need for a network of support around them who will earnestly encourage and mentor their journey step by step.
As we approach Mother’s Day, Belinda’s personal story about her mother brings warmth to our hearts. During Belinda’s younger years as a competitive tennis player, her mother instilled in her a valuable lesson. After every tournament, Belinda’s mother made sure she walked up and personally thanked the tournament organisers. Although Belinda sometimes felt hesitant, her mother insisted on this practice. Looking back on those moments, Belinda sees it as a lasting reminder of the significance of expressing gratitude—a lesson she carries with her every day.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we can appreciate the invaluable role of mothers and the lessons they impart. Belinda’s story highlights the impact a mother’s teachings can have on shaping a person’s character and values. It also serves as a tribute to all the mothers who instil important life lessons, like gratitude, in their children. It reminds us to cherish and express our gratitude not just on this special day but throughout the year. I wish all mothers, grandmothers, and the special women in the lives of St Catherine’s students the very best on Sunday.