Canberra Blog

As lawyers, we are constantly learning and striving to better ourselves for our peers, clients and industry. Sometimes, inspiration can strike from anywhere, or require you to look for it outside of your office doors. For our Director Principal, Melanie Heffernan, Canberra is a city filled with history, purpose and opportunities to continue key learning. In August, she spent a week in our nation’s capital, where she explored and connected with fascinating leaders and business owners, while also indulging in some Australian history and culture. In this South East Lawyers blog, we discuss 4 things Melanie did on her trip and her takeaways from it. Read on.

1. Business Chicks in Canberra

As a proud member of the Business Chicks community, Melanie attended their August event during her time in Canberra and was a part of some fantastic discussions. Aside from the opportunity to meet fellow business owners, this event was particularly special as it included former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern as a part of the panel of speakers.

A warm and engaging presence, Ardern discussed her rise to the position of Prime Minister, and her her leadership style and experience facing some of the biggest challenges throughout her time in office. One key takeaway from her presentation that Melanie reflects upon was the idea that successful and meaningful leadership does not have to look a certain way, or come from a certain person to be impactful. Ardern also expressed how there is also great power in displaying your humanity within your role as a leader, as well as always honouring who you are and what you stand for. More on the event here.

2. Poetry from Azure Antoinette

The leader knows, they may not always be understood, but they lead so the future may too one day talk lovingly of their past.” – ‘Stardust’, a poem by Azure Antoinette.

Another speaker whom Melanie heard from during the Canberra Business Chicks conference was Azure Antoinette – a poet, entrepreneur, and millennial arts education advocate. Azure shared a powerful poem titled ‘Stardust’, with the Business Chicks audience in a captivating speech.

The poem paid a touching and insightful tribute to fellow speaker and former New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Detailing references to the realities of being a leader – “First one in, last one out” and the true and often isolating challenges that leaders must face, this written piece captured the importance of females in power and the impact that Ardern has made, both on her country and the world. Find the full poem here.

3. A visit to Parliament and The National Archives

Being a lawyer at heart, visiting Parliament House and exploring its history was a welcomed activity for Melanie. The building itself is not only open to the public for tours, but there is also the opportunity to observe Parliament when it is in session, or even explore the gardens and architecture. Another opportunity that Melanie received was to visit the National Archives of Australia, for a viewing of the original Australian Constitution – a document that was as historic as it was fascinating.

4. The ‘Feared and Revered’ exhibit

One stop that Melanie was able to make during her time in Canberra was the ‘Feared and Revered’ exhibit at the National Museum of Australia. Originally from the British Museum, this exhibit explored and celebrated the power of female spiritual beings in cultural traditions and beliefs across the globe.

It featured over 160 objects, which included sculptures, artifacts, and contemporary artworks – not to mention Australian Indigenous representations of female ancestral figures. A highlight within the exhibit for Melanie was the interactive opportunity for visitors to write their names and have them projected in the exhibit space. You can learn more about this exhibit here.

At South East Lawyers, we are dedicated to staying educated and informed, not only in the legal space, but also in the society that relies upon it. Our team is highly experienced, skilled and empathetic when providing our services to each client. To work with our team for family law, business, commercial, Wills & Estates, conveyancing or property matters, reach out to us here for a chat.