It was an extra special International Women’s Day for me this year — I was invited to be part of the Mahers Lane speaking panel. It was both humbling and an honour to join such intelligent women on stage to talk to our future generation of leaders.

Mrs Cornell asked, as a final question, “what are our final words of encouragement for our audience?” and I shared the following story:

Many of my students and colleagues know that I’m a reformer pilates addict — often attending four to five classes a week. The wonderful Jenna (who also happens to be the owner of Studio Pilates, Palm Beach) is often in class with me. She is strong and her technique is perfection so naturally, there’s a little bit of comparison that creeps into my internal dialogue… she’s stronger than me, fitter than me, can do more reps than me… You know the kind of conversation. However, her skill has always inspired me to work a little bit harder to be even more committed to my workouts.

Recently, a new pilates student, after her second or third class, said that it was really helpful to work out next to me. I was a little surprised and asked why that was. She said that she’s looking forward to getting stronger so she can be more like me. And, it dawned on me… I was someone’s Jenna. Through my own efforts to be my personal best, I was motivating others to be aspirational in their goals too.

So, my message to our young women was simply to “Be a Jenna”. Be your best so that others around you can be their best too. Whilst we’re always looking forward, we need to be our best because you never know who is behind and looking up to you. Choose to challenge.

Kylie Wharton
English Teacher