About us

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What we doIMG_5304

Country to Canberra is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that is empowering young rural women to reach their leadership potential. Founded in 2014, we run national initiatives that provide leadership opportunities, encourage ambition, and uniquely, connect young rural women with motivational mentors to breakdown gender and geographical barriers to success.

Our Mission

To empower young rural women to reach their leadership potential.

Our Motivation

Distance, time and funding barriers can isolate rural and remote students from education and career opportunities. Pairing this geographical barrier with Australia’s gender pay gap, the underrepresentation of women in politics, the lack of Australian female CEOs, and issues such as sexism, it’s clear that young rural women face increased challenges as they strive toward their goals.

Our Beginnings

Country to Canberra was founded in April 2014 by CEO, Hannah Wandel. Hannah grew up on a farm in South Australia, and although she loved her local community, she recognised that there were additional challenges faced by rural and remote students. Further, as a gender equality advocate, she was determined to increase leadership opportunities for young women and girls. At 24, Hannah won a Great Ydeas grant to launch the organisation.

In two years, Country to Canberra has grown to encompass a national volunteer team, multiple sponsorship deals, and importantly, has positively influenced dozens of bright young women to reach their potential.

Our Programs

Country to Canberra currently runs, or is in the process of establishing, the following programs:

  • Leadership Competition and Power Trips: Country to Canberra runs a nationwide leadership competition about gender equality for high school students in rural and remote regions, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. After having their work published, the competition winners are awarded a Power Trip to Canberra where they meet with politicians and influential role models, connect with mentors through Raising Hope Education Foundation, undertake leadership and public speaking training (i.e. with Australian National University and TEDxCanberra), tour Parliament and much more.
  • Blogger Team: We facilitate and mentor a team of 20 teenage bloggers living across Australia. Not only does this give young women a forum to discuss key issues, it showcases their writing talents, promotes rural life and creates interconnectivity to diminish isolation.
  • Project Empower – Leadership Workshops: This program is planned for 2017 and would see Country to Canberra travel to rural and remote high schools to deliver a leadership workshop series focussing on goal-setting, ambition, equality education and career strategizing. This has been endorsed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Our Strategic Priorities

Country to Canberra has five strategic priorities that we aim to achieve through our initiatives:

  • Empower Future Leaders: To empower young rural women (between 13-18) living in regional, rural and remote Australia to pursue leadership opportunities at school and within their community. Crucially, this includes the empowerment of young indigenous women.
  • Politics and Executive Roles: To encourage more young rural women to pursue careers in local, state and federal politics or aim for executive-level roles in their chosen field.
  • Gender Equality: To increase youth discourse about gender equality in rural Australia.
  • Mentorship: To facilitate mentorship between established female leaders and young rural girls.
  • Opportunities: To build career networks, increase confidence and provide ‘resume booster’ opportunities for rural and remote girls.

*Please note: Country to Canberra is not aligned with any political party.