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Empower Profile: Cassandra Heilbronn

Motivated by another awesome power trip event for 2016, we decided it was time to post another ‘Empower Profile’.  These profiles feature inspiring women and girls who are making waves and promoting empowerment in rural Australia.  We are thrilled to be able to share with you Cassandra Heilbronn’s story. She is an amazing woman – enjoy the read!

pictureCassandra Heilbronn is a Senior Associate at MinterEllison, practising in the Insurance and Corporate Risk area, specialising in management liability, sports law and medical negligence.  She is also President of Women Lawyers Association of Queensland, Social Media Manager for Australian Women Lawyers and a Committee Member at Toowong FC.  In her spare time, she plays a lot of sport (although a recent broken leg from playing soccer has her sidelined at the moment!), coaches U8 soccer, and is completing her Masters of Law at the University of Queensland.  Cassandra runs the @careergirlinspo Instagram and is an avid blogger, sharing her life of a lawyer stories and mentors a number of junior female professionals as they transition from university to their career.  

Cassandra Heilbronn is an example of someone who did not let growing up in a regional area stop her from pursing her goal of becoming a lawyer.  Raised in Bundaberg in a low socio-economic area, Cassandra is the eldest of three girls.  While dealing with a number of illnesses, which ultimately led to an early retirement based on his disabilities, her father worked hard to ensure that Cassandra was able to obtain an education at Shalom Catholic College.  She remembers that as a child she never actually realised that her family did not have a lot of money until she reached high school when her friends were talking about the holidays their families were taking, the expensive cars their parents drove and the clothes they could buy (as opposed to op shops and hand me downs!).

From a young age, Cassandra was involved in a number of sports, church and charity events.  During primary school, she remembers volunteering at the local library of a weekend and in school holidays and in exchange was allowed ‘first pick’ of the new Sweet Valley High books that were released!!  It was here she developed a keen interest in law and American politics by reading biographies and accessing the newly released Encarta on CD.  Cassandra obtained her first casual job at age 13, slicing bread at a local bakery before school.  She later started working at the local bowling alley of a weekend and took on supervisor roles by age 15.  In 2000, Cassandra was named in the winning Siren of the Surf Team and in 2001, was named the inaugural Leukaemia Foundation Miss Bundy Thunder.  At school, she held the position of Rowing Captain and House Captain for Athletics and Cross Country.

After Cassandra was admitted as a lawyer, she continued her charity and community work and was named the 2008 RSL Sunshine Coast Girl in a Million raising over $4,000 for RSL veterans.  While practising law at the Sunshine Coast, Cassandra and her friends took over the running of the Sunshine Coast Girls Boardriders Club, preventing it from closing down.    

These days, Cassandra is President of Women Lawyers Association of Queensland, Social Media Manager of Australian Women Lawyers, a Committee Member of Toowong FC and a recently retired Board member of Squash Australia.  In October 2016, she was named as the Women’s Agenda Emerging Leader in the Legal Sector at the 4th Annual Leadership Awards and last week was named in the 2017 Who’s Who List of Australian Women (after first being named in 2015). 

Cassandra is supportive of initiatives to help those girls in rural and regional areas realise their goals by not letting their location or economic situation hold them back.  She is an indication of what can be achieved by using what resources are available, taking a chance and sometimes going it alone, in order to create a life that she dreamed of.