Calling on communities to drive girl power in rural NSW

February 21, 2018

Country to Canberra CEO Hannah Wandel empowering young local women in a chat about leadership and gender equality.

An Australian-first initiative has been launched recently to empower our next generation of women leaders with rural communities proving the big winners.   

Country to Canberra is unveiling Project Empower -  a national ‘workshop roadtrip’ that will upskill and provide free leadership training to young regional and remote women.   
Country to Canberra themselves are a nationwide not-for-profit, empowering young rural woman to reach their leadership potential.
The organisation builds leadership skills, encourages self-belief and connects young rural women with role models and mentors to overcome gender and geographical barriers to success.
CEO Hannah Wandel says the award-winning not-for-profit organisation will drive over 14,000 kilometres to every state and territory to run the uplifting workshops in rural high schools.  
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ms Wandel said.
“From May to August our volunteer team will be jumping in a ute and hitting the red dirt to drive change.”
The organisation is now calling on New South Wales communities to find out where they should run the workshops.  
“We want to hear from locals so we can decide where to visit in New South Wales, so hundreds of students can benefit,” Ms Wandel said.   
“It’s really simple and anyone can jump on our website to fill out the short Expression of Interest form and apply for us to visit your school or sports club.
“It’s all free and can make a huge difference for local girls.
“It’s all about connecting young women with leadership opportunities, educating about equality and supporting country kids and their education so we’re excited to bring it all around the country.
“We’re also looking for people who want to volunteer and give back.”
Country to Canberra has a history of success, having run its prestigious Power Trip program since 2014 to connect rural girls with the likes of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and top CEOs.
It won Holden’s first-ever ‘What Drives You’ grant to establish Project Empower.
Hannah Worsley from Nullamanna in NSW says Country to Canberra changed her life.  
“I cannot praise this organisation enough,” Ms Worsley said.  
“I’d encourage everyone to apply to have Project Empower visit you.
“I’m a better leader because of Country to Canberra.”
CEO Hannah Wandel has been passionate strengthening country communities from a young age.
After growing up in rural South Australia and losing her home in a fire as a teen, Ms Wandel has appreciated the support that country communities provide.  
“Country towns are the lifeblood of Australia, and the best part is how rural people band together,” Ms Wandel said.    
“Issues like the gender pay gap, political underrepresentation and social media are impacting teen girls while distance, time and funding barriers can make accessing education and career opportunities tough.  
“We want to ensure no matter where you’re from or what gender you are, you have the tools to succeed and we’re bringing these opportunities directly to the school gate.”
As CEO and a Project Empower facilitator Ms Wandel has been named one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence’ by Westpac and won the 2017 Emerging Leader Australian Leadership Excellence Award.
Expressions of Interest close on 6 March 2018.
Visit the Country to Canberra website at to find out more information on the organisation and workshops.

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