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September 2019

2 women talking with a microphone jpeg
Western Health manager of occupational therapy Kate Cranwell and Ellie Blackburn.

Football star shines at Western Health forum

Western Bulldogs AFLW premiership-winning captain Ellie Blackburn was the guest of honour at the recent allied health staff inspiration forum at Western Health.

Ms Blackburn addressed a packed audience at Sunshine Hospital for what was the centrepiece of Allied Health Week.

She imparted plenty of relevant and uplifting advice from her own experiences as an elite sportswoman and discussed topics including leadership, communications and dealing with adversity.

Asked about her style of leadership, she suggested the best leaders work on developing other leaders within a team.

‘There are so many elements to good leadership,’ Ms Blackburn said.

‘I want people to be able to be a leader in their own way.

‘In that way, you’re not just building others up but building on your own ability as well.’

Despite her persona as an all-action footy star, Ms Blackburn confided her own struggles with adversity in overcoming difficulties with public speaking.

Commenting on the reality that even successful sportspeople who love their job can sometimes lack motivation, she offered guidance for others in a similar position. ‘You’ve got to find the thing that keeps you going and wakes you up every morning – whatever works for you.’

Speaking to a largely female audience, she referenced the difficulty of asserting the identity of the century-old women’s sport and related this to the role of women in the workplace generally:

‘You can be told that you’re not good enough or you don’t belong.

‘If you believe that then what they’re saying is true.

‘But if you choose to create a different path for yourself and the women following, you can achieve great things,’ Ms Blackburn said.