Connecting girls, inspiring futures.
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No stranger to inspiring others with her on-court play, Melbourne Vixens Captain Bianca Chatfield inspired over 200 young women with her journey from a young aspiring netballer to a world-class athlete and successful business woman.
The event, organised by Sports Education and Development Australia (SEDA) for their female students, was to celebrate International Womens Day on March 8th, with the theme Connecting girls, inspiring futures.
The day was about celebrating the vital role women play in enhancing economic security for their families, communities and countries as a whole while recognising that significant barriers to achieving women's economic security and equality continue to exist.
Chatfield said it is a great opportunity to recognise the achievements of women but acknowledges that there is still plenty of room for women to achieve and receive the recognition that they deserve.
While she said netballs media profile has grown over the years and most publicity is positive, the hard work, knock backs and competitiveness is not often encapsulated by the media.
After finding herself in the Australian netball squad at the age of 18, Chatfield was dropped from the squad the following year. It was at this time that she realised the importance of create a plan that included both netball and personal goals.
"After being put on a pedestal at such a young age and then being told I wasn't good enough was very difficult but I decided to use the opportunity to figure out what my goals were, and one of them was to get back into the squad the next year," she said. And after much hard work, she did just that.
Chatfield notes a mind shift helped her use the talented resources around her to identify the weaknesses in her game and improve her game.
"An important lesson I learnt was to utilise the skills and support of people around you," she said.
Having a positive support network around her has helped Chatfield achieve she said, an idea she encouraged the SEDA students to embrace.
"It's important to always surround yourself with positive, happy people who support you and encourage you to follow your dreams."
Establishing a positive 'personal brand' is another concept Chatfield said is key to achieving success in any field.
"It's important to realise what you stand for, what your values are, what you want people to think the instant the meet you what will become your personal brand. Often you only have one opportunity to meet people and everything from how you walk, your body language, the clothes youre wearing and the tone of your voice affects the impression someone has of you."
Outside of netball, Chatfield runs mentoring programs in schools alongside former Vixens team mate and friend Sharelle McMahon.
"Im lucky to be surrounded by inspiring and high achieving women every day in my family, my friends and my Vixens team mates."