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What Liz Ellis has learned about leadership 

28 May 2020

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Suncorp has collaborated on this article with our friends at Business Chicks Australia’s largest and most influential community for women. Whether they’re running their own show, surrounded by others in an office, or just missing a sense of connection and support, Business Chicks is all about giving women the tools they need to propel themselves and their businesses forward.

In collaboration with Business Chicks, Liz Ellis talks about the women, experiences and lessons that shaped her life and career.

It’s hard to talk about Australian Netball and not mention Liz Ellis. One of the only netballers to ever be classified as a household name across Australia, Liz is unquestionably an icon of the sport. The former captain of both the Australian Netball Team and Sydney Swifts (as well as a Suncorp Super Netball Commentator) Liz knows a thing or two about leadership – on and off the court.

Our friends at Business Chicks spoke to Liz Ellis about how she became a great captain, mother and mentor. It’s a must-read for mothers of teenage girls.

She always had her own point of view

It’s important for teenage girls to find an identity and communication style they feel comfortable with, just like Liz did.

“As a teenager I suppose I was very focused and a bit precocious. I have always had opinions and back then I didn’t really have much of a filter! I loved playing netball and I was incredibly determined to do the best that I could.”

Her relationship with her mum is inspirational

Liz’s mum let her find her own path, and encouraged her along the way. Their strong relationship is a testament to a mother-daughter relationship built on trust and empathy.

“Mum doesn’t let much get to her, and doesn’t dwell on negative feelings and neither do I. I have learned from her to just have a go at new experiences and opportunities, and not be fearful of failure. Most importantly I understand the quality of being physically active and the positive effect it has on your mental health.”

Strong women have always featured in her life

Many of us are lucky to be surrounded and guided by strong women in our life, and Liz Ellis is no exception. Starting with her relationship with her mum, Liz credits many women in her life with helping her on her journey to professional netball and success in life.

“I feel really fortunate to have experienced my athletic career in a sport run largely by women, for women. As a result, I have overwhelmingly experienced great female leaders and team-mates. What I love is that those team-mates are now becoming brilliant leaders in their own right. Someone like Briony Akle, who is the coach of the Swifts has grown into a leadership style that is incredibly inclusive and powerful, focusing on her players as people first and athletes second.

What I have learned about leadership is that it is neither exclusively born, nor made. Rather it is something that you can work on, reflect on, think about and have a plan for. And the best leaders are those who do that. Who understand their strengths and weaknesses and work on them, who are clear on why they lead which then informs the how.”

What she has to say about being a mentor

Despite her incredible career and achievements, Liz reflects on her journey from an up-and-coming player to internationally renowned captain, and the concept of having a mentor.

“I don’t have any regrets about my netball career, although I wish I had sought a mentor to help guide me through my leadership journey. I can see know how my unbridled ambition in that regard didn’t hold me in particularly good stead, and a good mentor would have made the process towards captaincy smoother and my effectiveness as a leader better, sooner.”

She wants her kids to know their worth

Not only a stellar player and visionary captain, Liz Ellis is also doing a great at being a mum herself, instilling confidence and worthiness in her kids.

“Kindness and gratitude are super important. Also showing love and affection. It means being vulnerable, but it’s so important that they learn to give love and receive it. I try to tell them often that I love being their mum.”

Business Chicks and Suncorp Team Girls have teamed up to bring you the Business Chicks of the Future content series. Visit the hub to find more content to equip you to build meaningful connections with your teen and tween girls in order to build their confidence, strengthen their mental health and overcome difficult circumstances.

For more information on how Suncorp is helping to build a nation of confident girls, visit the Team Girls website.

Read the original interview with Liz Ellis.

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If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs

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