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Using the EMP to Inspire Future Female Leaders in Australia

By EMP Staff

As an Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) Certified Practitioner, Business and Enterprise Teacher and Founding Director of Engaging Education, Karen Dennett helps young women in Australia achieve their potential and work toward their dreams. Learn how she incorporates the EMP into an innovative program in Australia which brings together industry and education to change the game for future female visionaries and change makers.

EMP: Hi Karen! Thanks so much for joining us today. Although you first started using the EMP for teacher development, you are Co-Founder of the Future Female Leaders Program which is a six-month program that equips female leaders of tomorrow with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a VUCA world. How did this program come about?

Dennett: I co-created the program with leadership consultant, Claire Seeber. Claire is well-versed in empowering women to understand their strengths and forge their path in leadership, so she focused on the leadership aspects of the program, and I targeted the business enterprise and participant support aspects.

EMP: What makes this program unique?

Dennett: The program is fully funded by industry to both nurture and support the future talent pipeline, demonstrate commitment to women’s economic security and be a part of a program that is really life-changing for these young women. We have three levels of investment (Visionary, Changemaker, and Cheerleaders) as well as Sponsors “In Kind.” The program contains a lot of different features including professional mentoring, monthly group coaching, webinars and workshops, online tutorials, and “pitch night” events. One of the most distinctive parts is that the participants create and build a social impact project based on one of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the support of their mentor’s guidance and applying what they learn throughout the program, they bring that social impact project to life. Previous projects have addressed significant global issues such as climate change, youth homelessness, mental health issues stemming from negative body image, equality around education opportunities and more.

EMP: That sounds really interesting. Describe what kind of participants attend the program.

Dennett: Young women ages 16-17 apply for the program. Most are in high school or college and come from several different backgrounds all over Western Australia. We purposely don’t consider school grades as part of the application, but we are looking for people who have ambition, spark and drive and are strongly committed to the process.

EMP: Why did you want to incorporate the EMP in the program, and what impact has it had on the participants?

Dennett: Since it’s a pre-career program for young women, we knew that there needed to be a self-awareness component because they can’t really go on their leadership journey until they learn about their strengths and development needs. The EMP has been so valuable in helping them to understand themselves and recognize the different ways they behave and their character, etc. Self-confidence is a huge issue because we have found that many of the participants, although truly confident in their abilities, often second guess themselves or doubt their potential. It is amazing to see their progress as the program culminates in a graduation ceremony where they share their learnings and present their projects in front of their families, mentors and industry leaders.

This video gives a glimpse into that graduation ceremony and how the EMP cultivated changes and improvement over the course of the program. And here are just a few of the comments from recent graduates:

“Being a part of this program has meant learning how to lead others and learning how to be the leader of my own future and life, instead of following other people.”

“I have found ways to use my strengths in a meaningful way and developed skills I didn’t even know I had. This experience has given me confidence that I have the capacity and capability to work, lead and face challenges wherever life will take me in the future.”

“It has provided me with skills and knowledge that I will be able to apply to my everyday life and whatever field of work I choose to move into. These skills will provide me with the opportunity to continuously grow as a person and as an entrepreneur as I am faced with new and different situations.”

“Participating in the Future Female Leaders Program was a building foundation for me to express my passion and to have first-hand experience in leading and managing. It has truly given me the confidence and mentoring that I’ve needed, and has been a truly invaluable lesson for me and for my future.”

EMP: Can you give other examples of how the participants made progress on specific scales?

Dennett: Well, the EMP Development Guide has been invaluable to get them started as they consider the tips and development suggestions for all of the EMP scales. We had one young woman who scored quite high on Independence and had always considered that to be a real asset which it can be, of course, but she also realized over time that collaboration and taking guidance from her mentor was extremely important as well. Another student who scored low on Risk Acceptance was often unsure of herself and rarely went out of her comfort zone. After making a concerted effort to push herself in this area, she realized the benefits of taking risks, and the results were very positive for her specific project.

EMP: Tell us how you use the EMP in the Group Coaching sessions?

Dennett: We meet with the participants as a group after they have had time to review their results. They are very engaged at this point and come prepared with questions, etc. because they also have had time to look at the Development Guide. We do several breakout sessions where we want them to think about the vision behind their projects and ask them “What scales are important to achieve your vision?” and “How does that apply to your results?” We have periodic “check-in” sessions to see how they’re progressing on their goals. We also brief the mentors on the EMP and offer them an opportunity to take the EMP themselves as well so that everyone is speaking the same language.

EMP: In addition to the Future Female Leaders Program, you’ve also used the EMP in other contexts as well. Tell us a little about that.

Dennett: I used it at Teacher Professional Currency (TPC) which was a workshop for vocational teachers of Business and Enterprise that focused around the real world application of tools that develop skills both for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. This is a program I did with another EMP Practitioner and Master Trainer, Vicki Main. I also have used it in youth mentoring programs. Currently, I’m working with two youths to support their participation in a local government board.

EMP: Thank you so much, Karen! It was fascinating to hear these different applications of the instrument, and I really appreciate your time today. We wish you all the best as you continue to use the EMP to inspire our future leaders!

Karen Dennett Sitting at a Laptop

Karen Dennett is Founding Director of Engaging Education. She can be reached at Future Female Leaders or [email protected].

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The Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) [] is an excellent way to get an in-depth view of the entrepreneurial mindset and see how your personality traits and skill sets compare to those of corporate managers and entrepreneurs. Available online, the EMP provides scores on 14 different scales including Risk Acceptance, Passion, Need to Achieve, Future Focus, Idea Generation and Persistence among others. The EMP Feedback Report comes with a debrief video and a comprehensive Development Guide for continuous improvement.

Want to learn more about EMP Certification and how you can use it in your organization? Email us at [email protected] or visit the Certification page of the EMP website to see how you can start using the EMP with your clients and students.