From homeless to Harvard

Who can believe it, but Harvard let me in!  I was recently accepted in to Harvard's international emerging leaders program, an intensive course undertaken on campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts in November.  

It's pretty exciting for a kid who was on homelessness allowance at 16 (thanks Paul Keating!) and didn't finish High School, so I'm determined to get there one way or the other - hence the shameless appeal for help.

A bit about me.   After heading to university mature age, I worked in law firms whilst studying, before running away to work in the United Kingdom.  During my time in the UK, I was the Deputy Head for the Legal and Housing Advice Service for Crisis Open Christmas for four years, a legal researcher on the London Olympic Bid at Eversheds LLP, and following, spent time working with indigenous (nomadic) communities in Southern Africa and assisting in the development of legal capacity building programs.  Since returning to Australia I have worked as a programmer for public education and talks programs to help enable a mainstream dialolgue around issues such as environment, social justice: racism, gender, homelessness, marginalisation and cultural issues.    

I have also worked extensively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities helping to progress issues of importance to the respective community.  It is my absolute belief that Australia's future is dependent entirely on listening and learning from our First Nation's People and enabling a more level playing field in recognition of past wrongs. 

(Links to the projects I have been involved in include:  www.woodfordfolkfestival.com , www.tedxbrisbane.com , www.abc.net.au/radionational, mentoring young Torres Strait Islander musician Chris Tamwoy, www.facebook.com/ChrisTamwoy , producing the 2014 CSA for domestic violence awareness for the Women's Legal Service www.wlsq.org.au, and www.crisis.org.uk.

Enough about me - here is a little blurb on the course:

Emerging Leaders brings together leaders from around the world and renowned Harvard faculty to develop and expand the capacity of the next generation of leaders. Participants will return to their countries and organizations with a solid foundation of skills and strategies to implement their vision of a democratic society.

So, I think that I've probably covered enough on here, but one way or the other, my commitment is to share the learnings of this and my previous experiences to empower other women who tread a similar path.  Really, anything is possible. 

I'd say "Don't stop, believing", but I'm really not a fan of that song.  

Thank you for reading this far, any contribution no matter how small will be so greatly appreciated.
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Lisa Watts 
Organizer
Red Hill QLD
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