Speaker, Storyteller and Women’s Leadership Facilitator
Arts, Music, Literature, Community Service and Engagement, Entertainment, History, Archeology, Anthropology, M.C. and Facilitator, Organisation Change Management, Religion, Spirituality and Ethics, Rural and Regional Issues and Policy, Social Justice and Human Rights, Sport and Recreation
Kate Lawrence is an ever evolving, creative and curious life-long learner. She is a speaker, story teller and listener, and women’s leadership facilitator.
Kate spent 17 years as a community lawyer, working for North Melbourne Legal Service, The Mental Heath Legal Centre, Victoria Legal Aid and Holding Redlich. She initiated a youth outreach in the CBD which went onto become Youthlaw. She was involved in prison rights activism, particularly the campaign to return the privatised women’s prison to Victorian government control.
Eventually disillusioned with the adversarial system, she turned her attention to learning methods of collaboration, and trained and worked as a facilitator.
In the 1990’s Kate played Australian rules football, and she was instrumental in the development of a second division within the Victoria Women’s Football League which enabled the league to grow, and for which she was awarded life membership in 2015.
Kate spent several years working to help communities prepare for and recover from bushfire, both before and after the 2009 Black Saturday fires. She worked with one local council significantly impacted by the fires, to capture and record experiences across the organisation, to create a story reflecting individual and corporate impacts and lessons. She created and delivered a program for women in communities, ’Weather the Storm: Women Prepare’ which was Highly Commended for the Resilient Australia Awards in 2013, and is currently being implemented in South Australia.
Kate has held various roles in local government, working in community development, bushfire recovery and community partnerships and infrastructure.
Drawing on her experiences in the law watching clients grapple with telling their stories, her deep desire to leave the printed page as she told her children stories, and finding story sharing at the heart of collaboration, Kate set out to learn the art and craft of storytelling. She spent several years exploring traditional stories, telling and teaching children to tell stories, until she settled in the area of true, personal storytelling. She has won two Moth storytelling slams, she hosts two monthly storytelling nights, one for women in East Brunswick and one in Woodend near where she lives. She is Vice President of Storytelling Australia Victoria.
Kate’s TEDx speech eloquently discusses the power and impact of storytelling. She explores how as a reflective tool with an outcome, storytelling has multiple benefits. Storytelling allows us to look at, process and understand who we are and the events that have shaped us. It also enables us to be more persuasive and trustworthy, with richer, more authentic and compelling ways of expressing ourselves.
Storytelling makes whole humans of us, it deepens our connection to purpose and makes it safer for others to express feelings in the otherwise emotionally numbing world of work. Story listening is also how we can understand the culture of our organisation and how we can creatively change the culture.