It was a brilliant night of mentoring, mingling and diverse perspectives, as the Queensland African Lawyers Network (QALN) this week staged its inaugural event.
In collaboration with the College of Law, QALN held its ‘Strength in Diversity, the Values of Different Views’ evening on Tuesday at Wesley House, Brisbane.
Former Supreme Court Justice Anthe Philippides led the discussion, speaking on the importance of growing and recognising diversity in the legal industry.
A panel of senior QALN lawyers, Life Law Solutions’ Elizabeth Fairon and Lacuna Professional Solutions’ Bronwyn Eynon-Lewis also shared their experiences on professional coaching and mentoring, self-care, how participants can be part of the drive for change, and the support that is available in the legal community.
The QALN started in or around 2014, initially as a social group of friends and colleagues of African ancestry, most of whom were experienced solicitors in various areas of practice in Queensland.
With time, it grew to become a much needed networking platform for lawyers and law students. Some of the student mentees or junior lawyers are paired with experienced mentors in the group, sharing job opportunities and having meetings to debrief and empower each other.
Beyond the theme of promoting strength in diversity, the network aspires to provide regular mentoring opportunities, and to initiate and collaborate to deliver programs for its members and the wider legal community.
This event was a great start, and participants expressed their profound appreciation to the College of Law, in particular to Ann-Maree David, who facilitated this event so generously with a team led by Olamide Kowalik.
We left with a few tips from a great friend of the network – Justice Philippides who advised us to:
- take every opportunity
- promote each other
- obstacles actually make, not mar you
- free yourself from your own limitations or those imposed by others
- take full advantage of your networks
- above all – BE KIND – to yourself and to others.
Chi Mary Kalu is a lawyer, author and QALN member.