News & Insights

Supporting Women’s Paths to Leadership

Kristalee Horoto (Left) and Nicki Kerkemeyer (Right)

Cardno has been managing the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) on behalf of the Australian Government since 2017; an initiative promoting a future generation of women developmental leaders in PNG and the Pacific.

The initiative supports emerging women leaders from the region and exposes them to new ideas, providing coaching, and connecting them with influential women leaders in Australia who mentor them to develop leadership skills.

WLI helps participants to build coalitions and networks to support and sustain their exercise of leadership for positive development change.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, the Women’s Leadership Initiative would like to introduce one of its newest mentee / mentor pairs, Kristalee and Nicki.

Kristalee Horoto is an Australia Awards scholar from the Solomon Islands, completing her Master of Nursing (Acute Care) at Flinders University in Adelaide. A participant in the Women’s Leadership Initiative’s 2020 Leadership and Mentoring program, Kristalee has been matched with Australian mentor, Nicki Kerkemeyer, an Adelaide-based Associate Nurse Unit Manager & Perioperative Educator at Flinders Medical Centre and Noarlunga Hospital.

Kristalee and Nicki met for the first-time last week and immediately hit it off. Despite their different backgrounds, they quickly discovered many shared interests – not only through their professional experiences as nurses, but through their love of making handmade gifts for their friends and families.

Kristalee hopes to develop her clinical leadership skills to improve emergency medical care standards, and advocate for greater resourcing for emergency medical services in Solomon Islands. She knows this is no easy feat, and that getting support for these changes (especially as a woman) will be difficult. However, with the support of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and her mentor Nicki, Kristalee is more than ready to take on this challenge.

"Strong leadership is critical for the development of my country," explained Kristalee. "And I have a responsibility to bring about positive change and improved patient outcomes throughout the Solomon Islands."

Nicki sees the mentoring partnership as important both at a personal level, and in building links between Australia and the Pacific. Her background in perioperative nursing and nurse education will bring skills, guidance and support to Kristalee both while she is in Australia and back in the Solomon Islands.

Nicki is excited at the prospect of working with Kristalee. ‘I look forward to supporting her in achieving her goals over the next 18 months. I suspect given how easily the conversation flowed between us that we will enjoy a lifelong networking connection!’

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