We are WELA: Monica Richter

Interview with Monica Richter

Senior Manager for the Low Carbon Futures program at World WIldlife Fund (WWF) Australia

Monica Richter currently works as Senior Manager for the Low Carbon Futures program at World WIldlife Fund (WWF) Australia. Here, she is part of a team driving positive change in corporate behaviour around climate and energy. 

Monica has spent over 20 years working for environmental NGOs globally and has been a mentor for many women in the sector who have gained advice and insights from her. 

When she found WELA, Monica had reached a point in her career where she was looking to see how she could move forward to make the biggest impact. We were so grateful to have her join the 2022 cohort of the National Leadership Program and to take some time to ask her a few questions.

Monica reflects on her WELA experience…

It has been a very rich and rewarding experience for me both personally and professionally. I really have found the workshops where I’ve had a chance to reflect on a whole range of different areas, including the intersectionality of issues around environment and climate, gender, Indigenous, diversity, LGBTQI really valuable to me. 

It’s also a fabulous opportunity to speak with Indigenous leaders across the country and get some personal reflections on how to decolonise our workplace, decolonise our mind, thinking about the Uluru Statement of the Heart and what that means for us in Australia going forward.

What learnings and tools have you taken from WELA?

Being on a leadership course one has to be prepared to be uncomfortable and to step out of one’s comfort zone, and I certainly feel as if I have done that. 

I have looked deep inside myself and found the areas of discomfort and challenge, particularly in the area of wanting to acknowledge the work that I do and be acknowledged for it. I want to really celebrate my successes, and I think the course has really given me a chance to really feel my potential as a true leader in the environment movement, and to own the successes I have had. 

Being able to fully acknowledge, be present and really articulate what I have been able to achieve this year has allowed me to ask for what I want. I am really clear about that now, and I am really excited to be thinking about the next stage of my career. WELA has been a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the legacy I can leave in my career. 

What successes have you had since the WELA program?

The specific success has been for me has been twofold, firstly finding a fantastic mentor has been just outstanding. I really thank WELA for providing me with a great mentor who I can turn to and really engage and bring my full self, not just the rational part of me, but also really acknowledge the deeply spiritual side. Bringing my full self has been really important in the work that I do. Secondly, I have grown into speaking up and speaking out and really standing in my area, and I have really enjoyed coming to that place as well.

Since this interview, Monica has also been asked to be the Chair of the External Advisory Board for the Urban Transformations Research Centre for Western Sydney University – congratulations, Monica!

Why is WELA different from other leadership courses you have done?

WELA is a different way of thinking about leadership and success to what a traditional model would be. WELA is creating a really safe space for women to share the stories of themselves and their journey as people, coming to be where they are at the time of their personal and professional careers. This makes for a very rich, rewarding, deep but fun – really fun – and engaging program. 

If you’re thinking of doing the WELA program, be prepared to meet a whole bunch of absolutely fabulous women from right around Australia, all different cultures, backgrounds, careers and experience. They all bring a very rich conversation and experience to the table. Do come and participate if you want to be stretched.

What successes have you had since the WELA program?

This is a decade where we need to upskill ourselves, be connected together and collaborate to achieve and address the key challenges of our time, and the program helps us by skilling us up, connecting us and really being alive to the contribution that we as women are uniquely placed to make for this particular decade and beyond.

The 2023 WELA National Leadership Program is now open for applications.

The program is transformational for women who want to accelerate positive change for our environment and climate.

WELA’s National Leadership Program has successfully supported the leadership, career development and influence of over 135 women and gender diverse changemakers since 2016. 

Want to know more?

Come along to our online information session. Monday, 13 February 2023, 8-9pm AEDT. Register now.

Check out all the information on our program page including retreat dates, program fees and scholarship information, testimonials from previous participants, and the application form.