We caught up with two successful South Australian women about the role their Seymour College education played in shaping the women they have become and the important work they do.
The health of South Australia is in the very capable hands of Seymour College Old Collegian Dr Emily Kirkpatrick, who is working tirelessly in her role as Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer. Emily says that success “comes from the environment in which you are undertaking your education. I was in an extremely supportive environment at Seymour.”
Charged with the rebuild of Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, another successful Seymour College Old Collegian, Edwina Bennett, is shaping South Australia’s skyline as Associate Principal at architect firm Woods Bagot. “The values that I have carried through from my formative years into my work really started at Seymour. I certainly look back at the framework of the school and I see how, even subconsciously, I’ve applied that throughout my career.”
Emily and Edwina have now both also entrusted Seymour College with the education of their daughters. It’s this sense of connection that was instantly evident when we sat down with the two women.
“I always appreciated how privileged we were to be educated at Seymour,” Edwina explains, “but also not forgetting that you would leave the school one day and go out into the community, and you would be serving that community. Again this is something that was ingrained in their schooling – the college’s motto ‘Crescam Ministrando’ literally means ‘I grow by serving’ and it is at the very heart of everything at Seymour.”
Likewise, Emily has relied on her passion for her community to keep her going during the current pandemic. “It’s a matter of having to go back to your morals and asking yourself, why am I doing this every day? Why am I getting up? You remind yourself it’s because you want to make a difference,” she says, “I want to give the community the best possible chance against the pandemic.”
Despite their passion to help the community, their journeys haven’t always been easy. Architecture and medicine are both male dominated industries and when Edwina and Emily entered the workforce they were, on occasions, the only women in the room.
“It’s been quite a journey going from a young architect and the only female on site to leading major projects,” Edwina explains, “You need to have your voice heard because your decisions are important, and your knowledge is important as well.”
“Being a younger female, working within the different government roles I’ve been in has been quite a challenge,” Emily adds, “but I also know that my foundation from my school years has allowed me to have the confidence to present my ideas and to be able to pursue what I truly believe in.”
“I know firsthand that it’s incredibly challenging to wake up every day and have the drive to be able to voice your opinion as a female in many areas of medicine,” Emily says. “We are very fortunate now that there are so many women in medicine and other careers with strong voices.”
An education at Seymour assists girls in finding and following their passions, realising their potential, having their voices heard and preparing them for life beyond school.
To find out more about Seymour College, please contact Seymour College on 08 8303 9000.