Yellow Brick Road Seminar March 10th

PHAIWA hosted its second Yellow Brick Road event in March 2015. These unique events recognise middle of the “Yellow Brick” road professionals including those who are no longer considered ‘emerging’ but have not yet reached, but aspire to reach ‘wizard’ status. Two professionals are provided the opportunity to talk about how they progressed their careers and how advocacy has assisted them on their journey. The Yellow Brick theme was selected to demonstrate that a leader’s success is dependent upon a belief in oneself, having a goal for a better future, wisdom, emotional intelligence, and a willingness to take action. These are all linked to the Wizard of Oz character traits – the lion with no heart, the shivering junkyard tin man or the scarecrow with no brain. The seminar series illustrates how individuals have combined these capabilities to successfully navigate a road which may be filled with difficulties and obstacles or could have been bright and shiny.

The two speakers at the 2015 event were Gemma Crawford and Josh Wilson.

Gemma is Course Coordinator for postgraduate health promotion, Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Research Fellow with the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health at Curtin University and is the President of the Australian Health Promotion Association. She is also completing her PhD.

Josh Wilson is the Deputy Mayor of the City of Fremantle and the Chief of Staff to the Federal Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke.  He has previously worked as a freelance travel writer and photojournalist, and as an Associate Lecturer teaching English Literature, Cultural Studies, Creative & Professional Writing.

Both speakers were engaging, witty and told of the many lessons learned throughout their careers. These events are stimulating and I encourage professionals of all ages to come to the next Yellow Brick Road event – because you can always learn something new, especially from the up and coming future leaders!

Some of the tweets from the event are featured below.

tweet1gem tweettweet3

Yellow Brick Road Seminar April 3rd

PHAIWA introduced the Yellow Brick Road series on Thursday 3rd April 2014. This series highlights and showcases mid-career professionals, many of whom work tirelessly with little recognition. The aim of the series is to make people aware of the many possible pathways you can take as you progress a career in public health. PHAIWA believes this is advocacy on our part, by providing inspiration, motivation and encouragement for professionals to set and meet goals strive for the best they can be.

Mel dorothy

Our very own Dorothy (complete with ruby red shoes)

All presenters yellow brick

Dorothy, Jo Malcolm, Dave Pigram

So why the Yellow Brick Road?

As you know the YBR is a central theme in The Wizard of Oz – which was written in 1900 and first screened in 1939. According to film historians, the Yellow Brick Road is very bright, very broad, but not straight. It curves and wanders over hills and mountains.  It’s polished and smooth except in a few places where bricks have broken or are missing, and in other cases the Yellow Brick Road weaves through dark and abandoned forests in Oz leaving potholes, dead ends and cliff edges.

There are many theories about what the movie actually symbolises. There is the cowardly lion, who has been reported to represent a politician and Presidential candidate at the time of writing. The Tin Man with no heart, is said to represented industrial workers. The Scarecrow who had no brain is reported to represent farmers and agricultural workers suggesting they were” ignorant of many city things but honest and able to understand things with a little education”. There is the Wizard who tricked the citizens into believing he was all powerful, and the beloved Dorothy, who made a guest appearance at the event, who is reported to represent every man and woman.

However, after much surfing, we discovered that most writers, critics and bloggers think that the movie’s key message is about discovering how to have faith in yourself and your ability to handle life’s complexities.  As the movie shows, from time to time as you follow the Yellow Brick Road, you just may get lost in the woods and it is the capabilities offered by the three central characters – the Scarecrow (wisdom), the Tin Man (sentiment) and the Cowardly Lion (bravery) – that will allow you to change direction through the knowledge gained in the process.

The two speakers featured at the inaugural Yellow Brick Road event were Dave Pigram and Jo Malcolm. Dave has worked in the Kimberley for many years but recently moved to Perth to take a position with the South Metropolitan Public Health Unit. Dave talked about his journey from being an electrician within a hospital setting to now being a well-recognised Aboriginal Health professional. The audience was in for a treat, as Dave finished up his talk with a song he wrote about leading with spirit (Dave is a member of the famous Pigram Brothers band).

Jo currently works at WaterCorp in the area of health and wellbeing. She spoke of her journey from working in the fitness world, then onto the local government sector in the area of physical activity and then on to working as a FIFO. She candidly spoke of how she has grown familiar with advocacy and how it has helped her to influence people around her.

It was a great event, with excellent evaluation results – so stay tuned for the next Yellow Brick Road event and we hope to see you there.

David Yellow Brick

Dave Pigram, South Metro Public Health Unit

Jo Yellow Brick

Jo Malcolm, Water Corporation


Yellow Brick Rd April 2014 flyer