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International Women’s Day with Dr Nikki Stamp

International Women’s Day with Dr Nikki Stamp

Cardiothoracic surgeon, author, writer, media personality and women’s champion, Dr Nikki Stamp, spoke passionately and candidly at the WIM WA’s, International Women’s Day breakfast, imploring those in attendance to embrace the power of the sisterhood.

Hosted by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the 160 strong crowd listened in awe as Nikki reflected on her aspiring 8-year-old self, who dreamt of one day becoming a surgeon.

“Despite a brief transgression during my teenage years, where I flirted with the notion of joining WAAPA, I was always going to be a surgeon. I was focused, driven, single minded, ambitious and simply ignored the naysayers – and there were plenty,” she said.
As one of only 11 female cardiothoracic surgeons in Australia, Nikki observed that a lack of female mentorship during her years of study and specialisation was challenging. She described how launching her career from a platform she built for herself gave her a determination to be an agent of change for younger women.
Being visible is so important. When women can see what another woman has made possible, they start to believe it’s possible for them too,”
We have a responsibility to hold each other up. We have to embrace the sisterhood because when we do, we’re a formidable force,
When we come together and speak up about challenging and unsupportive workplace structures, about bullying, about unfair stereotypes; when we confront adversity and speak up, we’re so much harder to silence,” she said.
Striving for maximum impact for the greatest change, Nikki is passionate about the mentorship and sponsorship of young women and says that so much can be learnt from the achievement and struggles of others.
I’m fortunate now to have a number of mentors who I’m able to dissect different takeaways from. There’s so much we can learn from each other.”
By mentoring and sponsoring aspiring females, we give them a voice where it otherwise wouldn’t be heard, and with that comes greater opportunity and influence for everyone,” said Nikki.
The saying, ‘we rise by lifting others,’ couldn’t ring truer for Nikki who continues to draw on the global community of female surgeons she connected with during the 2015 social media campaign, #ilooklikeasurgeon.
The by-product of the hashtag was that it created a community that I continue to engage with for collaboration, support and academic research.
Most importantly though, the hashtag created a worldwide stage that showcased positive and amazing role models for aspiring female surgeons and challenged stereotypes.
It’s hands down one of the best things I’ve been a part of,” she said.
Nikki made an inspiring speaker for International Women’s Day through sharing insights from her career. She also left the audience with plenty of food for thought about how we all have opportunities to be an agent of change.
“When you reach a certain point in your career, you have to lower that ladder down so others can climb more easily,” said Nikki.
Written by Emilie Jones
Photography by  Daniel Hocking

Special thanks to the Perkins Institute for hosting and supporting this event at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research: QEII Campus, Verdun Street in Nedlands.