Inspiring Woman Highlight - Lizzie Kuoth

As we build towards celebrating International Women's Day, we are shining a light on some of the amazing women who are associated with WorldCC Foundation, such as Lizzie Kuoth, from Melbourne, who is a Leader and Adviser, on topics such as Refugee Experience, Inclusion, Community and Youth Engagement. Check out our interview with her, that features in our Book of Inspiring Women, 2022.

WorldCC: Describe your professional background and story.

Lizzie: I have been involved in the community sector for over ten years and I offer invaluable insight into bridging the gap between good business and resilient communities. In the last four years alone, as a Community Member of the Inner Southeast Metropolitan Partnership, I was involved in engaging the wider community and multicultural organizations to identify important social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities to be put forward as advice to the Victorian State Government. I played an integral role in ensuring young people’s voices were heard and have facilitated opportunities for their perspectives to be captured across all Metropolitan Partnerships.

I have been working as Inclusion and Capability Officer at the Level Crossings Removal project (LXRP) for the past three years. During this time, I have been providing incredible value to the sector by coordinating and delivering an inclusion capability program with industry and community peak partners, including providing them with resource guides, recommendations for training providers, delivering events and awareness-raising activities and materials. I also coordinated the Women in Transport (WiT) mentoring program. These are typically projects lasting anywhere from weeks to six months. I am proud that the mentoring program grew in numbers and attracted participants from across transport and rail, both private businesses and government and with a high engagement rate.

Prior to working at LXRP, I worked with the City of Greater Dandenong council on a casual basis facilitating community engagement activities for young people and their families. In addition to this, I worked at St Francis Xavier Collage, delivering, and implementing programs and events to build cultural awareness and drive social cohesion with families and the school. I have an Advanced Diploma of Justice and I am currently completing a Bachelor of Business and Economics part-time. I hold various professional certifications including the Women’s Board Leadership Program, Prevention of Violence Against Women in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities, and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

WorldCC: Tell us about two personal achievements and contributions through your career.

Lizzie: I have been a dedicated youth leader and human rights activist since 2008 and support diversity and inclusion by representing the voices of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Victoria as a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner. My passion for community service has been inspired by my own lived experiences in Australia and internationally, experiences which give me a great empathy for those who have fought to overcome hardship in their life.

For many culturally and linguistically diverse communities, the lack of access to resources and power has great impact on their livelihood and keeps them marginalised. I remember back in 2008, as a founding member of a youth advisory group at Noble Park, focusing on addressing substance abuse and homelessness impacting young people from African backgrounds, we learned how challenging it was for those young people to receive help. We were able to provide safe spaces for them, such as inviting them over for a barbecue, introducing them to staff members, as well as advocating on their behalf to service providers and to local councils to do more. It was great to see some of them choosing to come to the community centre to access the support they needed to improve their lives, but it all started with them feeling welcomed and that there was genuine concern for their wellbeing.

My passion is helping other refugees overcome enormous challenges to build a great life in Australia and contribute to communities. As a public speaker, working with the Refugee Council of Australia, I share my own refugee story of fleeing war-torn South Sudan with my grandma and three young brothers, only to be stuck in Egypt for four years before arriving in Melbourne in 2005.

I also support diversity and inclusion through my work in the transport sector and working as Student Ambassador for Swinburne University encouraging people from refugee backgrounds to pursue higher education.

WorldCC: The pandemic has illustrated the inequalities that continue to exist for women and the critical importance of helping women to realize their professional aspirations – what role have you played or are you currently playing within your organization or beyond to support women in their roles?

Lizzie: I have had the privilege of coordinating the WiT mentoring program, which facilitates growth and knowledge-transfer and drives the increased capability of women in transport. It helps women set and progress their professional goals, strengthen their industry connections and support life-long learning. The program is part of the State Government’s WiT initiative; a $6 million package of initiatives and business improvements led by Victoria’s Department of Transport. I also mentor young African students at Monash University, where one of my mentees’, Aisha Hassan was recently selected to join the Anti-Racism Taskforce, a Victorian government initiative to drive social change.

Find out more about WorldCC Foundation's incredible cohort of Inspiring Women in our 2023 Book.

About the author

Kate Hodgins

Kate is an accomplished marketing and communications professional with over 10 years of experience attracting, engaging, and converting audiences. She is a natural communicator skilled in building brand awareness and generating leads through content creation and digital marketing campaigns. As Head of Marketing at WorldCC, Kate leads integrated strategies to engage the association's global community of contracting professionals. Her passion lies in understanding stakeholders and nurturing meaningful relationships that drive business success. With her extensive background in audience growth and digital marketing, Kate delivers innovative solutions to elevate brand visibility and performance.