When you speak with Rose Lewis, it’s hard to believe that she ever lacked confidence.
Between studying a double degree, volunteering in the community, entering talent shows and producing digital content, she also represents 32,000 undergraduate Western Sydney University students on the WSU Board of Trustees as an elected member. She was recently named Western Sydney Women’s Outstanding Young Woman of the Year 2019, Blacktown Showgirl 2020 and Blacktown’s Young Citizen of the Year 2020.
So, hardly a wallflower.
But when Rose applied for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, she was only at the beginning of a journey of self-discovery, self-confidence and self-belief that would take her to the point she is at today.
“The confidence that SSE gave me really changed things for me,” she says. “I think people underestimate themselves, but every person is capable of making change and SSE helped me to believe that for myself.”
Rose Lewis SSE alum and WSU student
SSE puts you in a room with people who want you to succeed. They teach you that you can be innovative without becoming a lone wolf
Rose’s decision to apply to SSE was borne out of a desire to get the most out of her degree at WSU, where she’s currently studying Applied Finance and Law. Meeting the diverse cohort of students at SSE and hearing their stories emphasised the importance of having a breadth of experiences and interests.
“SSE sparked curiosity in me,” Rose says. “The diversity is just exceptional, and I got an affirmed sense of the importance of developing yourself through interests and hobbies.”
Through this range of activities, she has vastly expanded her network. But nearly three years on, she is still closely connected to her original cohort. “Genuinely, people from SSE pop in my DMs all the time,” she laughs.
The support from the group has not only helped her achieve greater heights but also emphasised the importance of a strong community and network. She says notions of entrepreneurship being about the solo founder tinkering away in the garage can miss the point. “SSE puts you in a room with people who want you to succeed. They teach you that you can be innovative without becoming a lone wolf,” she says.
The diversity in her SSE cohort also gave Rose a new perspective on what she had to offer and gave her a sense of responsibility that she brings to her role as the elected Undergraduate Member of the WSU Board of Trustees.
“You realise your value to the conversation because of who you are inherently and your unique perspective,” she says. “It gives you belief that you can be a representative of where you’re from.”
Reflecting on her time at SSE, the experience unlocked a mindset, a confidence and a set of skills that she says have been invaluable on her journey. And she’s just getting started.
“I think the future of education is interdisciplinary and international. SSE builds up the skills you need to communicate with people from a variety of audiences and to present yourself in a way that members of the community at all levels can appreciate,” she says.
“It’s a bit of a simplification but that’s what changed my life: realising that people from all different levels see value in this, and I’m part of this, so there’s value in me.”