On reflecting on the 18 years she’s worked with teenage girls in schools, Dannielle Miller says she can now see that she’s made it her life’s mission to be the person that she needed when she was a teenager.
Now she’s been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to women and youth, telling Women’s Agenda that she’s going to take this platform to step up and speak out.
As the CEO of Enlighten Education, and has worked with tweens, teens and their parents for years. Her expertise lies in building resilient young people and she regularly runs in-school programs for teenagers.
“My teen years were difficult; I was trying to process beauty ideals that I knew I could never meet (I have third degree burns) and process the violence I witnessed in our home (my father was an alcoholic and could become violent). Despite appearing confident and performing well academically at school, it was actually a time when I often felt powerless and alone,” she said.
Danni makes it her mission to ensure there is never any shame of blame in the presentations her teams deliver. Rather, they aim to give teen girls the skills they need to turn their critical gaze away from themselves and each other, and focus on deconstructing a culture that isn’t always kind nor fair to them.
“There’s such joy in the work; when I see the lights go on, and know that young women are prepared to step up, and speak out? To claim their power? To connect? It’s exhilarating,” she says.
Danni also undertakes work in the local community supporting women and children fleeing domestic violence. She’s provided corporat training for Women’s Commuity Shelters encouraging business leaders to walk the talk on relationship abuse, sexism and harassment.
A number of years ago she also created a much talked about School Toilet Project, aiming to let students reimagine what are too ofter bleak spaces.
“All these initiatives have been driven by me wanting to walk my own talk on the capacity women have to lead social change,” she says.
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