"Whoever you are and whatever your story is, your voice matters"
Alyce Schotte, the Senior Relationship Manager at ACON Pride in Diversity, is a formidable champion for change in the Western Australian community, especially for those of a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity.
A woman with a transgender experience, Alyce’s pursuit to find her authentic self was a journey that began in her childhood in the regional town of Katanning, and one that continued into adulthood for many years.
“Growing up in a country town in the 80’s, I knew I was different, but aside from the feeling, I had no exposure to any language or knowledge surrounding what it meant to have gender diversity in my identity. I followed a path well-travelled and endured the emotional toll to the precipice of my resilience threshold.”
Finding and connecting to the transgender community for Alyce was characterised by bravery, disguised in undeniable nerves coupled with sheer relief for the existence of others who she could relate to; beacons of experience and hope. She listened, she learnt and she overcame her own self biases.
Now a renowned advocate for change and leader in our State, who radiates confidence and vulnerability, Alyce shares her ‘why’:
“My journey so far has taught me that whoever you are and whatever your story is, your voice matters. My purpose is to tell my story to continue the conversation for my community, to educate society for the safety of all Trans and Gender Diverse individuals, and to hold space for those who have been diminished and unheard or yet to find their own path. This work is a commitment stretching beyond my lifetime and for years to come.”
In her role at ACON Pride in Diversity, Alyce speaks to thousands of people each year, presenting to organisations from every sector of the State. Alyce is passionate that complete workplace inclusion should be a priority of every leader, and she facilitates powerful sessions that improve the work lives of Trans and Gender Diverse people, along with advocating for all those who may feel marginalised or suffering from unconscious biases.
While her role gives her the opportunity to passionately share what she does, it has not been without its challenges. From embracing her skillset shortcomings and admitting what she doesn’t know, to actively looking to expand on her experience and knowledge, Alyce also shoulders the responsibility of expectation that comes with having an established profile; needing to find ways to emotionally protect herself while simultaneously sharing her truth.
“Giving back is hugely important to my fulfilment. I have a long-standing connection to TransFolk of WA in previous roles of Treasurer and Chair, seeking to connect important initiatives from WA to a national platform. In order to continue paying it forward, I wanted to develop my leadership skills and capacity for my community.”
In 2022, Alyce embarked on the Leadership WA Signature Leadership Program, supported with a scholarship.
“The Signature Program was a complete leap for me. I stepped out of my comfort zone to join 36 impressive leaders and it was a challenge, but I embraced the experience. I learned about a plethora of issues at play in WA, including indigenous health, homelessness and family violence, to name but a few. The Program gave me the opportunity to meet leaders who are actively working towards impactful change.
My strategic abilities developed, I saw opportunities morph into actionable outcomes, and I wholeheartedly implemented the practice of reflection.
At each experience I read the room, and quickly realised I was surrounded by a group of peers who wanted to have open and honest conversations with me. My community relies on the power of allies, and I definitely found additional voices in the choir through the Signature Leadership Program.
Connection was my most powerful takeaway from the Program.”
The support of that connectedness led to a stronger level of self-confidence, empowering Alyce to again push beyond her comfort zone. In accepting an invitation to be part of the guest speaker panel for the 2022 Pride Day Luncheon held at Crown Perth, she agreed to speak openly and honestly to the 700-plus people in the room. A speaking engagement that once would have left her in fear, she embraced as an opportunity to educate and engage.
While her experience may be difficult to capture in just a few words; experience, safety and confidence are Alyce’s words to describe it. For her, they encapsulate her courageous journey to becoming her authentic self and her journey beyond, championing inclusion and equality for others.
Her advice to leaders looking to grow or take a journey outside of their comfort zone is two-fold: firstly, that being confident in who you are will empower what you can do, and secondly, take control of your future and plan your opportunities for change.