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International Women’s Day

Belinda Francis – NSW

For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the stories of women in Scouting and the contribution they make to our movement. Belinda Francis is one.



Deputy Chief Commissioner (Growth, Strategies and Group Support)


Director (Media and Promotions) AJ2013, Assistant Region Commissioner (Scouts), Assistant Scout Leader, Journalist and Photographer AJ2010, Group Leader

What Brought You Into Scouting?

My two sons who were encouraged to attend an ‘open night’ at our local Scout Group. My brother had been a Cub Scout in the 1970s and I had been a Brownie but I had no involvement with the movement between about 1977 and 2007.

What Keeps You In Scouting?

Knowing that I am part of an awesome movement that makes a real difference to young people – their perception of themselves, their development of confidence and capability, their identification of their place in the world. Also, Scouts offers me friendships with people like me, along with the ability to grow and stretch my personal capabilities.

What’s the best thing you’ve done in Scouting?

Two things stand out.

  1. The three-year assignment as the Director (Media and Promotions) for the Australian Jamboree 2013. The first two years were marketing the Jamboree opportunity to youth members, their families and their leader. Then there was attendance at the Jamboree – managing a team of journalists and photographers who used social media and our daily NSW newspaper to create memories for youth members and leaders to take home with them and keep after the event. Then there was the wrap up and being able to stand back and feel so very proud of the work I led.
  2. Leading the development and writing of the Scouts NSW Strategic Plan 2019-2022. This was much more than a refresh of past plans. This was a total rewrite that allowed us to look at reimagining our brightest future. This stretched me beyond anything I could have imagined in my professional career. Another very proud moment.

Would you recommend Scouting to other women and why?

Yes, yes and yes. I say to my children that no-one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. In Scouting you can find something you love to do and that you are good at that is outside your everyday life. It might be an outdoor activity, photography and promotions, mentoring and supporting others, or being an advocate for our youth members. There is nothing better than devoting time to making the world a better place through the young people in Scouts.

What do you think is the most important thing that women can bring to Scouting?

Looking at things from an instinctively protective and community mindset which is, I believe, a very female perspective. Also, an understanding and patience that encourages young people to develop their confidence knowing that there is a ‘mother figure’ there to support their efforts.

What do you do in life outside of Scouting?

I am an Organisational Engagement Manager in Operations at the University of Sydney. My background is in marketing, communications and change and I enjoy working on cultural change in organisations. I love to camp anywhere and often. I’m from Murwillumbah so I love the country. And enjoy handcrafts such as crochet and knitting.

Who is your female ‘hero’?

My female heroes range from Baroness Margaret Thatcher to Dame Judy Dench to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to a few less well known but so very special to me.

Do you have any other ‘heroes’?

Unabelle Howell and Rita Little. Who are Unabelle and Rita? My mother and my mother-in-law. Both truly amazing women who have influenced so much of who I am today. One of these women is still with me. The other passed away in February and I will miss her every day.

Do you have a personal philosophy that motivates you?

I have a few:

  1. Be the difference that makes the difference.
  2. Be unto others as though you were the others.
  3. If you don’t love it, leave it.
  4. Learn to love the silence of being alone with your own thoughts because it is then that you find the power to be the best woman you can be.