Melbourne Business School News How the Women in Leadership Program helped Latoyah Forsyth rise from usher to board chair

How the Women in Leadership Program helped Latoyah Forsyth rise from usher to board chair

After seeing Bon Jovi, KISS and David Bowie as a child, Latoyah Forsyth knew she wanted a career in the music scene – now she's helping to lead it.

Live music is in Latoyah Forsyth's blood.

After countless late nights directing crowds to their seats as a teenager, Latoyah is now Head of Marketing and Visitor Experience at one of the city's most renowned live music venues, Melbourne Recital Centre.

"I firmly believe that I would not be in the role that I am today, had I not started as an usher back when I was 18," she says.

"It showed me all the different facets of the frontline experience. It's vital that perspective is considered at a strategic level."

As well as her work at the Centre, Latoyah now plays a key role on the boards of Music Victoria and the Emerging Writers' Festival using skills she developed on our Women in Leadership Program.

Navigating market fluctuations

Latoyah joined the Melbourne Recital Centre in an entry-level role in 2012 and following her hard work, personal and professional growth and development was appointed to the Senior Leadership Team in 2021.

Her ascent came in the wake of unprecedented disruption – a global shake-up that presented a unique set of challenges for the live event sector.

"There's nothing like a pandemic to fuel transformation," she says.

"But there's also nothing like a pandemic to make people realise that it is very comfortable living in the status quo."

Finding her people

In 2022, almost 12 months to the day after her new appointment, Latoyah walked through the doors of Melbourne Business School to participate in the Women in Leadership Program.

"The moment that I entered that room, sat down and started talking with the people next to me, I knew I was in the right place," she says.

"It came along at a really fortuitous time for me."

Taking such a big career step during a global pandemic didn't come without its personal obstacles.

"I was dealing with a lot of doubt, second guessing myself, and not feeling like I could confidently lead in a way that would bring others along with me."

Thanks to the Women in Leadership Program, Latoyah quickly discovered that she wasn't alone.

Latoyah's cohort came from a diverse range of sectors, but everyone was at a similar stage of their leadership journey, united by similar challenges.

"They were the most generous, thoughtful, impressive group of women."

Women in Leadership Program

The five-day short course is designed to support high-potential women experiencing pivotal career junctures.

Professor Jody Evans, director of the program, wanted the course to help women confidently step into roles with greater responsibility and thrive every step of the way.

"To be able to complete a course which is specifically tailored to support and empower women in leadership at a prestigious school like Melbourne Business School, was an opportunity that I couldn't refuse," says Latoyah.

"The program addresses, educates and advises on how to work within, around and break through the systems and structures as a woman in a leadership position."

Since taking part in the program, Professor Evans has continued to mentor Latoyah on her career journey.

"Jody is one of those people who sees your potential and helps you unlock it in a way that isn't forced, in a way that is genuine," Latoyah says.

"She's made me see the value that I bring. What I have to offer the world, organisations and myself."

Leader-led change

Latoyah isn't the only one benefiting from her time with Melbourne Business School.

"I fully believe in paying it forward," she says.

"And that means making sure that I am doing all that I can to share my learnings and advice with anyone and everyone that is willing and open to learn and listen."

Latoyah shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Her impact on Melbourne's cultural sector gained momentum with an appointment to Chair of the Board at the Emerging Writers' Festival in early 2023, coupled with a new role on the board of Music Victoria later that same year.

"Without a doubt, I can say that the Women in Leadership program strengthened the way in which I create impact for the organisation that I work for and how I approach leadership," Latoyah says.

To find out more about studying at Melbourne Business School, visit our Degree Programs and Short Courses pages, or learn about our range of custom services For Organisations.