In the latest episode of the Courage to Lead interview series, Allan Sicard sits down with Sapphire Parsons, a senior workplace lawyer at Macpherson Kelly. Sapphire’s impressive accolades include being named the Best Young Lawyer in Australia for under 35 in 2023 and winning the 2023 Lawyers Weekly Under 30 Award for Workplace Health and Safety. This interview delves into Sapphire’s journey, her experiences of leadership, and her unwavering commitment to creating safe workplaces for everyone.

Early Leadership and Founding the Bond African Students Association

Sapphire’s first true experience of leadership came during her time at Bond University on the Gold Coast. In 2011, she and her friends founded the Bond African Students Association to represent African students on campus. As the first president, Sapphire played a crucial role in establishing the organisation and advocating for the needs of African students.

Growing Up in Zimbabwe

Sapphire’s multicultural background, with roots in Zimbabwe, Greece, and Mozambique, has significantly influenced her worldview. Growing up in Zimbabwe, she experienced a blend of cultures that shaped her understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Sapphire’s Alter Egos

Sapphire shared an intriguing aspect of her personality: her alter egos. She uses different personas, such as Sophia for family, Yosef for her nerdy, bookworm side, and Sapphire for her professional self. This approach helps her navigate different aspects of her life effectively.

Advocating for Safe Workplaces

Sapphire’s commitment to creating safe workplaces, particularly for women, stems from her personal experiences and the challenges she has witnessed in her community. She emphasises the importance of courage and bravery in advocating for change.

Overcoming Personal Challenges

Sapphire credits her resilience to the support she received from friends, family, and mentors. This network played a crucial role in helping her navigate difficult situations and pursue her goals.

Career in Law and Union Advocacy

Sapphire’s career journey includes working with trade unions and advocating for workers’ rights. Her experiences in union advocacy provided her with a deep understanding of workplace issues and the power of collective action.

Practical Advice for Creating Safe Workplaces

Sapphire advises starting with a clear vision of the desired work environment and understanding the legal requirements that support it. Using the law as a tool to protect oneself and others is crucial in creating safe workplaces.


Sapphire Parsons’ journey is a testament to the power of resilience, community support, and unwavering commitment to social justice. Her experiences and insights offer valuable lessons for anyone looking to create safe and supportive workplaces. By embracing cultural diversity, building strong support networks, and leveraging legal frameworks, we can all contribute to a safer and more inclusive work environment.

Actionable Tips

  • Build Representation: Advocate for representation and inclusivity in your workplace or community.
  • Embrace Diversity: Leverage your cultural background and personal experiences to foster a more inclusive environment.
  • Develop Support Networks: Surround yourself with supportive individuals who share your values and goals.
  • Understand Legal Frameworks: Educate yourself on the legal requirements and protections related to workplace safety.
  • Be Courageous: Have the courage to advocate for change and challenge the status quo.

By following these tips and drawing inspiration from Sapphire’s journey, we can all take steps towards creating safer and more supportive workplaces for everyone.