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Are you a leader? Who is your role model? And what is your plan?

Last week I spent the better part of two days with Christine Nixon at a course called Women Achieving and Flourishing put on by Our Community in Melbourne.  If you get the chance to attend one of these programs in the future (register at OurCommunity if you’d like to be informed), I can highly recommend it. 

My goal in attending this program was to take some time to focus on what kind of leader I want to be in 2012, and it was a fruitful and humbling experience: fruitful because it was the first time since I-don’t-know-when that I’ve sat and just thought about my own career and personal development; and humbling just to be in the presence of such a capable and experienced leader.  Here is a woman who’s devoted her life’s work to serving the community; who overcame serious cultural deficiencies in the Victorian Police to completely overhaul law enforcement across the State; and who still is prepared to give more of herself to see other women shine in their own endeavors.  Humbling indeed.

But while it’s ok to be humbled by the leaders we see around us, that’s no excuse for not stepping up.  We are all leaders in our chosen field – whether we’ve led an entire Police Force or a department or even a local community group – it’s the mindset of leadership that gives us the job title.

One of the interesting things that Christine asked us all to do was to nominate a woman leader we regarded as a role model.  There were almost 100 women in the room and almost as many nominations – from Julia Gillard to Quentin Bryce, Hilary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher, and from Christine Nixon to Carol Schwartz.  We discussed all their varying qualities and contributions ranging from grace to warmth, but most of all courage, and developed our own profile of what leadership attributes we most admired. 

I think this is such a valuable exercise.  It’s just so important to take the time to consider the kind of leader you want to be:

  • Will you lead a large team or a small but complex one… like your family perhaps…   🙂
  • How would you have others describe your leadership style?
  • What will success look like for you?
  • How will you get to your end goal?
  • Who will support your success – through providing solutions, lending support, opening doors or celebrating the wins with you?

Your thoughts?


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2 weeks ago

Jen Dalitz

What are the lessons you’re teaching your kids? We took the opportunity of a holiday long weekend to visit my mum interstate as the timing of the trip coincided with my son’s favourite AFL team battling it out against my mum’s beloved team. Perhaps only those of you with the love for AFL will appreciate why we’d plan a long distance trip around a game of footy, but suffice to say it was a passion project! With every ounce of anticipation, the game was a tough, tight duel and could easily have gone either way. Yet when the final siren sounded, it wasn’t our team that was smiling. It sure is tough for a 10 year old boy to sit within a crowd 41,000+ people all cheering for the opposite side. It was tough for him to see the exhaustion and disappointment on the faces of the players he adores. And yet, it’s so important for him to learn that his team won’t always win. There’s so many lessons in that, but the one I chose to instil is that you won’t always back the team that wins but you’ll always back the team that you love. That’s why I asked him to wear his team colours home the next day, and show his support even when the chips are down. That’s the kind of commitment I want my son to learn and the kind of team player I want him to be. PS. #gotheGiants @GWSGiants #neversurrender ... See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Jen Dalitz

I haven’t been here in a while as the writing has been on hold. But I was reminded today that there are things in our life that light us up. That might take us out of our comfort zone but, once you sit with it, bring you both joy and a sense of “I can do this” achievement. These moments are such a gift. So I’m curious, what’s your special thing that lights you up?

Despite (or in spit of) my professional career, these moments for me normally involve my horses. I’ll never be an equestrian Olympian, but I take great pleasure in all the lessons my horses teach me. They remind me that it’s a team effort, we’re in it together, and that if I’m prepared to give a little bit more, they will too. That’s true whether we’re on the ground taking care of their feet, or grooming, or when I’m atop riding as one. Two hearts one team.
It’s hard to describe the adrenaline and joy they bring to my life. But I’d love to know, what lights you up??
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And so, maybe time does change some things. Or women do.

Skavlan Talkshow
– They let me go at 42 because they told me I was too old to represent women's dreams. #kvinnedagen

Watch our talk show interview with Isabella Rossellini here:
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