Taking the opportunity to reframe and add to the CALD Women & Leadership panel discussion on at the FECCA 2013, SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said that ‘roles’ and ‘positions’ while important dimensions of leadership, the focus of her paper was leadership as an activity involving CALD women in the community sector.
She shared the stories of three women within the SSI community who demonstrated leadership in action on a daily basis.
The leadership traits of the women described by Ms Roumeliotis ranged from quietly committed, through to publicly recognised and awarded achievements, however in their own ways, each had contributed significantly to the groups they work with and, as a result, to the wider community.
Ms Roumeliotis cited Ronald Heifetz’s Leadership Without Easy Answers, where he argues that real leadership is not about dominance and control. Real leadership is also not about persuading people to follow and buy into something they are not ready for.
At the same time, real leadership is not simply maintaining the status quo or being fixed about a way of seeing the world and its problems.
Using his perspectives on real leadership helps to reframe what leadership for CALD women is in a useful way, she said.
What came through these stories was that leadership required bravery, and that often this bravery was a result of experienced loss or pain, creating a strong motivating force.
Ms Roumeliotis added that whether it was fundraising, cooking, leading an exercise class for the elderly, or speaking publicly on behalf of their community, the three stories beautifully demonstrated women whose actions, rather than their roles and positions, set them apart as women exercising leadership.