Women, Leadership and Change Management

Learning never stops. Leaders aren’t born. They grow. Three little pearls of wisdom for today.

I am undertaking an MBA elective in Leadership and Change Management via the University of South Australia, a uni I have loved being affiliated with since I started my Master of Arts and Cultural Management degree in 2007. Where does time go? It was my last year in Saudi Arabia. I’ve been taking courses and applying them to various career interests ever since. It’s not what you learn. It’s what you do with it.

My current ‘callings’ take me down the path of organisational change, something I am interested in as I look at the lack of innovation in some organisations in the UK (sadly, within secondary education) and ponder the question of what to do about it.

This is in stark contrast to that within other organisations which, thankfully, throw out ‘rays of sunshine’ in and among the very dark ‘clouds’. The BBC, which is based in the city where I live, or the ‘attached’ city, Salford and Salford’s Media City, ten minutes from my home in Manchester comes to mind as a creative, inspired, inspiring and innovative organisation, despite its criticisms. After that, I’m stumped.

But then I volunteer with the Samaritans in suicide prevention, and am about to embark on a leadership role with the charity, or am dipping my foot in the waters (while paddling like a mad-crazy-busy woman-while-aiming-to-still-sustain-a-contemplative-life as I complete my post-graduate studies…so easy goes…eas-y goes-s-s). The Samaritans is certainly an organisation engaged in innovation, though I am not at liberty to disclose much about it – hey, volunteer! It will become evident how this organisation is reaching out to depressed people beyond the traditional avenues it has thus far effectively traversed. I love and am proud to serve the Samaritans in the UK.

These experiences have raised the quesiton for me: what is this business of change that I speak of, and how do you manage it organisationally? Stay tuned. I’ll share with you what I learn, as I go.

Call it a refinement of my passions. Oprah Winfrey sums it up like this: “Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.”

You see, as a Canadian who has travelled internationally across 24 borders and back, working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UK and obviously my home country pre-1996 (when I left), I have discovered after (1) working in a school founded and managed by a Middle Eastern military hospital – part of the ‘Ministry of Defence’ – and (2) later accepting a position running a leadership and service learning program at a school nestled within the highly esteemed ‘think tank’, the Qatar Foundation, rising fast from the flat sands of that nation’s corner of the Arabian Gulf, my fascination with global organisations – large, complex, multi-faceted – has only grown.

My time at the Qatar Foundation, but also my various encounters with international conferences like Midem, where I signed a record deal with the one company in India that owns the majority of sugar plantations and also produces all the auto-rickshaws of the region, Bajaj…these have shaped my view of the accessibility of remarkable programs for global change. That is to say: change not just at the level of ‘improvement’ but at the level of ‘innovation’.

Watch this space, for I’m going ‘travelling’. Only this time it is a journey of ideas that, I’m sure, will cross time and space.

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