Leadership Views of Australian Women Leading in the Community

There are many definitions of leadership. Leadership literature abounds with many theories of leadership including the Great Man Theory, Trait Theory, Behavioral Theories, Situational Leadership, Transactional and Transformational Leadership. However, what do we know about the leadership perceptions held by Australian women who practice it and venture out on their own to achieve for the greater good of others?

Through the Leadership Achievement Award for Women that the Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW) launched in 2005, an understanding has been gained as to the views of leadership held by women who develop and lead grassroots community projects. Working with others and self-leadership are two themes which resounds in their application of leadership as reflected in the quotes below.

“Leadership is about guiding others, listening and making democratic decisions, sharing new ideas but discussing them with those involved before implementing.” (Hélène Gonski, winner of the 2006 CLW Leadership Achievement Award for Women, in recognition of her work to promote the role of grandparents.)

“My personal definition of leadership is that you can only truly lead by example and be a positive role model and mentor for others. You have to have the courage, determination, tenacity and humour to strive for your goals and to inspire others to follow your lead. The capacity to listen and integrate other views and experiences into my own vision means that I am continually transcending my own goals and ambitions and therefore striving to be an inclusive and respectful leader. Often this requires more time, empathy and engagement from leaders, yet the rewards pay off. Nothing is impossible if you can build the friendship and support networks needed for the job.” (Louise Bannister, Finalist of the 2006 CLW Leadership Achievement Award for Women in recognition for developing the Well and Able Fitness Program for women who use mobility aids.)

“To me, leadership equals encouragement. Although I founded the Stillbirth Foundation, I could not have done it without the Stillbirth Foundation Committee whose time, dedication and commitment have been instrumental in the success of the Stillbirth Foundation to date. To be able to encourage these women to take hold of a dream, make it a reality and keep focused on our target through encouragement is how I have lead this fabulous group of women.” (Emma Kirkwood, Winner of the 2007 CLW Leadership Achievement Award for Women in recognition of her work to establish and run the Stillbirth Foundation.)

Winners and finalists of the 2006 and 2007 Awards were recognized by CLW’s Panel of leading Australian women judges as self-appointed women leaders in the community who use their own initiative to create and implement projects for the community and in collaboration with the community.

This prestigious Award which is in its third year of running is currently open for nominations at https://aclw.org/ and will close on 22 December 2007. Details of the 2008 Award including previous winners can be found at https://aclw.org/

ANZ, Australia Post and Avril Henry Pty Ltd are Gold Sponsors of the Award with Living Now Magazine as its Silver Sponsor. Bronze Sponsors are Leadership Victoria, Sydney Leadership Centre of the Benevolent Society, Melbourne Junior Chamber of Commerce and Australian Policy Online.

Press Release October 2007

Scroll to Top