Five leaders I love – and why

What makes a good #leader? Think about it. Does anyone in particular spring to mind? Like most people, I have observed excellent #leadership – and let’s just say the exact opposite is true, too. These experiences have helped define what I value in leadersand leadership. For the purpose of discussion, here are five leaders I love – and why:

1. Rosie Batty

Family violence campaigner | Australian of the Year 2015

Rosie Batty keeps it real and tells it like it is. In her saddest moment, she put the spotlight on the scourge of family violence in Australia (shame on us for it taking this moment to sit up and finally listen). Her strength, humility and fighting spirit has changed the way we think about this important issue, and is influencing how we address it. She is incredible.

2. Julia Gillard

Former Prime Minister of Australia

That speech! Both powerful and poignant, Julia Gillard’s epic 2012 speech reverberated around the globe – and with me. She set an example by doing and saying what she thought was right. I also admire her contribution to the world stage, particularly girls’ education. Plus, her courage and fortitude following the death of her father. I can relate.

3. Arianna Huffington

Founder, The Huffington Post | Founder and CEO, Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington is bringing the empirical evidence on health and wellbeing to the context of work. What I love about this is that she is helping to revolutionise paradigms about high-performance and productivity. In other words, she is redefining what success looks like. Thank goodness! As a leader, I like how she wears her heart on her sleeve.

4. Nelson Mandela

President of South Africa (1994-1999) | Human Rights Champion | Nobel Peace Prize recipient


5. Barack Obama

President of the USA

There have been so many standout moments from Barack Obama’s presidency. I am drawn to him as a leader for three reasons – passion. oration. change.  I agree with this, as published in New York Magazine: “He was most effective as a ‘normal’ president, and he helped put the presidency back on a human scale …” Good leadership is ultimately about people.

I have really struggled to limit my list to just five.

I would like to give two people a special mention. The first is Malala Yousafzai – children and women’s rights activist. She really highlights that sometimes leadership is about the power of one. Finally, there are unsung leaders in all our lives. They are the leaders who never receive recognition, and never seek it. For me, this person is my mum.

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