The masterclass in authentic, mission-led leadership that we have all been craving.
I thought I’d celebrate some of the women who embody the authentic leadership that it feels the world is craving right now, and it will be no surprise to see Jacinda Ardern on my list.
Whether it was the compassion with which she spoke to families after the mosque terrorist attack, the calm reassurance with which she addressed the nation during the volcano tragedy last year, or how quickly she seized the severity of the covid-19 crisis and gained the country’s trust and confidence through clear and honest communication.
But somehow her response isn’t a surprise to us, because we’ve come to associate her with values that outweigh any political or ego platform. Her stance on climate change, child poverty, gun control, becoming a mother, parenting and that fantastic shutdown of the reporter who asked about her motherhood plans just 7 hours after being elected. 🙌
This woman knows who she is, we thought.
But less well-known facts interest me too. How she turned her back on her mormon religion because of their views on the LGBT community, how she turned down the request to lead the NZ Labour Party 7 times, and how she turned opinion of a whole nation in 2 months by being what she calls ‘relentlessly positive’.
And one fact stands out above all others to me - her mentor was Helen Clark, the former NZ prime minister, who continues to cheer her from the sidelines even today. Jacinda herself has credited the importance of seeing another woman in office to opening her eyes to the possibility. The power of a positive, relatable role-model can never be overstated.
“Being a role model...is equal parts being who you actually are and what people hope you will be.” - Meryl Streep
(P.S. I once spent 3 amazing months travelling around NZ in a camper-van and they really are the most wonderful people - community oriented, humble, welcoming - do we get the leaders we deserve?)