#24 Be. Leadership April 2015 - Society, what's really going on here?

by Cath Soper

Arriving for the second session of Be. Leadership 2015 felt like reuniting with old friends. We had only known each other for three days, yet (for me) it felt like I was seeing people I had known for years.

The theme of session two was Society: What's Really Going on Here? We had two incredible speakers come and talk to us on different topics. Dr. Angela Maynard gave a talk on What lies beneath the surface and how do we find out? Angela is a sociologist and covered a number of interesting topics in her talk. She discussed the problems with capitalism, class structure, and concepts such as the deserving and undeserving poor. The major point I took away from Angela's talk was that we should critically deconstruct society and the world around us. We shouldn't just passively accept a situation because 'that's the way things are'. Sometimes 'the way things are' needs to change.

Our second speaker was Tommy Hamilton. He spoke to us about sexuality and gender. Tommy covered a lot of interesting ideas in his talk. He talked about the fluidity of gender and sexuality, and about the assumptions people often make about the two. He talked about being a leader, and having the courage to have a conversation about something that might seem difficult to talk about. I really admired Tommy's leadership style. He was right in the thick of things. He led from within the group, not in front, which is a leadership model that particularly appeals to me.

After the speakers, it was our turn to talk. Throughout the year we will all give a talk on our journey. I was one of the five that gave a ten minute talk this session. I think we were pretty nervous! For me it wasn't so much the talking, it was the fact that I had to talk about myself. Talking about personal experiences can leave you feeling vulnerable, and therefore can be intimidating, but we all did great! Everyone had their own style, and we learnt some interesting facts about each other. We heard about Rachel's epic journey to find Prince Charming. Stephen explained his journey using a giant game of snakes and ladders, and I revealed the time I spent in a cannibalistic cult (also known as Roman Catholicism). I can't wait to hear everyone else's talks over the course of the year!

Day two was also a little sad, because it was the last time Michelle would be with us before going on maternity leave. Apparently staying on and just putting the baby in a shoebox in the corner during the day isn't an option… While we were sad to see Michelle go, we were excited to welcome Hannah, who will be taking over Michelle's role.

Overall, it was an awesome session, and I can't wait to see everyone again in Wellington!