You’re invited to Be. Curious about Accessible Leadership

Be. LeadersLast month Be. Accessible held our inaugural Be. Curious event. The discussion, led by our very own Lesley Slade and Philip Patston, led to an interesting discussion about the future of leadership in New Zealand. Latifa Daud writes.

What will leadership in New Zealand look like for diverse communities in years to come?
This was one of the many questions explored at Be. Accessible’s pilot Be. Curious event by the 20 guests. This new campaign is setting out to spark provocative conversations with our nation’s thought-leaders to challenge the status quo and stimulate the advancement of a truly accessible society. Guests are encouraged to take part in a new conversation, to be open to new ideas, new perspectives and new challenges.

The monthly conversation started with Be.’s very own Lesley Slade and Philip Patston’s talk about their own respective leadership journeys. Attendees were then invited to ask questions and open discussions, exploring ideas about the leadership potential New Zealand has and how that can be unlocked.

With the rapidly evolving world we’re living in, we discussed the new ideas and possibilities that can arise with an increasingly unknown future. We gained insights from a wide range of personalities – from CEOs, to social entrepreneurs and every variety of roles in between. With this level of diversity in thought, the discussions were robust with interesting ideas being presented and respectful disagreements, giving everyone the food for thought to go home and challenge their own perceptions.

Together we explored what the future may look like for all minorities and historically marginalized communities, including the access community. We discussed the individual leadership qualities and self-reflections needed in order to create a world where all people are able to live their lives free of obstacles. In a beautifully open and honest conversation, we analyzed the abilities we all have to create this environment in whichever capacity we have.

There were also some very difficult questions being asked about the past, present and future dynamics of leadership in New Zealand. Why has progress for gender equality been so slow? What hope does this give for people from other minorities? What role does international phenomenon play for us? How much longer do we need to explain the obvious need for diversity to be the norm across all sectors of society?

But from this, there was an obvious energy in the room that there was a commitment to influence the change New Zealand needs to see to become a truly inclusive country. I could sense an exciting leadership challenge being presented to everyone in the room – one where we all have a responsibility to do what we can to create inclusive spaces in our own worlds, even if our individual capacities seem insignificant.

The discussions that came from the evening shows that together we can establish Aotearoa as a thought-leader, a visionary, and a global powerhouse in access innovation. Together, we can create a nation where everyone can thrive.