Innovations in Leadership


I have designed a really exciting new course on How to Successfully Lead a Community Project. I am so happy to present it to you because I believe that everyone who wants to start a community project should be able to. I know that you all have brilliant ideas, it’s now just a matter of getting those ideas out there. I think one of the most important parts to being an effective leader is learning how to collaborate. For me, leading a community project doesn’t mean bossing people around. It doesn’t mean telling your team what to do. It means learning how to harness one another’s skills. It’s about identifying what’s special about each one of us and using those unique abilities to get our project off the ground.


And here’s what’s so revolutionary about my course: I believe so strongly in the power of skill sharing, and I want so badly for anyone who wants access to this course to have it, that I’m making skills sharing an option for payment. I know finances can sometimes be a barrier, but I don’t want it to be. I believe we all have something to offer, and tapping those skills is my innovative approach to leadership. Let’s start changing the world together!


If you’re interested in the course, I would love to hear a little bit about you and what it is you’re working on! If you could take the time to fill out this form with a few of your details I would really appreciate it.


A Change in Making Change

A change in making change?

Is there a shift in the way funders work? After a meeting with the wonderful Deborah Smart (obviously this name rings true) from Social Investment Business I left feeling both elated and inspired.

I met with no real expectations, more from a place of inquiry I wanted to see how and what was available for the social entrepreneurs and change makers I support. I must admit that I didn’t come from a place of optimism based on my opinion of the sector and the criteria process. But listening to Deborah’s theory and ideas around change and methodology made me realise that actually, there could be a change in making change.

Why do we need to change the way we support those making change?

I have been fighting with the funding industry some time. When I say fighting, what I really mean in having conversations with myself and others whom get the great opportunity to hear me rant. My objective is and has been. How and why do funders expect those whom they are giving funding to be restricted by predetermined outcomes according to their own agenda? And why does is it seem that you can only really get funding approved if you walk the walk and talk the talk that funders want to hear even if you are creating an amazing impact?  Having worked with several community groups and initiatives, creating social change is by no means easy plain sailing, logistical neither does it require sophisticated wording.

It’s like an untamed garden of beautiful flowers, the flowers you expect to grow beautifully sometimes wither and get eaten up and the ones you had no hope for suddenly blossom and decide to magnify themselves in an unassuming way. But hey its life right, but what if you were so determined to see specific flowers be the eye catchers because after all, that’s what you expected when you planted. What do you do then? Condemn the others and put all of your energy into ensuring that the ones you thought should do, spending hours fighting against what isn’t naturally and organically being created before your eyes. Or do you sit back and enjoy what you see appreciating what has become and explore the how’s and why’s things happened this way?

Far too often things in this industry feel forced based on a government agenda of what “they” believe, without the evidence or confirmation of what is really actually needed on the ground. A community cannot be boxed in to an idea. It is a living entity which moves and takes shape the way it want based on any given circumstance or situation.

Anyway enough of my simile…I get lost in these if you haven’t noticed already

What exactly is changing?

Well, this was the moment where a glimmer of hope reignited the flame within for the finance industry. Deborah explained that the industry as a whole was beginning to rethink the way things have been done, they realised that there was a disparity between their expectations and what is really needed on the ground in grass root communities. Deborah went on to describe it as “turning the titanic” understandably it’s a complete shift and take time, but for me a step in the right direction is simply a step towards what is right, and most of all the acknowledgement that something needs to change was more compelling than anything else.

My smile grew as Deborah said “I’m encouraging people to challenge funders based on the outcomes of their evaluations, and to say I know we wanted to focus on this, but out of trying we found that the need is actually here”, just like my analogy of the untamed garden.

Could funders actually start to do with rather than stipulate an outcome based on assumptions? Could there be a change in making change? I for one welcome positive change and support those trying to make change through my “outside the box” organisation BUD through training and coaching. I’m launching “How to Successfully lead a community Project” in September where students will launch is 12 weeks, so wish me luck!

End like something new has begun

The meeting with Deborah far exceeded my expectations and the level of support she offered me in my endeavour to change the world for better was just what I needed! She ended by saying I can do this! How encouraging it was to be on the receiving end of 4 of the most powerful words put together.

The Fundamentals of True Leadership


We all have different approaches to leadership. But for me, and what I want to emphasize in my own life, is that we need to lead through love and fulfillment. We want to reach out and we want to lead others, but often I have seen people confuse leadership with projecting their ideas onto their group. For me, leadership is about questioning what I need to do to allow my group to feel satisfied and fulfilled. The answer to that question, most commonly, is love.


I think that being a leader means showing my team love and respect. I think that’s truly what people want, and what will allow others to respond in the same way. It means allowing people to feel included, to feel valued, and to to help them recognise that their role truly is important.


For my organisation BUD (Businesses Under Development), I like to take a nonconventional approach to teaching leadership. For me, this means teaching people how to empower others and helping them to feel empowered. We want to encourage positive change in our communities and in the world, but that starts within our own groups. This is one reason I love Pebble Magazine. They take the approach that each pebble makes a ripple, and that’s such a powerful belief. If we encourage positivity in one another, that attitude translates to the way our organisations work and the ways in which our communities grow.


When I offer a leadership course, I don’t teach others how to lead through power. I teach people how to lead through love. For me, this means showing others how to understand what your team is feeling, how to respect them, how to make them feel valued and cared for. We don’t try and force productivity upon people, we teach people how to encourage productivity it to blossom. If this interests you, I am offering a workshop on how to successfully lead a community project on September 19th and I would love to see you there.


And I think, even beyond our own organisations and community groups, that love and respect is what’s missing in society. As changemakers, community leaders, business owners, or organisational leaders, we can begin changing society by changing the ways we treat others around us. To me, that’s true leadership.


We know that so many of you want to lead change, but don’t have the tools. I like nothing more than watching people transform themselves, their organisations, and the world. That’s what I want to dedicate my life to! And that’s why I want to give you a guide I put together on how to successfully build a community organisation. You can download that here, and if you know someone else in need of a tool kit such as this, please do pass it along. We want to see love spread as far and wide as possible, and this is a good place to start. Join me?

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The Power of Collaboration for Leaders: Unlocking Networks


The Power of Collaboration for Leaders:


As leaders, we are so often taught that leadership looks like power. We’re taught that we have to claw and fight our way to the top of the heap and then command everybody once we get there. But, from my experience working with leaders and community groups to lead positive change, I’ve learned that it’s just so much more special and so much more effective to collaborate with our peers. As individuals, we can’t possibly know everything. But as leaders, it’s tempting to pretend that we do.


Here’s the thing though: the moment we start admitting that there may be people on our teams and in our networks that have a skill we don’t is the moment we start being more effective agents of change. Groups tend to be far more successful when they admit that there may be someone on the team who does something better, just like there are things I do better. It’s all about recognizing the unique skills in our team members and acting on them.


Recently, I was at an event with Unlocking Networks  in which we looked at why some groups making social change are struggling. One of the key elements of this conversation was that to be successful change agents, to be a strong organisation, we should tap into the power that exists in simply coming together and growing together.


This is something I am personally trying to emphasize in the project I’m leading called “Lead Positive Change.” We have had several events called “how changemakers can lead positive change,” and what was key there is that we created the space to learn and grow from one another. This made me wonder when we thought it was okay to try and create alone, to really try and strive without collaboration. So with my business, BUD (Businesses Under Development), I’m really trying to change this way of thinking, trying to take a unique approach by supporting leaders of positive change through teaching a participation based approach. We want to create so much collaboration and partnership that people truly feel valued, and to encourage the idea that each individual can truly contribute something incredibly important. On a personal level, I want to work with other people and I want to share my skills with them and learn the skills that they have. We want groups not only to learn how to collaborate, but to gravitate towards collaboration. We want people to start seeing it as both appealing and natural.


I’m working on a series of workshops about how to successfully lead a community project (you can register for one here), and one of the things that worried me the most about it was that I knew not everybody could afford to take the course. Of course, it is a businesses so I can’t just offer it for free because that would make it unsustainable. I did decide though that I could have people offer their skills, their knowledge, their networks, so that they could learn and grow from me and I could learn and grow for them. I’m also offering a free course on how to Successfully Launch Your Community Project. That’s how valuable I think peer-to-peer collaboration truly is. 


What I have learned, and what I want others to learn, is the importance of understanding and respecting one another. I want individuals to gain experience outside of themselves. And I want people to see how when you put two people next to each other, you can create something that has never before existed. Collaboration is a fusion of ideas and skills and networks that turn into something new and beautiful. To me, it is one of the coolest concepts in the world and I want others to see it as well.

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