What will you bring to the table?

We shape the world in which our children will live and no longer can we live in an environment where only one voice is often heard. Nor can we ignore the potential of all those around us in our local communities.

POTENTIAL: Future leaders discuss the challenges facing our communities at the Leaders Forum Leadership Ballarat & Western Region’s annual experiential learning program for emerging leaders.

POTENTIAL: Future leaders discuss the challenges facing our communities at the Leaders Forum Leadership Ballarat & Western Region’s annual experiential learning program for emerging leaders.

There is no easy answer as to how best to maximise this potential, but one thing stands out – diversity.

Diversity leads to inclusion, a novel way it seems to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. 

Did you know half of Victoria’s population was born overseas or at least has one parent who was born overseas? And a quarter of all Victorians speak a language other than English at home.

We no longer live in sheltered communities isolated from the rest of the world. Now more than ever, we need to think differently and engage with those around us.

What challenges lay ahead of us? Are we setting the right culture to tackle tomorrow’s challenges? To think ahead of the pack, we firstly need to challenge our judgements.

Too often on first impressions we make judgement,at the expense of embracing the talents of those around us. A major focus in recent times has been promoting gender equality, for example, encouraging more women to apply for key community and corporate leadership roles. This is a great step, but merely represents one avenue in enhancing greater diversity within our local communities.

So what can we further do to realise the potential within our local communities? 

We have begun the journey of introducing and encouraging diversity within those communities, but it represents only the beginning.

Take Sadiki Mukasa for example, a Multicultural Ambassador for the City of Ballarat – a true inspiration and leader. Sadiki was born in war-ravaged Congo, but he and his family were fortunate enough to be accepted into Australia 10 years ago.

However, like many refugees, Sadiki had no idea the challenges that lay ahead – leaving a war-torn country for one so foreign. Sadiki did not speak one word of English on arrival. Through adversity, he learnt; through resilience, he flourished. He moved to Ballarat in later years and has never looked back.

Sadiki is the face of the future, the face of diversity. He represents the great responsibility our local communities have in embracing, nurturing and accepting refugees.

Their potential in partnership with our ever-increasing diverse communities is endless – only if we are patient and prepared to expose their amazing skills and capabilities. What role do you play to assist in their journey?

We also need to think differently on how we engage with future generations to maximise the potential around us. Kids of today are so technologically advanced, imagine the capability of future generations. 

The more we are prepared to be vulnerable with each other, the more we are able to understand each other; the more we have in common with each other, the more equipped we are to tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

Diversity has the ability to capture the imagination of us all, we simply need to be open-minded and show leadership in capturing its potential.

We need people of all backgrounds at the table, with the enticing aromas of diversity – the taste of tomorrow.

What will you bring?

Stuart Squire, Leadership Ballarat and Western Region Leaders Forum 2017 participant.

*Leaders Forum is Leadership Ballarat & Western Region’s annual experiential learning program for emerging leaders. Applications close October 13 for Leaders Forum’s 2018 program. Visit www.lbwr.org for details