Inspirational Lessons from Women Innovators Network Australia

October 23, 2017

For the first time ever, Bluewolf, an IBM Company, hosted a Women Innovators Network reception in Australia. With the theme of the evening, Authentic Leadership, Aniqa Tariq, Bluewolf Managing Director was joined by Kath Shelper, an Australian Cannes Film Festival award-winning film producer, who shared the personal story of her professional journey. As Kath explained, in addition to natural-born leaders, there are also those who grow into their own leadership identity through their experiences. To be an authentic leader means being no one but yourself all along the way. Here are the key lessons learned from the evening:

“Authentic leadership for me means working from my heart as well as my head. Much of my work is about being in-tune with my instinct, with my gut, and that work is not possible unless you are being authentic.” Kath Shelper, film producer

Leader isn't a title or role

Nicole McInnes, Managing Director at eHarmony Australia began her career thinking leadership came with the seniority of her job description. A title doesn’t automatically make you a leader. It’s critical to define your values and be open to personal growth.

“Self-awareness is one of the most important traits we can foster to be truly authentic and realise your massive potential.”

Leadership isn't perfect

Dr Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Standards Australia and Chair of MTPConnect has seen women allow perfectionism get in the way of their pursuit to leadership success. As a skill, leadership needs to adapt to change and can benefit from making mistakes that offer a lesson. Effective leaders embrace opportunities to learn from others by asking questions. For many, leadership comes with a constant pressure to be perfect. The fact is, leaders don’t have all the answers.

Leaders have lives too

For Kathy Chi, Senior Director, Legal at Salesforce, there was a time in her career when she didn’t go under anesthesia at a dental appointment because she needed to attend a client meeting. Successful leadership requires a balance between taking care of both personal needs and professional duties. So Chi changed, she started to block time in her calendar to go to a spin class, or have a drink with a friend.

“I treated it like a meeting if you call me at 4:55 I wouldn’t be available as my spin class starts at 5. If you wanted to talk to me I’d be available again after 6.”

Aniqa Tariq concluded the evening by sharing her advice for her 20-year-old self:

“ Trust yourself, believe in yourself and be brave.”

If you’re attending Dreamforce, save your seat to attend the next Women Innovators Network reception, You Can’t Be What You Can’t See, with keynote speaker Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.

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