Who are our inspirational leaders?

June 27, 2018 Maria Raines

Who are our inspirational leaders?

It’s been just over a week since we experienced Sacred Leadership and listened to Tjanara Goreng Goreng’s presentation at The Art Gallery NSW. A provocative question posed by Tjanara has stayed with me: Who are the inspirational leaders in Australia?

Tjanara explained that a ‘Sacred Leader’ is one we look up to and revere, they inspire transformation, people like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. While they are human and have human flaws they are also extraordinary. It’s important we identify Sacred Leaders in our lives so we can aspire to develop the qualities they embody.

Tjanara herself recognised the Elders in her culture had these qualities and so she knew where to turn. But as I look around in my life at those recognised as leaders in the dominant Australian culture, our politicians, institutional leaders and CEOs, I struggle to feel inspired.

While I have chosen Australia as my home for over 20 years, I was born in New Zealand. And so it is that I turn to my country of origin, Aotearoa, to find inspiration. I remember the pride in knowing we were the first country in the world to grant women the vote. I remember the spine-tingling call of the Kuia (Maori Elder) as she acknowledged the living and the dead while welcoming me onto the marae. I remember Prime Minister David Lange standing up to the all-powerful Americans, denying their nuclear ships access to our ports as we declared ourselves nuclear-free. And I look now to Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, one of the youngest leaders in the world, and her husband transforming our pre-conceived ideas of gender roles and leadership.

Will my children, born and raised in Australia, look back one day and feel that same sense of connection to and pride in this country? Do you?

Who do you identify as inspirational leaders in Australia?

If you missed Sacred Leadership last week, I encourage you to check out our photo gallery and to read Lina Mbirkou’s report. These and other resources can be found on our Sacred Leadership Web Page.

And if you are interested in evolving leadership in Australia and developing, with the support of a community, your own practices we invite you to participate in our upcoming Humanising Workshop. We’ll be coming together after work on Tuesday 31 July for drinks, nibbles, authentic connection and facilitated peer learning. All are welcome.


I would love to hear your response to my question and to connect in person soon.

Aroha nui (much love)


Maria Raines

Maria Raines is the creative producer, communications and event manager, and a facilitator at Talkpoint.

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