“We live in a fantastic time in history. We have the opportunity to plot the future that is unlike our past. We can leave legacy where future generations look back and see this time as a renaissance – when the foundation was laid to create a future better than many people living could imagine... A future where organisations balance robust financial rewards with creating healthier communities and societies… We have the power to make progress and to co-create the future we envision… I invite you to imagine the impact you want to see, and work towards it… But first comes courage.”
Every year, Wolter Consulting Group marks the International Women’s Day (IWD) with hosting a special event. We come together with the Women of Wolters (WOW) and our female industry peers to celebrate the important difference women make in our industry and our society. We recognise their achievements thus far and as part of the broader WOW initiative and our company’s core values, we aim to energise, empower and embolden our women to reach greater heights in their careers and their personal lives.
The 2022 IWD theme is #BreakTheBias and we know that it takes courage to fight against stereotypes and discrimination in the workplace and in our society more broadly. We had the pleasure to welcome Sonia McDonald, from LeadershipHQ. – a highly sought-after Executive Coach and Leadership Expert - to speak to us about courage and more precisely, about the courageous leadership towards a better future which we are all responsible for.
This made us think: what have we done in our lives that took courage?
“When I decided to study Surveying at University,” says Angela Dahn, “going from an all-girls high school, to a university course dominated by males, I felt the fear! But I did it anyway. And I am so glad I did because Surveying has been an extremely rewarding career for me, and I love my job.” Angela has been a part of our team for a number of years and is now a Senior Surveyor here at WCG, and one in very few female Surveyors in Queensland.
“My courage story resolves a lot around my ability to trust myself, and to believe in the benefits that change may bring, even when I feel safe and secure,” says Keana Munro, our young Planner who joined Wolters team just recently. “Balancing work and university, taking on more responsibilities and turning down one job to pursue another – all took great courage. And I am glad I did it.”
As for our women’s personal passions, Penny Spiers, our Director of Landscape Architecture shared her experience of the 31-hour Wild Side Adventure Race which she regularly participates in. “It takes a lot of training, discipline and physical and mental strength,” says Penny, “but more than anything, it’s collaborating with other team members, especially when all are exhausted and stressed, that is a challenge and a great learning experience.”
Courage to Connect
In her latest book, “First Comes Courage: Leadership Starts from Within”, Sonia touches on many important aspects of how to be a courageous leader and one that jumps out for us most is having the ‘courage to connect’ with others.
To create better futures requires collaboration between individuals, organisations and government networks, and is something that we value and continuously promote here at Wolter Consulting Group and within our broader network.
The importance of human connection ‘beyond Wi-Fi’ as Sonia puts it, is something that the recent years and extended periods of lockdowns and individuals’ isolation have reminded us.
“Today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others,” says Sonia and calls us to be brave leaders by being curious, asking questions and connecting with people.
“Connection is the answer to global turmoil” - Dalai Lama
Forming meaningful relationships and working together towards common goals pays off throughout the course of your personal and professional life.
More importantly, says Sonia, is to know that “courage starts with YOU”. We have to agree that not all people are naturally great at collaborating. It takes courage to voice your opinion and to offer feedback, it also takes courage to accept criticism and to apply your new learnings and others’ perspectives in your work.
Having achieved gender equity in our company over two years ago now, the WOW team can proudly say that it’s not just the connections with each other and other women from our industry, but our culture, and the very supportive and inclusive work environment we have here at Wolters, that allows us to have the courage - the courage to pursue our passions, professional milestones and to enjoy balance in our personal and work life. Both our men and our women play a very important role in shaping this narrative and strengthening the foundation for a better, more equitable future.
“You can be strong as a leader and be kind.
You can be courageous as a leader and be fearful.
You can be a leader without the title.
But first comes courage.”-