Role models inspire, they motivate and they provide a benchmark you can aspire to achieve.
I have spent the last twenty years searching the agriculture sector for people who define REAL leadership for me.
Cathy McGowan AO is my benchmark and I was equally inspired when I saw 29 year old Ryan McParland in action.
The leadership journey begins with knowing how to lead yourself, then to lead teams and finally to lead systems. I believe Ryan has the capacity to not only lead systems but to drive meaningful change within Australian agriculture. He has the skills to create a movement and also the skills to gather around him the role models, mentors, champions and funding partners that he needs to be successful,” Source
At Action4Agriculture we have been supporting young people to go on the leadership journey. Our CULTIVATE program supports them to learn to lead themselves. Our Young Environmental Champions program supports them to lead others. Our Young Farming Champions Leadership Team Innovation Hub supports them to practice forms of leadership.
The world is crying out for more youth led organisations and more youth led projects. Our research has shown us a lot more consideration could be being given to how much a young person’s life can change between the ages of 12 to 30.
They transition from education to work, they fall in love, they make decisions about careers or children and whether they can have both.
This year our youth led leadership team trialed holacracy. The person who put their hand up to be convenor suddenly found herself with a not to be missed opportunity to study in London and her PhD studies relocating her to Laos for 12 months. Life is full on when you are young
In talking to Ryan, one of my key interests in asking our wonderful journalist Mandy McKeesick to interview him and his “fan” club was the pivotal role his employer BlueScope is playing in nurturing his leadership journey. If BlueScope see the wisdom in providing Ryan with flexibility, champions and funding through their Community Foundation partnership with WIN4 then surely they too are setting a workplace culture benchmark all organisations can aspire to have.
Watch this space – Ryan has started a conversation in our team and with other people and organisations who want to support young people to be part of the youth leadership co-design process