At Women L.E.A.D., we like to start our meetings by featuring the profile of a leader that inspires us.
The theme for our last meeting on October 28th was “managing change“.
If there is one female leader who has managed the biggest change of them all this year — I would have to give the credit to Prime Minister of New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern. She has been serving New Zealand as the Prime Minister representing the Labor Party since 2017. Up until December of last year – she was the youngest female head of government in the world.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Ardern was reelected into office by a landslide – and for a good reason. Since getting elected into office, she became the second elected world leader to have a baby while in office, fought against sexism, and handled crisis after crisis: from a volcanic eruption that killed 21 people, the infamous terrorist attack on two mosques, and last but most definitely not least, a global pandemic.
The common theme here is her ability to lead with an open mind, kindness and empathy.
When the white-suprematist terrorist attack killed 51 Muslim worshippers, Ardern swiftly pushed to ban assault weapons in just 4 weeks. When the pandemic hit, she recognized that the best economic response was a public health response. She put the people first, and did not just flatten the curve in New Zealand but effectively “squashed” it within months. Another noble act was her decision to show solidarity by taking a 20% pay cut for 6 months as many New Zealanders were economically struggling as a result of COVID-19 and the shutdown.
In today’s world, it’s encouraging to be able to see many more female leaders in powerful positions; however, there is still a long ways to go. As the world collectively continues to face a crisis and grapples with change, I believe we can all learn a thing or two about leading with compassion from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Join us every other Wednesday to be empowered by stories like these and equip yourself with skills to become an effective communicator. Our next meeting is a workshop by award-winning speaker, Kiran Patel. See you there!
Written by: Mina Malloy, Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters VPPR