How Responsible Leadership helps you invest in the growing economy of trust

The economy of trust is difficult to define.


Traditional leadership avoids putting time and effort into trust. It was instead palmed off to the PR team or marketing department, discarded as an afterthought in the ‘nice to have’ pile, and not prioritised as having an impact on the all-important bottom line.


Fast-forward to 2020 and press play just in time for a global pandemic. Trust isn’t now only a commodity that’s needed to attract increasingly jaded and more informed consumers – it’s a requirement for the fulfilment of practically any organisation’s key remit.


Look at Rio Tinto and how their lack of trust from the Indigenous community has disrupted their business process. Leadership heads rolled en masse, including the now infamous resignation “by mutual agreement”of CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques.


Look at the banks. Some of the biggest fines in corporate Australian history have been handed out to two of the big four banks in just the last 24 months. All of them, as is well publicised, for a blatant and wilful disregard of compliance processes “from the top down”. That’s a nice way of saying leadership knew what the problems were and did not take responsibility for the solutions – culminating over $2 billion worth of fines since 2018 alone.


Look at State and Federal Government leadership. As recent months show, it’s a lot harder for governments to get policy buy-in from an untrusting public. Especially for extraordinary measures such as lockdowns or travel bans.


Millennials now make up the largest cohort in history. Not only are they the future of work, many boast an impressive disposable income and dictate with their wallets which organisation thrives and which dies. And ignore them at your peril – 62% of millennials want to work for an organisation that makes a positive societal impact and 53% said they would work harder if they knew they were making a difference to others. Attracting talent should not be the only consideration for adopting a leadership model that incorporates trust.


We all know technology is changing almost every business vertical in some way, and leadership is not immune. Stakeholders and customers alike are questioning the ethics and leadership of who they do business with – in ways never experienced before. Customers are putting their money where their values are, they are being more vocal about it as well. Social enterprises are emerging and succeeding because consumers want to make a difference and have an impact on the future of the planet. Organisations that don’t recognise this and direct their leadership accordingly will do so at their peril.


This places extraneous pressure on leaders who not only need to deliver on traditional profitability and shareholder value in the short term, they also need to consider and deliver on innovation, long term good will, societal impact, and most importantly, trust.

At the upcoming 4th Women In leadership Summit, delivered virtually for obvious reasons, keynote speaker and CEO of leadership consultancy Solutions2You, Cathy Dimarchos, will discuss just this.



The simple answer is adopting the tenants of responsible leadership. As Cathy will tell you,


“Our actions today will determine our future. Be part of the change you so desperately want to see in others.”


But what is responsible leadership? Put simply, it’s the next step in authenticity and consists of the following*:


1. Stakeholder Inclusion: ensuring that decisions are made with the stakeholder in mind both internal and external and ensuring that internal stakeholders are made to feel included.

2. Emotion & Intuition: Ensuring that your leadership is wholly human and emotional, showing your vulnerable, compassionate empathetic and open self.

3. Mission & Purpose: Ensuring that your goals are clear and understandable by all and ensuring they are upheld by each and every decision you and the organisation make.

4. Technology & Innovation: Ensuring innovation adds value to both the organisation and the customer and that it aligns to the mission and purpose of the organisation. Ensuring the organisation is not left behind and internal customers and provided with the L&D required to stay current.

5. Intellect & Insight: creating and improving on continuous learning and growth by harnessing diversity in education and learning.


Why must organisations think deeply about responsible leadership? Why must You?


Short term thinking and actions backfire. We’ve seen it too many times in 2020 alone.


The organisations we are starting to see succeed – the organisations of beyond 2020, will be both responsible and profitable. One will feed into the other. This should be the priority of leadership going into 2021.


And luckily, it’s a leadership style that is more intrinsic and natural to women.


Learn more about responsible leadership and how you can be the change you want to see in your organisation and beyond by tuning into Cathy’s session at the upcoming 4th Women In leadership Summit, delivered virtually on October 21st – 22nd, 2020.


You can also learn more about Cathy and Solutions2you by visiting

Engage in learning virtually and develop the skills for effective and inspired leadership wherever you may be. Get tickets to LIVE video streaming of The Leadership Institute’s Training and Events today.

View Our Events on Live streaming

Fast-tracking Careers for Women in Education

Fast-tracking Careers for Women in Education

Get to know the senior women executives of elite learning institutions who will talk about actionable strategies for fast-tracking a career in education


The Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020 is bringing together women leaders of remarkable achievement from institutions like Harvard, Princeton, the University of Western Australia among others, to ignite passion and ambition for women in education. 


The summit will focus on preparing women for the increasing challenges of education leadership – from entry level management all the way up to the executive suite. Our key speakers will talk about their experiences as well as the strategies to help women move forward in their own leadership journey, wherever stage they may be. 


Check out some of our impressive headliners speaking at this year’s Women in Education Leadership Summit. 



Embracing Challenging Leadership Roles Deborah Jewell-Sherman

Deborah is the first woman professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She served as superintendent of the Richmond (VA) Public Schools and built a reputation as one of the most successful urban district superintendents in the US. 

In her half-day workshop, Deborah will guide you along the 5 essential skills to navigate the growing complexities and demands of leadership in modern education. 



Developing strategies to cultivate diverse and inclusive campuses Rochelle Calhoun 

Rochelle has been responsible for overseeing all student services, including athletics, residential life, leadership activities, religious and spiritual life, among others. 

Her workshop will center on shaping student and staff experiences to build inclusive communities, enabling the success of all staff and students and building a self-sustaining community around your education institution 



Improving the path to leadership for Indigenous students and staff Jill Millroy 

Jill has more than 30 years of experience in Indigenous higher education, developing programs and support services for Indigenous students. 

Inclusivity is at the heart of Jill’s message. In her talk, she will be elaborating on the strategies for building inclusive campuses for Indigenous students and staff and advancing Indigenous education outcomes through strong leadership. 



Becoming an advocate for women: Sponsoring others Marcia Devlin

Marcia is leading a project to transform VU’s Academic Program of the Future in order to prepare students to navigate the increasingly complex world of work. 

In her session, Marcia will be focusing on how to embed sponsorship in your organisational culture to create more opportunities for women. She will also cover how to manage the impact of unconscious bias in the sponsorship process. 



Can we eliminate unconscious bias in education? Fiona Godfrey 

Fiona is the first woman to be Principal of Radford College and a recipient of the South Australian Businesswoman of the Year, Community and Government Award. 

As a long-time educator, Fiona understands the work it takes to unite learners of diverse backgrounds under a common purpose. On day 1 of the summit, she will be leading a discussion on how to cultivate a truly open, diverse and inclusive work culture. 



It’s high time for women in education to invest in their own leadership and executive training. Sign up for the Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020 and grow in your ability to drive successful innovation in the business of education. 


Women In Education Leadership Summit May 2020

How Companies can Help Women Advance in Leadership

How Companies can Help Women Advance in Leadership

In the modern workplace, there’s still an under-representation of women in executive level positions – the small percentage who made it with the right combination of abilities, decisions and actions.


What these stats tell us is that there’s a “broken rung” in the ladder of most organisations. Fixing it will help more women arrive at the c-suite because ambition and individual effort are not enough. 


Here are a few steps that companies can do to fix the broken ladder of succession and give more women opportunities to rise to senior level positions. 


STEP 1 – Aim to train a larger number of qualified women candidates for manager positions

Setting aggressive targets for hiring and promoting women will significantly increase their representation in the corporate ladder. Consider this ratio – “For every 100 men promoted to management, only 72 women were promoted. If women are promoted and hired at the same rate as men, there will be 1M more women in corporate America over the next 5 years.” 

(Source: 2019 McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org ‘Women in the Workplace study) 


STEP 2 – Avoid “tokenism” – having a sole female member in any team just for show 

When women are grossly outnumbered in a group they will be sidelined and ignored. By contrast, having an equal number of men and women will form a cohesive group identity where gender differences become less important and members regard each other in terms of individual ability and contribution.


STEP 3 – Establish fair review and recognition criteria 

Companies need to have the right evaluation processes and tools in place to avoid any bias from sneaking into hiring and performance reviews. For example, collecting objective and measurable feedback are considered generally more informative than arbitrary scales and assessments. 


STEP 4 – Establish family-friendly HR practices  

Support for women as caregivers through flextime, job sharing, telecommuting, childcare, elderly care, etc., provide for an enriching experience at home and in the workplace. Such benefits allow women to thrive in their career ambitions and balance the difficult demands of family life.  


The bottom-line 

Leaders who fix the gender gap in their organisation foster a thriving workplace culture that generates success and wealth of opportunity for all.  


Australia’s pioneering businesswomen are coming together to help more women rise the corporate ladder or start and grow their own company. Join them by reserving your spot for The Empowered Woman Summit 2020 on 26th March. 


The Empowered Woman 2020

Announcing the Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020

Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020

Senior women executives of elite learning institutions come together to support women in education to advance their leadership careers 

women in education leadership speakers

Empowering women in education  

The Leadership Institute brings together senior female leaders from elite learning institutions in Australia and the US for the Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020, held from the 5th to 8th May in Sydney.


The summit, which is aimed at both the secondary and tertiary sectors, looks to empower both current and upcoming women leaders to believe in themselves, put their hands up for opportunities, mentor and support aspiring leaders, transform their workplace and develop the necessary business skills to effectively lead a high-performance team and organisation.


Featuring an esteemed lineup of speakers

Senior women leaders of Princeton, Harvard, Deakin, The University of Western Australia, and many more, share their experiences and insights on how women educators can grow their leadership abilities. Educators will learn from fellow educators how to effectively navigate their responsibilities and constituencies in order to advance their initiatives and consequently, their leadership careers. 


Investing in executive education

The four-day summit is an intensive program designed to teach teachers how to plan their own career development. Through lectures, panel discussions and workshops, they will learn how to think strategically and develop executive skills to add to their toolkit.  


Connecting with a diverse, like-minded community 

Attendees of this summit – current and aspiring leaders – will come away with actionable information to forward their career ambitions. Helping them through their journey is a community of supportive women who are passionate about leading the change in education.  


It’s high time for women in education to invest in their own leadership and executive training. Sign up for the Women in Education Leadership Summit 2020 and grow in your ability to drive successful innovation in the business of education. 


Women In Education Leadership Summit May 2020



4 Ways Women Lead – The Gold Standard for Leadership

4 ways women lead

Learn the success formula of women leaders. Here’s a hint – it includes being inclusive, supportive and even vulnerable.


Women leaders over the years have proven that it is possible to inspire success in others by veering away from the command-and-control model usually associated with men. Some women have ascended to high corporate status for winning the trust and cooperation of their co-workers by being inclusive, supportive and even vulnerable.  


A study by Harvard Business Review on Ways Women Lead in 1990, described this style of leadership as “interactive management”. It is largely attributed to women and characterised by encouraging participation, sharing power and information, energising and enhancing self-esteem in co-workers.  


By contrast, the command-and-control style associated with men is defined by encouraging independent action, retaining power and information and focusing on the task rather than on the co-worker performing the task.  


After almost thirty years since the publication of the study, interactive management has become the gold standard of leadership.


Learn and understand the key principles and behaviours of interactive management and integrate them in your leadership tool kit using this quick and easy guide – 



4 Ways Women Lead


The concept of Interactive Management has been around for thirty years, but there’s still a lot of progress to be made in getting more women to attain positions of leadership.   


It’s high time for women to come together and lead the charge of developing diverse talent and creating new paths for advancement.


Be part of this all-important conversation with Australia’s leading businesswomen by registering for The Empowered Woman Summit today. 


The Empowered Woman 2020

How to Get More Women to Advance in the Workplace

How to Get More Women to Advance in the Workplace

Ever tried climbing a ladder that had a step missing? It’s difficult, right?


Well, according to the Women in the Workplace 2019 study, there is a “broken rung” or a gap in the succession line of women at first level management positions.


The leadership ladder, it seems, is missing a step and is proving difficult to climb for women.


According to the authors, “fixing it will set off a positive chain reaction across the entire pipeline. As more women become managers, there will be more women to promote and hire at each subsequent level. Put another way, more entry-level women will rise to management, and more women in management will rise to senior leadership.”


In a previous post (Forget Mentors. What Women Need Are Sponsors.), we identified “sponsorship” as a key strategy to get more women to advance in leadership roles.


But what more can be done to fix the broken rung that is keeping women from reaching top level positions in companies?


Sponsorship is a fantastic example of how women in senior positions can help those rising through the ranks (it’s a concept that gets discussed a lot at our Women in Leadership Summits)


But the great news is that everyone, regardless of seniority or gender, can do something to influence diversity in favor of more women rising in your organisation’s hierarchy.


Here are 4 practices you can implement right now.


1. Refer more qualified women candidates


60% of successful hires come from referrals. Actively support your company’s hiring and promotion efforts by referring more qualified women in first-level management positions. Your leaders will surely appreciate your loyalty and regard you as someone who is fully invested in the company’s future success.


2. Nominate more female co-workers for advancement opportunities and initiatives


Studies have revealed that women generally hesitate to put themselves forward when there’s an opportunity for a promotion, a high-profile initiative or any chance to shine in the workplace. Give your overlooked but talented coworker her much deserved kudos. Sing her praises every chance you get for your leaders to take notice.


3. Speak up against unfair bias


No matter where you are in your organisation, you should feel safe to call out bias and act accordingly when you see it. Consequently, you should feel empowered to objectively question policies and systems like performance evaluations, if you observe them to be biased and unfair to women.


4. Start a peer-to-peer training initiative


Training is crucial in preparing women for management roles. If your company does not provide structured training to support and grow a pipeline of female talent, band together and organise a group on your own. Women helping each other to advance their leadership education is an effective way to get the experience they need, raise their profile and be tapped for leadership opportunities.


Australia’s pioneering businesswomen are coming together to help more women rise the corporate ladder or start and grow their own company. Join them by reserving your spot for The Empowered Woman Summit 2020 on 26th March.


The Empowered Woman 2020


Forget Mentors. What Women Need Are Sponsors.

Understanding Sponsorship and Why it’s the Best Strategy for Women to Advance in Leadership 


The latest Women in the Workplace Report by McKinsey & Company highlights an increasing number of organisations who are seeing the value of having more women in senior leadership roles. While this is a move in the right direction towards gender diversity, women continue to be underrepresented at every level. 


The study has identified that the biggest obstacle to women advancing in their careers is not at the “glass ceiling”, but at the lower rungs of the corporate ladder – the first step from staff member to manager.


To fix the “broken rung”, women need stronger support to access stepping-stone jobs. A more deliberate focus on career sponsorship is one strategy to help more women rise to the top and achieve gender parity. 

Mentor vs Sponsor: What’s the difference


Simply put, mentors advise while sponsors advocate. The difference is also in the level of support. According to Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School and author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader –  


“In a mentoring relationship, the mentor provides personal advice and support privately, with no more at stake than the time invested. While a classic sponsorship relationship, the sponsor advocates for an individual, typically in a succession contest for a significant role, with his or her reputation at stake.” 


A sponsor can certainly make or break a career much more than a mentor. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the difference and strategise your career growth.


Mentor vs Sponsor - What's The Difference?

Career Checklist 


Take stock of your career and determine whether sponsorship is the right approach to your professional development by answering these questions – 


  • Who is the highest-ranking, most influential leader in the organisation who knows you? 
  • Do you work well together? 
  • Would they be willing to vouch for your talent? 
  • If those who know you and your work are not powerful enough, can they connect you with someone who is? 
  • Who can you approach for high-level assignments? 
  • Who can introduce you to high-level decision makers? 
  • How will you advance to the next notch? 
  • Who can help you get there? 


On the flip-side, becoming a sponsor yourself might even be the better strategy to advance in your career. If you build a reputation for sponsoring other women to succeed in your organisation, you are more likely to rise to the top as well. 


And so, ask yourself –  


  • Who do you bring along with you on the way to the top? 
  • How will you help sponsor more women to succeed?  
  • Have you identified high potential women proteges to sponsor within your team?  


Learn how you can sponsor and empower the next generation of female leaders from the country’s most influential women in business. Reserve your spot for The Empowered Woman 2020.


The Empowered Woman 2020

What would I tell 22 year old me

The whole “Dear 22-year-old me” where you write a letter to your younger self is popular because it provides insight and wisdom from the best source possible: yourself!

If I picture myself as a 22-year-old, fresh faced young graduate full of enthusiasm, un-earned confidence in my abilities and ready to take on the world. The realities of the harsh world ‘out there’ not yet affecting my optimism or my bravado. When I think back, I think ‘you’re an idiot’ and, ‘oh sweet pea, some hard lessons are heading your way’.

If I could grab that idiot, shake her and tell her anything, this is what I would say:

  • Don’t waste your time on dead end jobs. Yes, I know there are gap years, and times in between jobs when you are genuinely finding yourself but spending time in a job where you know it is simply not for you and you are not happy is not worth the anxiety. Just remember to show gratitude and exit in a graceful, respectful manner when you resign, and fulfil your last days properly.
  • Invest in yourself – you are your #1 asset. This means do those courses, take the time to sharpen your skills and keep being the employable, engaged person you know yourself to be. And yes, we know this about you already. This is why you are reading this blog post to start with.
  • Be proud of who you are. Be really proud. If you don’t gel with every single person, it’s okay. I’m not saying you fly that freak flag high in a corporate environment, but don’t diminish who you are, either. You are you as a sum total of your life experiences, your values and your beliefs. Be proud you’ve weathered the storms, and here you are.
  • Save 20% of what you earn. This is a big one. You know you need to do this. I know you are “only young once”. But your older self is here to tell you that bills wait for nobody and you can never predict when you might need the cash. You might not want to give up smashed avo and lattes and you don’t have to completely. Just put some coin aside for the just-in-case. There is no self-respect in borrowing from the bank of mum and dad.
  • If you back yourself, you can achieve more than you think. If you dare to dream, you will likely shock yourself with just how much you can achieve. There are a million Instagram shots of sunsets with clichés on dreams and fulfilment. This is bullsh*t. Dreams don’t achieve results, smart calculated risks do, and they all start with backing yourself. Who knows what you can achieve!

Want to set your 22-year-old self, now residing in a (slightly!) older body on the right work and life path?

If you want your inner 22-year-old to get some advice from some amazing women whose life lessons will change your life, you need to register for the Empowered Woman 2020 is imperative. It’s a one-day experience to ignite your passion for business and success in all its forms – so your 22 (or 32, 42, 52…) year old self have the skills to achieve the dream career.

During this event you will be inspired by personal stories of success, learn from intimate tales of failure, harness your ambition to make it happen. As you know, purpose alone is not enough. Once you’ve found it, The Empowered Woman will give you the tools to realise your ambitions.

For more information, go here.