||As part of our monthly segment, Our Community Leaders - Great Australian Leaders in Focus
which features the thoughts of some of Australia's great leaders,
this month we feature Jacqui Katona.
Jacqui Katona was the CEO of the Lumbu Indigenous Community Foundation,
and is a noted community campaigner. A member of the Djok clan, located
within Kakadu National Park, Jacqui was at the forefront of the
highly celebrated campaign against the Jabiluka uranium mine. She
is the recipient of the Australian Conservation Foundation's 1997
Peter Rawlinson Environmental Award and the 1999 Goldman Environmental
Our Community: Who do you consider to
be the three great leaders of our
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Cath Walker) - prominent
Aboriginal author and activist - for her sharp, forthright and
relentless advocacy for the recognition of citizenship and land rights
of Aboriginal people in Australia.
- Aung San Suu Kyi - non-violent resistance to
repressive militarist regimes - for her powerful courage to stand up
for the freedom of the Burmese people.
- Nelson Mandela - anti-apartheid campaigner - for
his endurance to keep the hope of his people alive and strength to
overcome repression and create a new future for his country.
Our Community: What are the three
attributes you would consider to be
essential to a leader?
- Discipline and commitment: because you must pay
attention to deadlines and know your stuff!
- Giving others the inspiration to empower
themselves as active participants: because we can all make a valuable
- Celebrating our achievements as they happen:
because we need to value the hard work which brings about positive
Our Community: What are the greatest
barriers to new leaders emerging
- Lack of access to education - lack of exposure to
different ideas and cultural backgrounds; increased competition for
learning resources; lack of flexibility in learning modes;
discouragement from exploring boundaries of issues and new ideas; and
commercial imperatives overriding debate.
- Media control - political imperatives overriding
debate; and poor examples of leadership promoted by media.
Our Community: What advice would you
give to a potential leader to take
them to the next stage?
Be sure of yourself and remember that you have lots to
learn and lots to offer.
Our Community: Nature/nurture - are
leaders born or bred?
Leaders are created through their experience. While some
people may demonstrate leadership qualities, to have the courage to
lead, you have to have the courage to admit that you still have to
learn. Leaders are communicators and have to hone their skills over
time. Leaders have to pass the baton and create opportunities for
others to lead also.
Our Community: What do you consider to
be the three top leadership
issues facing the nation?
- Health and education - Lack of planning and
provision of resources by governments
- Settlement of Australia - Lack of recognition that
Aboriginal people are prevented from enjoying the rights and benefits
of land which is our heritage
- Resource management - there has been little
investment in sustainable strategies for future generations
Our Community: What insights have you
gained personally on your
leadership journey and how have they impacted on your style of
- You have to be prepared to take a stand even though
it may be unpopular: This impacted on me by making me think carefully
about the stand I'm taking, why and how I can be effective. Integrity
is an important quality of leadership which others take as an example.
- Collaboration is important: It is important to seek
the views of others but true collaboration doesn't happen overnight -
only through hard work. Commitment comes through ownership of the
process which requires give and take.
- Listening, reflection and evaluation: Creating time
to evaluate allows input from others about objectives achieved. Valuing
of achievements must include recognition of commitment and effort.
Our Community: Who have been your own
leadership mentors and how did
they assist in developing your own leadership style?
My mother, who taught me perseverance, and that finding
the solutions within, not waiting for someone else to do it for you,
Published July 2006