Become a Leader


a woman shaking the hand of another woman who is in a wheelchair- Written by Alanna Julian, a graduate from the Gosford Become a Leader program

Last year I got word about a Leadership program called 'Become A Leader'. I was already an ambassador for the Living Life My Way Program representing the Central Coast and I knew how to speak at an engagement but I never really understood what it took to be a leader. Therefore I thought it was a great opportunity to enrol in this leadership program.

During the program I met people with all different leadership qualities but we all shared the same goal of wanting to make a change in our communities. During the program you had to share your story as well as pitch a project idea to the group and see who else in the group would get on board with you. My project idea was to go into schools and do a presentation to kids, spreading awareness about people with different types of disabilities and trying to prevent bullying. One member of the group liked my idea and thought he could contribute by talking about advocating inclusion in the playground. I was fortunate enough to get two more group members to jump on board with my idea and we called it the School Project.

All the skills we had learnt from the course went into collaborating on the project and bringing our different leadership qualities to the table. The great part was that our facilitators covered subjects that pushed us to think outside the box and they offered encouragement, feedback and support along the way. On the last day of the program, my group and I came together to present our School Project. We were proud of what we had accomplished and successfully graduated.

After I graduated I was asked to speak to a Leadership group in Ballina. I was excited to be chatting with emerging leaders. I shared with them my experience of the program, how to effectively work with a mentor, and the key communication strategies when working in a team. I gave the group advice on how I led, giving roles to each person within the project from the skills they demonstrated.

The group was great in asking me questions, one question was overcoming challenges in the group. 

Gosford Group

I talked about the challenges my group faced and how we worked through those challenges. Some examples of challenges included meeting up with each other because of the distances between us and working to keep up motivation for everyone to contribute. You also had to learn about yourself, your strengths as a leader and the barriers you might need to overcome to bring out your potential as a leader.

The Ballina group had great ideas and each demonstrated leadership qualities but they seemed a bit apprehensive about going out of their comfort zone. It reminded me of being in their shoes not so long ago and I admitted doubted myself as a leader, I also felt overwhelmed at times.
My top tips I shared with them are;

  • Compromising within a team without compromising yourself as an individual
  • Leadership isn't about being in a position of power and authority but rather empowering others and setting an example. This ensures you are all working towards the same goal.

I've had people who know me come up and comment that they have noticed a difference in my confidence level even just in my approach to helping teach the kids at Sunday School at my church. Just last week one of the church members forwarded to me an email from a church deacon saying "I love the wonderful initiative that Alanna is taking." Past employers have always said that initiative was one of my weaknesses.
The School Project is still a work in progress but I am leading my group and making connections to start taking our presentation into schools this year. If it wasn't for this leadership program I don't know if I would have achieved these things. It's been an amazing journey that will continue to lead to endless possibilities.