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The Role of Role Models

I recently attended the WeAreTheCity Shortlist Celebration after being shortlisted in the ‘Consultancy’ category. It was a brilliant event with a huge number of successful people sharing expertise, advice and congratulations.  All the speakers referred to a room full of inspirational role models who could inspire change. It made me consider what I found inspiring and in what ways I’d like to inspire others now and in the future. First though, why is feeling inspired so important and why do I want to inspire others?

I feel particularly lucky to have met and known some very inspiring people who have guided me throughout my education and career. I think that seeing people selflessly working with others to urge them to do or feel something positive has influenced my outlook on my future career and encouraged me to go beyond my personal goals. I have been grateful that the people I hold as role models have always found time to support me as I have progressed, despite the fact that I have never openly acknowledged them as role models and I am certain that many of them would not describe themselves as inspiring.

Whilst at University I worked with a charity that mentored young people in prison. Many had given up on the women we worked with and in some cases they had given up on themselves. The team I was part of used creativity to inspire hope and change in the outlook of these women. I’m not claiming they would all go on to be world changing leaders but their horizons were broadened and they were able to put their earlier actions into perspective. The charity workers who gave up their time would rarely be thanked or acknowledged but it was obvious that they were encouraging positive change that would impact communities and society; I was inspired.

More recently I have observed senior colleagues discard perceived limitations and break new ground in defence and security. Of course this is inspirational and these actions are the type that I aspire to be part of and one day lead. I think though that we can be inspirational role models in far more subtle ways such as supporting our colleagues, sharing our knowledge and expertise, promoting values like collaboration and authenticity as well as helping others to develop and progress. I’m sure this becomes easier with experience – I often observe senior leaders speaking or giving advice that they’ve gathered from years in the defence sector but I think there is a role model in everyone at any stage of your career.

I am certain that inspiring role models have helped shape my career and will continue to do so and therefore I want to finish my blog by setting an objective for myself. We can all inspire others to do or feel something positive at any stage in our career.  I will be conscious of the capacity to inspire we all have and I will endeavour to use that capacity as much as I can.

"The views expressed in this blog are those of the author."

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