- Colleen Callander is the former Sportsgirl and Sussan CEO, 2007-2020.
- Founder, Mentor Me.
- Author of Leader by Design– Be empowered to lead in business and in life.
- Highly commended CEO, CEO of the year award 2014, CEO magazine.
- Victorian board member, Starlight Foundation.
- 2019 judge for CEO of the year award.
- Kindness is the new currency for leaders
For many leader’s kindness isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think about great leadership, right?
Well, Colleen is here to challenge that thought.
Kindness is the NEW SUPERPOWER FOR LEADERS…in fact Colleen believes kindness is a new form of currency, one you can trade for loyalty, commitment and high performance.
She strongly believes that leading with kindness is what will separate good and great leaders of the future.
Kind leaders - are very capable of making good and strong business decisions, even tough decisions with kindness.
When Colleen talks about kindness she's not just talking about leadership – she's talking about leading with kindness in all areas of our lives. Kindness is not a weakness…kindness is courageous.
- People before profit
We live in a profit driven world - sales, margins, market share, shareholder return and revenue which are all performance and profit, and is essential for organisations to reinvest, innovate and grow. However, an area that is often over-looked…..is not one you’re going to find on a spread sheet…it’s ‘people’!!
Leaders need to create environments where people feel connected, where their work matters, where they can contribute and feel part of something greater. In my experience when people feel valued, trusted and empowered, they will also feel engaged and motivated.
Colleen believes if you have a 'people first' philosophy the profits will follow.
People with purpose and passion = profit
- Leader by design
Leadership is something that Colleen is extremely passionate about…not only her own leadership but the leadership of those around her. And when Colleen talks about leadership, she's talking about leading not only in business, but also leading in our own lives whether that be in your community, school, workplace or even your home. Leadership starts with self…..We need to be leading in our own lives before we can lead anyone else.
When Colleen gets asked about leadership she always starts with what leadership is not – title, power, level of authority, size of your office, carpark, the number of direct reports you have or the size of your salary.
We often look up to…. and admired people with titles, rank and positions of power, labelling them leaders. What Colleen learnt over time in both life and business is that these trappings do not automatically qualify a person for leadership.
And in fact….you don’t even need a title to be a leader. Every day we have the ability to lead through every action, interaction, reaction and decision we make in business and in life. We all have the ability to become a ‘Leader By Design’, we all have the ability to become the leader we always wanted to be, and the leader we always wanted to follow.
Colleen's definition of leadership is:
- “One life impacting another in a positive way”.
- Great leadership is where a person has a passion for a cause that is larger than themselves.
- Great leadership is inspiring and empowering people to accomplish their goals and dreams.
- Great Leadership It is about showing empathy, kindness, compassion and courage in the way you lead.
- And….Great leadership is perhaps the most important competitive advantage an organisation can have.
- The foundations of great leadership
Great leadership is about leading people, but great leadership start with self – you have to be leading in your own life before you can lead anyone else.
The three foundations of great leadership are: self-awareness, values and purpose, no matter where you are on your leadership journey.
Self-awareness and truly knowing yourself is when you are ready to lead others.
Values give us clarity with our decision making and are not only an important part of who we are – they also shape who we want to be.
When we know our purpose, we move from: What we do, to why we do it, and why does it matter!
When we’re clear on our purpose, we can create a vision for what the future looks like, set the right goals and plans, and take the right steps to create that life that you want and the one you deserve.
- Change your story - change your life
One of the biggest challenges women face today is a lack of confidence. Lack of confidence is the reason we stay in a jobs we don’t like, or stay in toxic relationships or the reason we don’t ask for that promotion or pay rise.
We need to start building real confidence, so that we put our hands up for promotions, walk into a board room and kill it with confidence and have a voice.
There are so many things we can do to build real confidence – one of them is to change that negative self talk.
When you….Change your story - change your life!
We have this inner voice inside our head- that is highly judgmental and says things to us like: I'm not good enough, I'm going to fail, I'm under prepared, I don’t fit in, I’m too young, I’m too old.
These stories can leave us feeling stuck, deflated and sometimes even sabotage our success.
We need to interrupt this story from self sabotage and start taking control and create a more empowering story that helps you feel confident to take action.
Change your story - change your life
- Culture starts at the top
Colleen describes culture as what people do when no-one is watching!
Many leaders will talk about their competitive advantage as being their strategy, their product offering, their processes, innovation or even their HR policies.
This can be true to some extent, but Colleen believes an organisation’s biggest competitive advantage is its PEOPLE and the culture and environment they create.
As leaders, it is our jobs to create cultures and environments that allows people to shine.
It’s our job to create a culture of inspiration, empowerment, collaboration, and trust….And Colleen promises you when you do the organisation thrives.
We have been talking about culture and engagement for years….yet less than 15% of employees worldwide are engaged with their job.
We often mistaken culture for things like free lunches, free parking, or a free pass to the gym, don’t get me wrong….these things are great if you can offer them to your team…. Culture is not something you can buy off the shelf, nor will a few affirmations or posters around the office. There is no quick fix or magic pill to creating a great culture.
Culture is an always on proposition….
Culture something Colleen has dedicated every day of her working life to because….a positive, productive and empowering culture pays off in so many ways not just on the bottom line.
Culture starts at the top.
Other speaking topics:
- How to build and live with real confidence
- The power of self
- Confidence, connection, control, calm
- Leadership is a lifestyle choice
- Get off the train to burnout town!
- 45 to thrive - it will change your life!
- Find your superpower
- The Power of people
Col has a natural power to mesmerize a room with her voice. She is a true visionary and always empowered me and gave me the autonomy to believe in my creative ideas. She taught me to be open and honest and gave me the confidence to express my ideas with passion and conviction.
Director & Founder
Gypsy River and Gypsy River House
Every now and again you meet and work with stand-out people. I’m talking about a great listener, authentic, interested, laser focused and clever, caring, giving with a role-up-your-sleeves and get stuff done attitude. That’s Colleen.
Colleen is such a kind and giving CEO and human being. In all the years I have worked for her she has always made time for me and is always present in every conversation. I feel like she really listens and genuinely cares.
Store Development Manager
As one of Australia’s leading CEO’s and business leaders, and as a new Ambassador for CEO Dare to Cure and Children’s Cancer Institute, Colleen has passionately engaged with our organisation to make a real and significant philanthropic impact to help raise vitals funds to ultimately help more research towards finding a cure for every child.
Children’s Cancer Institute
Colleen is a true leader for our times, generous and purpose driven. She is an inspiration to women to truly believe in themselves, to give hard stuff a go and to use their voice to strive for bigger things. She is kind and empathetic and leads with integrity and purpose.
Colleen is one of the most influential and dynamic forces in the Australian fashion industry. Her unique ability to lead, impact and remain relevant in one of the most competitive industries is truly remarkable. She has empowered and led thousands of women over her dynamic career and is a phenomenal role model all women can learn from.
Health Lab Australia