Confident Leader

5 tips to choose the best role models

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Professionally, I look to a number of people as my role models.  My list of well-known role models that I aspire to have some or all of the characteristics of includes:  Richard Branson (not to be clichéd), Oprah (again clichéd, I know), RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson, Jamie Oliver, Janine Ellis, and Ann Sherry.

One woman who has been an inspiration to me for the past two decades is Ita Buttrose.  Ms Buttrose possesses so many of the characteristics that I admire and would love to call my own.

The first time that I was privileged to be in the presence of Ms Buttrose was around 15 years ago at that National AHRI Convention in Melbourne.  I was enthralled by Ms Buttrose’s account of her working life, including the obstacles she had faced (as a woman and mother) in her career, the challenges of working with the Packers, and her amazing achievements at a young age in the cut throat world of newspapers and magazines.

Of course I remember the ground-breaking introduction of the male centrefold at Cleo magazine. Just one of Ms Buttrose’s innovative ideas to rise higher.

What inspires me most about Ms Buttrose are her following characteristics:

  • Intelligence – Ms Buttrose epitomises the person who has succeeded by being clever, articulate, diplomatic, and ambitious.
  • Tenacity – As a woman the tough times Ms Buttrose faced early in her career make most of current day “glass ceiling” challenges appear minor.
  • Pioneering – On many fronts as a media executive, woman, and community leader, Ms Buttrose has broken down the barriers for others to follow.
  • Style – Ms Buttrose is always meticulously, beautifully and professionally presented – hair, make-up and clothes.  A characteristic that is somewhat lost in a world of Kardashians.
  • Benevolence – Ms Buttrose is generous in dedicating herself to worthwhile causes such as the national Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia.
  • Calmness – After meeting Ms Buttrose in person, the other characteristic I would add to my list is the ability to exude calmness.  This is a characteristic I have been striving to improve my entire life.

Some points to consider on selecting your role models:

  1. What are your values?  What guides the decisions you make and the type of person you want to be?
  2. What attributes do you need to fulfill these values?
  3. Who do you know (closely or from a distance) who consistently demonstrates these attributes?
  4. Research these people and identify what you are able to learn from how they live their life, and their accomplishments.
  5. Connect with these people whether it’s following them on social media or interviewing them to learn more about their values, behaviours and achievements.

I must take this opportunity to thank Victoria Beedle of Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) for inviting me to attend an hour of pre-event drinks with herself and Ms Buttrose.  A dream come true for me.

Would love to hear who your role model is, and what characteristics of their’s you aspire to possess.

About Claire Harrison

Claire Harrison is the founder of Brisbane HR consulting and employer solutions outsourcing firm Harrison Human Resources.

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