A big part of presence is being able to have a voice. And yes, we all have a voice - we were born with the ability for words to come out of our mouths. But 'having a voice' means that when you say something, people listen. As leaders in finance, people may listen to you simply by virtue of your level within your organisation: as the CFO, the FD, or the GM of Finance people listen. Some of you will say, 'Alena, people listen to me because I have worked to earn their respect' and that's great, too.
Not everyone has that opportunity. In fact, leaders in finance themselves often get to a point in their careers where they feel like they aren't being heard. That despite their proven track record over the years, the continued production of high quality work, they realise that the opportunities they want aren't coming their way. The problems they have endured, experienced and expressed year on year still haven't been fixed. That they are on a hamster wheel of long hours with little return. Have you ever felt that way? So it dawns on them, they're just not listening to me. They just don't care.
When this realisation hits, leaders in finance are at a massive tipping point in their careers. 3 things are missing: a powerbase, purpose...and presence. When you have a voice, and have presence, people listen. Your boss works with you to solve your problems, stakeholders get on board and support your initiatives and your team get behind you and willingly put in the discretionary effort needed to get you through crunch time. Opportunities come your way. Your voice enables you to shape the way Finance within your organisation operates, is perceived and is valued.
Your voice counts
Over the last few weeks, we have seen examples of individuals who weren't given a chance to have their voice and this resulted in the worst outcome possible: death. It has reminded us that societal norms in Australia and around the world don't give everyone an equal opportunity to have a voice. That there are hundreds of thousands of people who have lived their life knowing that no one's listening. No one cares. Opportunities won't come their way.
Meet Dixie Crawford
My dear friend, colleague and inspiration, Dixie Crawford, is the founder and driving force behind Source Nation, a company established in 2018 to collaborate in innovative and strategic ways that champion a shared vision of change in Aboriginal communities. A Barkindji woman from the Darling River, Dixie was born in Broken Hill and raised in Brewarrina and she is an inspiration. She believes every person and organisation has the psyche to make meaningful contributions that lead to big changes. She believes every person should have a voice.
I encourage you and your colleagues to connect with Dixie directly
Dixie recently released tickets to a series of intimate (virtual) roundtables called 'Cultural Insights: Why my voice counts'. In these roundtables* she shares insights of Aboriginal worldviews and strengthens the knowledge base of non-Indigenous people in relation to the social and political lived experiences of First Nations people in Australia.
In her words, "The world is waking up to inequalities and there is nowhere to hide when injustices are on your social media feed, your televisions or being spoken about in your workplaces (virtual workplaces!)."
Dixie wants to share her experiences as a Barkindji woman in Australia and provide leaders practical advice on how to lead at their best, including how to show up for those whose voices aren't heard. This resonated with Australia, and these sold out within 24 hours. I have the honour of hosting several of her sessions and I have also purchased 3 tickets that I'd like to share with you as a thank you for your continued support.
Your voice counts: claim your gift
If your leadership brand includes giving every person the opportunity to be heard, then this session may be exactly what you need to help you take action.
If you want to do more than just talk, then let me know. I have 3 of these tickets, and it is my pleasure to gift these to the first 3 people that reply 'I want my voice to count'. As leaders in finance, we have the opportunity and the presence to create the change we want to see. We can use our voice to help raise the voices of others. It's our job.