Alumni stories

Creating a new normal

16 April 2020

Philippa Woodhill | Director, Partnerships | ARLF

As the health emergency has gone from one of voyeuristic nature to one of living immersion, I have been struck by the examples of leadership around me. At what other time are you navigating a crisis in your own workplace and at the same time the ‘end user’ of another’s leadership as they steer your children’s school, cancel sports and music activities and enforce draconian community measures?

Trusting those around us to make decisions beyond their own need and to that of the long term benefit of our communities is a responsibility we all hold. For most of my days, this is easy and the only way to operate….and then there’s the other days, where the pain of anxiety wakes me in the morning, and I know that a walk is all I can do.

As we pass the triage stage at work (and at home), certain that uncertainty will continue to prevail – it is time that I (and the ARLF) can look to what our contribution is beyond self. Spending time with my children, connecting with my extended family on e-platforms and reaching out to friends and colleagues is enough for now.  

I am struck by the intensity and challenge that 2020 has served us and for many regional communities this has been more than profound. To my friends in Canberra who on back to back holidays have been told to stay inside and to our rural communities that have turned away tourist income to now merely survive is in congruous….how do we make sense of this, without truly stopping and beginning the task to create a new normal.

Leadership development to me whilst not an ‘essential service’ is critical if we are to make sense of what is and will happen around us. Not to mention the opportunity that this time will create.

Thank you to those on the frontline, thank you for stepping up and thank you for staying at home.