Alumni stories

Jane Milburn – Leadership is an action & arises from disruption

16 April 2020

Jane Milburn | ARLP 16

We are all being called upon to stay safe and adapt as the world faces profound changes due to the coronavirus pandemic and everyone’s life, work and study is being disrupted.

Unless we are required on the frontline or in essential service industries, we are sheltering in place at home – as is Queensland C16 fellow Jane Milburn whose Churchill Fellowship study tour was deferred due to travel bans.  

In a creative response, Jane has pivoted her plans to undertake a Virtual Churchill and is now using technology to meet people online and share their stories of adaptation, resourcefulness and self-sufficiency.

“Necessity is the mother of invention, and the ARISING from Disruption video interview series highlights creative responses from makers and entrepreneurial people about how they are innovating in the way they source, use and reuse resources, and continue to earn a living at this time of transformative change,” Jane said.

“It is not what happens, it is how you respond that makes the difference. We humans are adaptive and resourceful, and sharing how others are being more hands-on and self-reliant in these changed circumstances will sow seeds of hope and inspiration.’’

One of Jane’s key learnings from ARLP was that leadership is an action you take, not a position you hold, and she has been taking action since 2013 to foster a more sustainable clothing culture based on everyday actions for living lightly and dressing for health and wellbeing.

As a 2019 Churchill Fellow, Jane was to travel to Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe to investigate ways that hands-on upcycling/mending actions can help reduce textile waste and enhance wellbeing.

“Winston Churchill said attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference and I’m inspired to be chatting to people about how they are adapting, being resourceful and having a positive attitude at this new defining moment in history.”

The virtual Churchill will inform Jane’s work on living lightly through everyday practice and she looks forward to undertaking a revised Churchill study tour when overseas travel again becomes possible. 

JANE MILBURN sustainability consultant, Churchill Fellow, Slow Clothing author