The ARLF leadership blog

Leadership is not about the loudness of your voice

19 May 2021

I’ve never thought of myself as a leader or seen myself working in a leadership role, but I recently jumped at the opportunity to be a participant on Milparanga – a leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Working at the ARLF over the past 18 months, I have come to appreciate and understand what leadership is, and while participating on Milparanga I’ve learned that leadership is not about how loud you project your voice; leadership is the message that you convey and on whose behalf.

My sister comes to mind when I think of leadership in this way. She is a quiet, reserved woman who has worked tirelessly to make changes for our mob in the NT, especially family in Tennant Creek. Because of her, many young people have received education and training opportunities through a trust established from mining royalties; old people now have a voice through a united elders council; and native title land-use agreements are a respected way of life.

As an Aboriginal woman, I cannot imagine wanting anything else for our mob other than having opportunities and maintaining a respected position within our town, community and region. This is what leadership enables, and I am thankful that I have not had to look beyond my own family for leadership role models.

Annette McCarthy, Manager Governance