Head of Learning, Pallant House Gallery
What makes a good leader?
A good leader is someone who sees that everyone has something to contribute, is aware that we are all on a journey and positively invests in peoples hopes and ambitions so as to offer goals that are inspirational and shared. Encouraging ownership and the ability to handover authority and trust to others shows a true and meaningful working relationship and capacity to lead.
Is leadership different for disabled people?
I think that having struggled with a difficult and abusive childhood and the lasting impact that has had on my life and mental health has led me to be far more aware and empathetic towards the people I work with and the issues that people have to face at one time or another in their lives both professionally and personally. I have experienced leadership as a growing sense of my own potential and journey in life, I always knew on one level that I could lead but the journey to get here has been long and difficult but ultimately rewarding and affirming.
Do disabled people experience barriers to leadership than non disabled people don’t experience?
I think for me the biggest barriers I have had to face have been my deep rooted anxiety and lack of self worth which are the legacy of my childhood. How can you lead if you are continually waiting to be caught out as being both stupid and a fraud? I have struggled to assert myself in an art world that encourages a public persona and values confidence and an academic and 'bright' mind. It took me a long time to realise that I have something far more valuable to contribute: me, my life experience, creativity and values. Realising this and seeing that others respect what I bring to the table has led me to start to realise the potential I have always felt inside me.