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“Never underestimate the value you bring to the world” – This is the advice that ELGP graduate, Aish Srinivas, wants to share with you after learning this herself first-hand.

It can be so easy to stay within your comfort zone and not take on new assignments, challenges, or opportunities because they feel too challenging. But how does that make us grow as people and as leaders? And if you say no to certain opportunities simply because it feels too out of your comfort zone, how does all the value you’re bringing into the world get to shine through?

Meet Aish

Aish is all about empowering diverse and inclusive teams to be at their best. While she is passionate about everything under the social impact umbrella, she focuses on education, wealth inequality, gender equity, climate justice, mental health and human rights.

Tell us about a project/cause/organisation you’re involved with and what you’ve learnt about creating positive change?

I’m a Board member with United Way WA, and love volunteering on the front lines too in the kitchen or as a buddy to support people who’ve experienced homelessness or FDV to re-engage with their communities. Positive change is a community effort, no individual, team or organisation can achieve it in silo!

What is an important leadership lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

You get out as much as you put in, even if it might not be the way you expect; making change is hard and sometimes it may feel like an uphill battle but everything you do is inspiring someone somewhere, like a ripple effect! Caring for your team, advocating for a cause, evangelising a vision and bringing people on the journey with you will always leave a lasting impact that carries on your work in ways you may not have imagined.

Tell us about a moment where you were really brave and why. What did you learn?

A colleague of mine roped me into speaking at a conference on a topic I knew next to nothing about (Product Ownership). I had 2 months to learn the topic and speak in front of hundreds of people who are well acquainted with this field. I was very much out of my comfort zone but it was within a very inclusive and diverse community, giving me the chance to learn a new topic and practice my public speaking skills. I wanted to prove to myself that we don’t need to be experts in a field to have something meaningful to say, we always have new perspectives and values to add and people want to hear them.

What reflective practices help you stay resilient?

At the end of each project or large piece of work, I take time out to do a ‘retrospective’ activity, where I reflect on what worked well, what didn’t, what surprised me about myself or my team and what I’m looking forward to in my next gig! I also enjoy bringing my core values into the front of my mind when making decisions to help ensure I’m still meeting my goals and happy with my choices.

Tell us about a leader who inspires you and why?

Jacinta Ardern and Brene Brown are leaders I respect because they’ve shown me and the world that empathetic, vulnerable leadership is strong and valuable, exactly the kind of thing our world needs and responds to. When you think of these phenomenal leaders, you can see they are well known for one or two strengths – leaders don’t need to be a jack of all trades; they focus on a strengths-based approach to their leadership, and understand when they need to rely on people around them with complementary skills and insights. Jacinta and Brene represent this to me.