From 13th to 15th April 2016, Claire Maxwell — GRLI’s Guardian Group Chair, represented the GRLI at the Power “Housing Exchange, Collaborating for a better housing future” event in Rydges, Melbourne, Australia.
- As part of the International Perspectives session at a Housing Association event, the GRLI raised awareness and the sense of urgency for responsible leadership among Chief Executive Officers and executive staff.
- Over 150 people attended this event and the GRLI inspired the participants to explore the concept of globally responsible leadership and practice and how it was being and could be applied beyond the Corporate Social Responsibility mandate.
- The session focused also on the UN Global Sustainability Goals and helped to bring a global viewpoint to the work of Social Housing professionals in Australia.
This is how Claire has described the event in her own words:
Building on strong foundations
It is always interesting to note the interest and reactions of people outside of academia to the life and work of the GRLI. What are the experiences of those who develop and practice globally responsible leadership within the ‘social’, whether that be within the spheres of housing, justice, drug and alcohol use/misuse or any of the other avenues?
In April I had the chance to find out, first hand, at PowerHouse Exchange, a collaborative event held in Melbourne for CEO’s and Executive Officers connected to the provision of not for profit housing within Australia. Whilst I was there primarily to share the findings from the Workplace of Tomorrow, the invitation extended to representing the GRLI, our work and ethos as part of the International Perspectives session. Joining me was Haleh Homaei, Deputy CEO of Haven, a Housing Association based in Victoria. Haleh had been seconded from her work to the United Nations in New York where she had been instrumental in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals.
What was confirmed, for me, was that practising global responsibility lies within the realm of all, regardless of the context in which we find ourselves operating. Building new houses, helping people to occupy those already in existence, housing those in poverty and in need because of world displacement, illness, age, disability or race enshrines, supports and promotes all elements of global responsibility.
What struck me was how strongly connected I was to, dare I even say proud of, the values and ethos of the GRLI and to the sense of community which is engendered at every AGM and through the connections, conversations and activities in between. It felt very empowering to be able to speak of our work being in the ‘global commons’, to outline the collaborations which have taken place and the pioneering experience of the Innovation Cohort and, what appeared to have significant appeal, the approach of ‘Think Big, Start Small, Act Now’.
The challenge was in making relevant the work of the GRLI to people who are not immediately connected with the world of education or the direct development of global leaders. For the audience, the interest lay in application, what is it that they might do differently if they want to be or are being globally responsible? How do they bring responsibility out of the Corporate Social Responsibility office and make it alive and relevant within the wider organisation?
These questions raised once again, for me, the issue of the GRLI’s relationship with business and the critical importance of engaging with our colleagues and collaborators in spheres beyond and within academia so that the dialogue may be broadened and the discourse informed, extended and enriched.
There is such a plentiful and valuable foundation of thought and lived practice at the heart of the GRLI and this is now being translated into a 21st century perspective, with new boundaries, relationships and opportunities presenting themselves. The call, I believe, is to build on the past, to harvest the present and to extend into the future so that more people and places have access, not only to the learning of the GRLI, but also the ‘felt’ experience of being part of a community building and rebuilding, whether that be with actual bricks and mortar or ideas and thoughts, on the principle and practice of hope.