Without you, I am nothing: Williamson graduation speech

8 December 2014 By Kellie King

Kellie King's speech, on behalf of the Williamson group, delivered at the 2014 presentation dinner.

"Without you, I am nothing."

At the closing retreat, Chris Kotur, LV's Leader in residence, reminded us of this, the leader's refrain.

Our Williamson external journey covered some big topics: the environment, economics, regional leadership, social cohesion, politics, media, health and wellbeing and law and order.

Our internal journey was just as diverse: we reflected deeply on our own journeys of leadership and learned from others about theirs.

The range and variety of topics, speakers and personal explorations was at times overwhelming; often emotional; but always provocative, enriching, challenging and enlightening.

At the closing retreat, we spent a great deal of time reflecting on our personal experience of WCLP and the differences we saw in ourselves and each other since the opening retreat. I will try and capture some of what I heard so that you can share in our journey.

We learnt:

Of the leadership holy trinity; influence, vision and ethics. And Rachel Matton put it beautifully when she observed that to achieve these things, you also need courage, compassion and creativity

How to ask questions well, when to talk and when to just listen; that leadership is doing, not a role you are in; that showing your vulnerability is ok, and in fact, important

That 38 people in any one room each have stories of romance, tragedy, illness and elation in their lives and each of these events shape who they are today

We learnt the importance of reflection and making space for it in your life and work; being authentic, understanding your values and translating them across all aspects of your life; lifting your eyes and seeing the breadth of the world around you; and spending time looking at a problem before jumping into action. But most importantly, we learnt that leadership is a journey and there are always ways to keep growing as a leader.

And now to some thank yous. Thank you to:

The LV board and also to LV alumni - from supporting scholarships for some of us, to presenting and even to accompanying us on sections of our journey.

Richard Dent and rest of the LV team throughout the year.

Tony Matthews - for being there all the way.  He supported and guided our program, sensitively professionally and with genuine support and care for all of us. A consummate facilitator we can't thank him enough for his patience, guidance and his friendship.

Our organisations that supported us financially, but also in time; and to our work colleagues that may have picked up an extra task or two for us on the days we were out with this program.

And importantly, families and friends that supported us; we promise to see much, much more of you in 2015.

I heartily congratulate the 2014 WCLP and 2014 Folio participants on their graduation tonight and finally, I think it’s important for all of us to reflect on what sort of communities we want to live in. For such communities to exist, we all have a responsibility to turn up, to engage and to make them a place we want to be. A quote from Frank Herbert perhaps sums up our year and our future responsibilities: 

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.