Diversity and the power of ‘bringing everyone around the table’

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At a special event in Brisbane to launch the Ambassador events program in the city, diversity and mentor relationships were hot topics of discussion.

Our Rare Birds Global Ambassadors for Brisbane, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gilimbaa Amanda Lear and Co-Founder and Director of Gilimbaa David Williams, discussed with Rare Birds Founder and CEO Jo Burston the beauty of diversity and why entrepreneurs need mentors to support them. Here are the top three takeaways:

1. Seeing your end game first

Amanda says that what sits at the heart of an entrepreneur is their desire to bring something to life. She identifies entrepreneurs as ‘makers’ – people working on things, figuring out different ways around them, seeing something and wanting to bring it to life, even if they have to “eat tuna out of a can for years just to see it happen”.

She says as an entrepreneur “you see things so clearly, you almost see your end game, and you figure out a way to get there”.  Entrepreneurs are used to “getting knocked down most days” but Amanda says, “you get knocked down seven times, and you get up eight”.

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2. The beauty in diversity

David says he wants his daughter to grow up in a world where we don’t even have to have conversations about what diversity in the community looks like. David wants his daughter to grow up in a world where it’s normal to be a female entrepreneur and “a female Aboriginal entrepreneur”.

Amanda likens a lack of diversity to “an artist that’s only ever used two coloured paints in their paint box – how boring is that?” She says diversity “is about bringing everyone to the conversation, using every colour, and seeing where that takes you and making that an exciting thing.

She also says, “we should be more confident and we should embrace more the emotions that come with bringing everyone around the table”.

Amanda says diversity means recognising the different emotions you feel with different opinions and perspectives, and that often they’re not easy emotions as you’re learning and discovering things in a totally different way than you have been brought up with. “But that’s a good feeling and we should learn to ‘lean in’ to that feeling and embrace that feeling, because on the other side of that change and magnificence sits there.”

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3. The benefit of having mentors who know you really well

David says mentors are of great value, “if you can learn the lessons they’ve learnt and benefit from the mistakes that they’ve made”. Amanda says that aside from their invaluable experience “in the trenches”, the other beauty of her mentors is that “they know me really well”.

She says her mentors, “know my strengths and they sure know my weaknesses”. They will call her out on things, will hustle her when she needs to be hustled and, “they’ll keep me going when I need that push”.

Amanda says, “I find the honesty of those conversations from being mentored probably the most valuable things because, whether you realise it or not, sometimes you can be avoiding things that you’re not even realising you’re avoiding until someone goes, “look at it, and deal with it, now”.

Do you need a mentor to help guide you through your own entrepreneurial journey? Contact Rare Birds community leader Sarah Coull at scoull@inspiringrarebirds.com for details about joining the Rare Birds Mentoring Program.

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