Reflections on the Leadership Retreat

My name is Daisy and even though I’m not little (literally), my friends call me Little Miss Sunshine and today I will share my little story about  the Leadership Retreat with RESULTS Australia and the impact it had on me. It was the last weekend of June, I was in the middle of my chaotic Financial Year end (outside RESULTS, I’m a financial accountant)  and I was sick which, made me ask myself: Is it worth it for me to go? Then I thought of my former team leader, Michelle, who had reserved her seat for me, so I left all of the tax files and stack of documents on the table, and got out of the office, hopped on the train and headed straight the retreat.

I finally reached the hostel and I was late. I was pleasantly surprised that Gina and my colleagues saved a big dinner for me. I had never met any of these people in person, I had only heard their voices on our monthly Action Call so my first impression was: “Yeah, these people are caring”. Then we started introducing ourselves and shared our own stories from Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney and the evening passed in a blink.  Before I went to sleep, I told my tired self: that’s good sign.

The Saturday began with a group breakfast and we were all very excited, energised and ready to get going. The leader training first started with asking ourselves: What would we like to get out of these two days? We set very clear goals and promised to commit to them.

Then we worked on what we called: Story of self, an answer for WHY we came to volunteer for RESULTS, WHY we believed in ending poverty and obviously, WHY we were spending our weekend there for the Leadership retreat? I remember the reflections of all my colleagues and connected with them all in different ways; from empathetic Lindsey’s story of her bullied childhood friend, to the enthusiastic story of Ryan striving for the world with #zerohunger, who cured his loathing of vegetables by seeing people in famine. I admired Adelaide Leader, Linley for her broad mindedness and awareness that her passion for protecting the environment won’t happen without ending poverty. I also loved Ros’s warmth, the woman with a big heart, who is leader of RESULTS Canberra. I also saw my enthusiasm reflected in Christine and Robert.

Most importantly, I saw my brave self, a girl with a poor childhood in a third world country (literally, those days, my family was worrying about what to eat tomorrow) to now being independent and now able to be an advocate for poverty eradication. Why? Simply because I would like to see less people experience a childhood like mine, and I want to see more and more people reach their full potential and contribute back to the society.

It’s such a great feeling when you reaffirm yourself and know with clarity what is at the heart of all what you are doing. We learned leadership skills, which our mentor, Gina, calls using our head, our heart and our hands. We learned about RESULTS and the organisation’s strategies. We learned specific skills on leading the own groups such as: recruiting and retaining members, fundraising and coaching. But amazingly, I never saw any of us having the lecture effect of falling asleep or losing focus on both 9 to 5 days: we were eager to participate because we practised every piece of theory. I think that is the source of the organisation’s momentum: We learn then we take action straight away.

The highlight of our weekend was building a campaign. Yes, we built a campaign from the scratch. A lot of discussions, reasoning and arguments (constructive arguments, of course) before our campaign was formed. Still today, the campaign is being developed, continually enhanced by members across the country, which is just amazing.

I’m sure it’s not only me, but all the leaders who attended agreed, that the RESULTS culture of listening and then empowering voices exists in everything we do; not only with the public but within the group itself. Let’s ask, which organisation trains then allows grassroots volunteers to plan the next 6 months of strategies?

Once again, time flew and we wrapped up our retreat by acknowledging each other and giving our group a hug. I saw in front of me my good friends who were fully empowered and engaged heading off across the country to plant the RESULTS seeds.

I looked at myself and did not see woman with sickness, stresses and doubts anymore, instead I just saw an affirmed, well-equipped and passionate person striving for a world with #zerohunger and #nopoverty. And I know, for certain, I’m not alone on this journey. Even though we might come from different states, countries, and backgrounds we are all human and each of us is trying our best every day for a better life. And the better life is not stop with the individual, it built by US together, OUR sustainable world.

I am sorry for being lengthy and I will finish with a sentence from Dr Wayne Dyer: We rise by lifting each other…


Daisy Nguyen