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Melbourne Business School News Amanda Sinclair to take up Sir Donald Hibberd Lectureship

Amanda Sinclair to take up Sir Donald Hibberd Lectureship

One of Melbourne Business School's most influential thinkers is set to help a new generation change what it means to be a leader.

Melbourne Business School Professorial Fellow and Sir Donald Hibberd Lecturer Amanda Sinclair

For more than three decades, Professorial Fellow Amanda Sinclair has been at the forefront of gender, diversity and changing styles of leadership, including as the author of books such as Leading Mindfully and Women Leading, written with former Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon.

This year Professor Sinclair will bring her own experience together with new and emerging evidence on leadership in the wake of COVID-19, as the 2021 Sir Donald Hibberd Lecturer.

The Sir Donald Hibberd Lectureship was established in 1984 to celebrate the legacy of one of Australia's most significant nation builders, and inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

Professor Sinclair intends to use the opportunity to explore lessons for leaders from the past 18 months and how they can be used to re-imagine the future of work, education and business.

"Sir Donald had a significant role in shaping government and the international agenda," she says.

"In this post-COVID-19 world, it's again a moment in history to shape the future, and that starts with leadership, which is something we must now think about in a broader, global context.

"The leadership task has changed and leaders who exhibit openness and humility – an appetite for learning and listening – will be those that enable organisations, communities and societies to continue to thrive, despite the uncertainties of our rapidly-changing world."

Professor Sinclair joined Melbourne Business School in 1988 and was appointed as MBS Foundation Professor of Management, Diversity and Change in 1995, before becoming a Professorial Fellow in 2012.

Throughout her career, Professor Sinclair has been an advocate for recognising the value of diversity and inclusiveness in workplaces and in leadership.

"Bringing in diverse voices opens up organisations and societies to innovate and thrive in less certain futures,” she says.

"History teaches us that leaders should never waste a good crisis. I, and of course, others have been encouraging changes in leadership towards representing and empowering our community's diversity."

Professor Sinclair sees the current challenges of COVID-19 as an opportunity and catalyst to change leadership in a way that will benefit our shared future.

"I can see people are struggling with the post-COVID environment in Australia and the ongoing environment internationally," she says.

"Some leaders are trying to drag people back to the office in the face of residual mental health issues, and there is also concern about magnified inequalities resulting from racial, gender, socio-economic and other forms of disadvantage.

"I am an inveterate leader-watcher, and, through the pandemic, I've seen examples of very poor leadership and brilliant newer models of leadership, which show how the old hierarchical models no longer cut it.

"For fresh leadership inspiration, we need to look across multiple sectors. We need to learn from scientists, health and mental health experts, young advocates, and people on the ground delivering services to vulnerable sections of the community, who have stepped out of their day-jobs to lead, respond and keep people connected through this hardship."

As part of her lectureship, Professor Sinclair will deliver the 2021 Sir Donald Hibberd Lecture on Tuesday, 10 August, titled "Lessons for Leaders from Lockdown". You can register for the event here.

You can learn more about Professor Sinclair by visiting her faculty profile, or discover the story behind the Sir Donald Hibberd Lectureship.

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