“Leaders in our community come in a wide range of forms. I think the general view of community leaders is that of public figures, such as politicians and the like. There are many other kinds of community leaders in society though – many of these lead by example and I think this is one of the most important qualities of a leader.”
Paul is currently pursuing his interest in the “interaction (or collision) between people and the natural environment” working as a landscape architect, which gives him the opportunity to work on “a range of projects that are beneficial environmentally, socially and culturally”.
This passion also inspires Paul to coordinate a youth-focused environmental organisation/network/project called Youth Environment Society (YES), whose mission is “to inform, inspire and empower young people to make positive change regarding our environment, both natural and cultural”, which closely links to Paul's personal vision.
Dulcie Bronsch has been working at Kummara Association's Stronger Indigenous Families Project as a Community Development Worker since August 2004. Currently, Dulcie is working with inner-city Indigenous families and communities and with the homeless people in South Brisbane through a range of community-based projects. As an Aboriginal woman, Dulcie places great emphasis on understanding and respecting Aboriginal protocol. She believes that building trust and understanding is the most important characteristic of her work, and has devoted the past twenty years cultivating strong links with her community.
Dulcie began what she now identifies as community development work in the early 1990’s when she was a Principal Consultant, contracted by the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission to develop and implement a mobile dental service for seven communities in south-west regional Queensland. In this role, Dulcie networked with local organisations, community elders, tradespersons and officers from the public health system to provide the facilities necessary to deliver dental services in regional Queensland. Although at the time it was “just what I did” looking back now, Dulcie realises that community development work started for her more than a decade ago.
Mohammed Yusuf has been President of the Darra Islamic Society for the past 4 years. During this time, he has lead the community in the construction of their Mosque and Islamic Centre. This project has been successfully achieved despite appearing beyond the capacity of this small community.
When asked whether he considered himself a “leader” Mohammed Yusuf replied “Yes in position, but not in intent. I am part of the group. I just lead by example.”
Mohammed explains his philosophy of leadership as “it’s important to get people involved, and to do this you must win their confidence.” According to him, leaders need to “be involved and show people the vision”. Mohammed believes successful leaders have “... the ability to inspire others, [and] … the ability to listen, and effectively communicate”. Moreover, he adds they “… must be able to accept criticism and suggestions”.
“I feel rewarded when I help to enrich and empower people,” says Leonie Leong President of the Chinese History Association Inc. (CHA), reflecting on the rewards of being involved in and developing community based projects. Leonie recalls her involvement with multicultural Chinese community activities developed from her own attempts to trace her family history.
Leonie notes “It began with travelling, that became a journey of discovery, trying to find out things about myself … discovering my cultural identity. I wondered if others were doing the same thing, wondering about their heritage or history as well. That’s when I decided to use the web, to share my learning, so that it could be a resource for others interested in the same adventure, both now and in the future a tool to help others while helping [myself].”
Francescesca Lejeune is an active member of many programs that support children and young people within the wider community. She is actively involved in the Maternity Coalition Queensland, an organisation whose focus is to advocate for improvements in maternity care for women during pregnancy, birth and early parenting. She is one of the parents initially involved in the development of, and past committee convenor, for Flipside Circus, a community based children’s circus. She also manages the Kids Help Line Peer Skills program in Queensland.
Asked how she became so involved in community activities Francesca responds “I was a young mother, I was connecting with other mums. That was a fantastic experience of becoming involved in a new mum’s support group, which was set up by the Baby Health Clinic … near where I lived, and that got me really interested in the idea of people connecting and really helping each other.”
“I tend to get involved in things that make a useful difference.”
Chris Milne, a teacher at a Brisbane state high school, thrives on opportunities to “make a difference” in her school, the local environment, her community and her city.
Chris has been involved in initiating a bushcare group that operates within her school as well as in the community and through a partnership with Brisbane City Council will be helping establish a frog habitat in land adjacent to the school. Chris also coordinates a peer mediation program at her school.