Josie McLean is a remarkable woman on a mission. While her work as an executive coach at The Partnership and founding fellow of the Institute of Coaching Professionals Australia, is having a major impact on leaders and organisations globally, Josie is deeply committed to environmental sustainability and the empowerment of our next generation of female leaders.
In 2004 she co-found Be The Change Australia, an organisation dedicated to inspiring and educating individuals, organisations and communities on a path to a sustainable and fulfilling future; and earlier this year she joined Chooks SA as an ambassador working with women to play big and bold as an entrepreneur.
“In 2003 I had an epiphany. Not only did I notice, in a fairly shocking way, that the role of the executive within many of Australia’s major corporates was fuelling a system that continued to exploit the resources of people and the planet; but perhaps more shocking was that my own work was enabling this outcome as I too was working within the current system rather than intervening to evolve it consciously”.
Josie started wondering how she could contribute in a way that would support whole systems change. In 2004 she became a volunteer with The Pachamama Alliance, a not-for-profit based in San Francisco that was born out of a relationship between a group of people from the modern world and the leaders of several remote indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest basin.
While she learnt much about an integrated view of sustainability and how environmental sustainability solutions are also closely connected to issues of spirituality, social justice and financial viability; spending much of her time volunteering, her business almost went broke.
“(almost going broke) was a valuable lesson to finding a way to be paid for doing work that I was passionate about – creating sustainable futures”.
I started researching what was known about leadership and transforming organisations to nurture rather than exploit natural resources (including people). It was this quest that led me to Harvard in 2007, and in 2009 begin an eight-year journey to complete a PhD – which I am very excited to have just submitted!
During this time I built my business from executive coaching to leadership and organisational development specialising in culture change, an area that is notoriously difficult to register success.
When asked about the biggest challenge for women, Josie reflects on her own experience and that of the women she encountered,
“I think there is a two-fold challenge. The first is not dreaming big enough. In my experience, women (including myself) are still playing too small. We need big and bold visions.”
The second, she says is “We need to play according to some new rules. We don’t need more enterprises that perpetuate the mess. We need purposeful businesses that nurture those who work in them”.
Josie has a strong belief that the world is calling out for more feminine energy. The challenge, as she puts is “to meet that need, boldly and in our own distinctive way.”
If you’re interested in connecting with Josie and being part of the movement to create more female founders who are playing big and bold, then reach out to her on Linked In or indeed connect with Chooks SA on Facebook.
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