We have a really exciting addition to Spark the Change in Philippa Taylor. She will be our MC and the host of the event.

Despite her humility, Philippa has had decorated success in her career so far. She is a successful non executive director and board advisor, having worked with ASX listed boards, private company boards, family boards, government boards and NFP boards. She is the CEO of The Ducendi Group and Director of International Women’s Development Agency

Philippa is a pro in terms of hosting large groups of people through learning experiences. She has facilitated large scale change programs, small intimate workshops and large conferences, and lends her experience to Spark to Change because she believes in the cause.

Philippa has been involved with defining how you will get the most out of the day and her experience has been greatly valued.

So, I’m really excited that we’ll be having you as the MC for Spark the Change. Tell me a little about what’s exciting to you to be a part of it?

It’s exciting to be a part of a group of people who are passionate about helping people Spark Change in their organisations and in the workforce. Hopefully these sparks help create a happier work environment for them and those around them.

Why do you think that’s important?

I think we spend a lot of time at work so it should be an environment where we can be most like ourselves, where we are encouraged to stretch and grow so we surprise ourselves by going beyond what we believe our capabilities to be.

In your experience, do people feel that way in their roles?

Sadly, not everyone does.  It depends on the company and its leaders. That sort of culture is driven by the mindset of formal and informal leaders within organisations.

Elaborate on what you mean by informal leaders?

Anybody can be a leader, regardless of title or role. I define a leader as someone who influences someone else to act or behave in a particular way.

A good leader is someone who wants to help others grow and be bigger and better than they were before because they know this is good for them, the team and the organisation. Therefore, poor leaders are people who diminish others, make them feel smaller or keep them small by holding them back.

Unfortunately there are both types of leaders in the workforce.

For the leaders coming to Spark the Change then, how can they prepare themselves?

Allow themselves to reflect on the things that they themselves may want to be different. It’s worth spending a bit of time focusing on the outcome they want – what do they want to change, how would they like it to be?

I often use this analogy when working with leaders:

You’re like a captain of a cruise ship. You need to know where you’re heading – the port that is your destination.  Knowing that helps you plan the route you’ll take, but it’s okay not to know the exact route. Great captains have a plan, but also keep an open mind because the unexpected might happen so they may need to alter course, all the while keeping a clear focus on the final destination.

As long as you’re clear about where you’re heading, a hurricane can come along but you still know where you’re going. You can weather the storm and come out the other side and get back on course because you still know where you’re trying to get to in the end.

Is there anything else worth people doing before they come in?

We’ve got an amazing line up of people coming to speak. There will be at least once piece of gold that comes from every speaker. Don’t come in thinking you have to take away every single piece of information. Look for the gold and the wow moments and make sure you can capture that. It’s those one or two sparks that will be meaningful for you that will start to create the change you want to see.

Interview by Ringo Thomas