We sat down with the Business leader and award-winning expert in leadership Kirstin Ferguson about her experiences in the speaking industry and her perspectives on the future of leadership and its challenges moving forward.
Q: What is the unique perspective you, and Aussies in general, bring to the US events industry?
Kirstin: Australians are known for ‘telling it how it is’ and as a senior business leader myself with 30 years of experience leading international corporations and chairing significant corporate boards after starting my career in the military, I am able to speak from deep personal experience as I discuss leadership, trust and emotional intelligence in a wide range of contexts. I blend case studies and personal stories with a unique Australian style of authenticity and mutual respect for my audience and work to help leaders overcome the inevitable challenges they will face.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you foresee in leadership in the next 5 years?
Kirstin: All leaders who are not self-aware and are not regularly assessing the impact they are having on those around them face a challenge if they believe the way they have always led will be the most effective way to lead in the future. Just as considering their own leadership style and the way they can be most effective in driving purposeful change in the future. Younger generations are demanding leaders adjust their style to adapt to the new ways and expectations of working, requiring all leaders to understand the role they play in this change.
Q: What inspires you about the future of leadership?
Kirstin: I am excited about the many opportunities for leaders of the future – even in the face of enormous digital disruption – where to be develop truly emotionally intelligent leaders will ease the uncertainty and change that our workforces will inevitably face. Leaders with emotional intelligence can leave a powerful legacy of bold, courageous and importantly, trusted leadership which is so important for future generations as they look to their leaders to be more than just seeking to be the smartest person in the room.
Q: What made you want to become a Speaker and share your story?
Kirstin: I am passionate about sharing my professional and academic expertise in a way that relates to different kinds of people from around the world. I love to communicate and to do so in a very ‘down to earth’ and authentic way. I also love to tell stories and make complex issues and ideas easily understandable for my audience. I take the craft of being a public Speaker very seriously and I am always thinking about ways to impart the information I want to share in a way that will really leave a mark on all those who come to hear me speak.
Q: What is your most memorable event experience as a Speaker?
Kirstin: My most memorable event was speaking at a very large industry conference on an island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. It was a spectacular location and I was invited to open that particular conference with my keynote speech on leadership and trust. I was followed later in the day with a speech from a former Australian Prime Minister and also by one of the heroes of the Thai cave rescue so it was a really memorable event to be involved in.
Q: and a quick bonus question, how do you eat your vegemite?
Kirstin: I must be a real Aussie because I spread a generous helping of butter followed by a little bit of vegemite on hot white bread toast every morning. Delicious!