Take a chance or make a chance: Our 2016 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner

There are many factors that come into play in order to be called a leader, and even more to be a global leader. I would like to focus on just one of the core factors: initiative.

Just after graduating from my undergraduate degree in journalism back in Mexico I was contacted by a recruiter via LinkedIn and got offered an amazing job opportunity. It paid very well, had great benefits and a lot of responsibilities. A colleague and I were the sole editors for the whole Latin American region for one of the three biggest financial ratings companies in the world. I was getting so comfortable that I nearly forgot why I went into journalism – to make a positive impact on the world. I was volunteering with indigenous women on the weekends, but I probably was not going to change the world in the way I wanted to with my financial editor role. So I decided to quit. Letting go of a job like that was difficult but I knew if I didn’t leave then it would only get harder to leave later.

I started looking for international scholarships and universities and I ended up coming to Australia to study a Master of Development Studies and Culture Change. It was the right choice. As soon as I heard of the Global Leadership Program I knew I had to sign up. Who would ever let an opportunity like this go? It provided access to amazing learning opportunities; people who were leaders in their fields; and it was free! Joining the GLP was the best decision I made while studying at Macquarie.

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Priscilla speaking at a panel on gender equality and the HeForShe Campaign at Macquarie Sex Week, 2016. Photo: Sam Browne.

Firstly, the Program encouraged us to attend events that we might have liked to attend, but with a busy academic schedule, would probably not make the time for otherwise. In one of those events I approached someone from the UN Women Australia Committee, talked to them about how I thought they could promote their campaigns in universities and soon after graduation I started promoting the HeForShe Campaign at Macquarie. I even had the opportunity to speak at a panel during Macquarie’s Sex Week 2016 about gender equality and the HeForShe Campaign.

Secondly, completing the GLP involved participation in 6 Think Tanks—this was my favourite part. Not only do you get to learn things that your degree doesn’t cover, but the Convenors are also leaders in their fields. I am deeply interested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and I got the opportunity to undertake the Leading Responsible Workplaces Think Tank offered by Dr. Debbie Haski-Leventhal, who initiated and leads the MGSM CSR Partnership Network. As a direct consequence of that Think Tank, I got in touch with someone at a big international corporation and made my case on how much I wanted to learn about CSR and how passionate I am about social issues. As a result of this conversation, the company created an internship position for me. One highlight of my internship was designing and managing the company’s NAIDOC Week Campaign in Sydney.

I also attended the Microfinance as a Development Strategy and Recent Trends in Internet-based Financing Think Tank by Guy Winship, former CEO and founder of the not-for-profit organisation, Good Return. I was impressed by the work they do so I approached Guy at the end of his presentation and, as a result, have been with Good Return for over a year as their Corporate Relations Officer.

In this role I had the great opportunity of working with different corporate partners such as Accenture and Deloitte, and helping to organise and manage different campaigns and events. The latest event I organised was an Anti-poverty Week Breakfast themed ‘Women and Technology’ at Facebook’s offices in Australia.

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Good Return’s Women and Technology panel at Facebook. Photo: Priscilla.

Showing initiative does not necessarily mean starting a movement or an organisation, sometimes it can be as little as asking for an opportunity—or asking Facebook to host an event.

It doesn’t take much, just a simple question. Initiative is not hard if you consider that you already have the ‘no’, so you might as well try for the ‘yes’.

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The Good Return team, with Priscilla bottom left.


Written by GLP alumna, Priscilla Madrid Valero. Priscilla graduated from a Master of Development Studies and Culture Change in 2015 and has been working for over a year with Good Return, a not-for-profit agency committed to eradicating poverty through responsible microfinance and skills development programs. 

At the GLP Innovative Leaders Series in September this year, Priscilla was award the GLP Outstanding Alumni Award for her embodiment of the GLP values – cross-cultural competency, leadership ability, community responsibility and global citizenship. The GLP team are inspired by Priscilla’s impressive drive and initiative and her effectiveness in seizing opportunities, collaborating and consistently building influential relationships throughout all her experiences. 

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