055: Awakening of the unlikely leader in you with Cathy Burke With Cathy Burke

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The trend around the globe is indicative of lesser women in the leadership role as they view themselves to be unlikely, to be a leader. This is because, most often then not, people stick around the narrow theories and models of leadership that outline the necessity to possess certain traits to be a leader when, in reality, everyone has the leadership ability. It is just a matter of activation.

Women are too conscious of the burden of leadership and undermine the benefit they can bring to themselves and their community through their leadership. As a woman, do not wait for a big reason to step up or hold the situation to be blamed. You need to realise that it is the mindset that is stopping you from being a leader.

Rather than sticking to the orthodoxia mindset of men being better leaders, women need to be aware of such mindset which requires you to lead yourself first. Take a stock of your own capabilities and strengths. Things can be challenging, intimidating and threatening but ask yourself, ‘what are the costs and benefits of stepping up, raising your hand, raising your voice, and embracing leadership?’

Our guest for this episode, Cathy Burke, strongly urges all the women who may see yourself unlikely to be a leader, you need to know that you are enough, as you are, to lead. Rooted in her decades’ experience of working with millions of women villagers, she offers hands-on tips to activate that unlikely leader in oneself because it has never been more important to activate this in organisations and communities, worldwide. So, tune in into this episode to know more on ways and techniques to awaken the unlikely leader in yourself.


  • ·     Knowing Cathy Burke (3:05)

  • ·     Context of Unlikely Leader (4:26)

  • ·     Unlikely leader: Women villagers (5:52)

  • ·     Unlikely leader notion amongst educated women (6:42)

  • ·     Pillar of leadership: Mindset (10:00)

  • ·     Technique of working with mindset: Noticing (13:54)

  • ·     Technique of working with mindset: Questioning (15:11)

  • ·     Importance of ‘role model’ to change the mindset of unlikely leaders (17:45)

  • ·     What does authenticity mean for (unlikely) leaders? (21:41)

  • ·     Blockages for unlikely leaders (women) (25:50)

  • ·     Top five tips for leaders (32:05)

  • ·     Know that you are enough, as you are, to lead (32:20)

  • ·     Leadership is an inside job (33:30)

  • ·     To be authentic to future you (34:44)

  • ·     Expect leadership to be messy and confusing (35:42)

  • ·     Having a vision (37:03)


White paper: cathyburke.com/white-paper

Book: Unlikely Leaders: Lessons in leadership from village classroom

Book: Lead In: Mindsets to lead, live and work differently  

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Cathy is a globally recognised facilitator of human development and women’s leadership.

For 20 years she was the CEO for The Hunger Project Australia, and then Global Vice President, working to end hunger across South Asia and Africa.

Cathy now works with organisations and leaders around the world to support, empower and activate leadership that is inclusive and impactful. Cathy is married with two children, and lives in the hinterland of Byron Bay on 100 acres. When not writing, coaching or training, she can be found swimming in the local creek with her dog Leo

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