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Dr Kirstin Ferguson only Australian to be named in global top thinkers list

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Madeline Hislop

January 22, 2021

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is the only Australian to have been named in a list of 30 international leadership and management “thinkers to watch” for 2021.

The London based group Thinkers 50 recognised Ferguson as a corporate leader who is an advocate for emotionally intelligent leadership, as well as a “fearless champion of women supporting each other in the workplace”.

Thinkers 50 announces 30 thinkers to watch at the start of each year, offering a diverse mix of people who they believe will make an impact with their ideas, campaigning and passion in the year ahead.

Other thinkers to have been named on the list by Thinkers 50 include Spanish bio-medic scientist Jenifer Clausell-Tormos, Russian-born China marketing expert and entrepreneur Ashley Galina Dudarenok, and Founder and CEO of WorldBlu Traci Fenton.

Ferguson is a company director and has spent over a decade on a range of company boards. She also coaches some of Australia’s top executives and co-wrote the award-winning book Women Kind: Unlocking the Power of Women Supporting Women. Most recently, she served a term as the Deputy Chair of the ABC.

“I was blown away to see my writing and work in leadership recognised in this way,” she told Women’s Agenda.

“I am truly passionate about helping good leaders become great and within that, helping women to be the leaders that they can and should be. To have this kind of focus recognised amongst a list of outstanding international leadership and management professors who are all leaders in their field is beyond my wildest expectations. It really shows how important it is to find your voice and to not be afraid to use it.”

In 2017, just after Donald Trump’s election, Ferguson created the wildly popular international social media campaign, #CelebratingWomen, sharing the stories and photos of real women from around the world.

“I made a commitment to see if I could celebrate two women from all over the world every day for a year and ended up celebrating 757 women from 37 countries and it was by far the most rewarding year of my life,” she told Women’s Agenda last year.

On top of her leadership and executive roles, Ferguson writes about leadership for Forbes, with one of her recent columns detailing why leaders and governments should rethink their approach to leadership in light of the pandemic.

“The global pandemic offers a rare opportunity to reimagine the way we build responsive and responsible organisation, both in the government and private sector,” she wrote. “This also requires leaders themselves to acknowledge the need for change and to build trustful engagement with those they lead.”

“As we have witnessed this year, world leaders who have been slow to act or have been unable to adapt to the uncertainties the pandemic has caused have, in many countries, cost lives amongst their citizens. There is a lesson in that tragedy for every leader.”

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