It was an absolute honour to meet and speak with the incredibly inspiring and thought provoking Abigail Disney last week. As heiress to the Disney Family fortune, Abigail now uses her wealth and status as a social activist filmmaker, humanitarian and philanthropist. She is a wife, mother and general “advocate for women’s political leadership at all levels of the political spectrum”. Her Oscar-listed documentary “Pray The Devil Back To Hell”, tells the remarkable story of Liberian women who dared to challenge the barriers of gender and politics in Africa to end a century of civil war. One of these incredible women – Leymah Gbowee has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Hearing her stories of women doing amazing things, of remarkable individuals fundamentally changing the world, it would have been so easy to have walked away with a feeling of inadequacy and question as to what I could really contribute to the bigger picture.
But what Abigail so eloquently shared in her unique and accessible way was that each of us, as individuals, can become architects of change. By taking on the responsibility of being a single brick in the wall of change, of not tolerating acceptance of wrong and doing the best we possibly can, we can all make a difference to the bigger picture.
And for me this resonated on so many levels;
• within my own family unit – I was forced to start thinking about the role model I am to my children; the rules, as parents, we set in our own little part of the world that will fundamentally affect the attitudes of acceptance that my children will ultimately have in their adult world
• in business – the values I instill in my workings with those around me as well as my own non-negotiables; the confidence to have a voice, to not tolerate wrongdoing and to support others in their dreams as well as my own
• and with each other – what can we do better and differently to instill self-esteem, give voices to others and build an increased awareness of each other’s absolute right to have a place on this earth.
The timing could not have been more perfect as I launched the Little Black Dress Group’s “First Seeds Fund” – our strategic philanthropic approach to supporting women and children at the grassroots of Australia with a focus on education and employment.
I thank you Abigail for teaching me so much and allowing me to see the possibilities and I ask you, the reader, what can you do to be a brick in the wall of change in your own part of the world?