The importance of role models

The importance of role models
Ruth Hunt – Director of Public Affairs
Liam Nolan – Head, Perry Beaches School
Chair – Luke Tryl, Senior Education Officer
Relevance of sexual orientation
Not just a private issue
It’s a depressing thing to have to do, to have to shield and hide parts of
yourself and not be fully who you are at work. I think that kills your creativity.
It’s just this whole other thing you have to constantly think about and
remember to keep under wraps.
The person I am at work now is me rather than a doctored version of me. If
you’re not 100% yourself then how can you be 100% involved and 100%
committed and putting 100% in? It’s not that I wasn’t working hard before but
there’s no detachment or reservation now where there was before.
People perform better when they can be themselves:
• Efficient
• Confident
• Form better relationships
• Creative
• Motivated
• Enjoy going to work and enjoy where they work
Being ourselves
‘Who we are really matters to what we do and how we do it.’
• ‘Bringing your whole self’ being who you are, more often and
more effectively is a good thing.
• Consistency with examined values and behaviour
• People notice when you show up…or don’t
• Interested in others – authenticity is about more than the
• Not always about being out – choice making
When working with young people, it’s not
always about being out:
As a lesbian I feel we need more fairy liquid.
As a gay man, I’m concerned about the maths results.
As a bisexual person, I’d like to know what we’re doing about
the gangs.
It is relevant when:
You don’t feel able to suggest that someone might be
being bullied because they are gay.
Your school newsletter celebrates a colleagues marriage
but no-one knows about your civil partnership.
You hope your boss doesn’t find out you’re gay because
she’s responsible for your career development.
What needs to be in place:
Clear support to be out
A culture that values role models
Anti-bullying policies that are shared across the
Visible senior support
Discrimination not tolerated
Liam Nolan
What is a role model?
How am I a role model?
What do I need to be a role model?
What do I expect from others?
What a role model isn’t:
On a pedestal
Always senior
Heroic/ extraordinary
Inspiring for everyone
That same as all other role models
Questions for you:
1. Describe a ‘bad’ role model
2. Describe a ‘good’ role model
3. Do you consider yourself a role model
Practical steps
– The law and being out
– Being a governor
– Volunteering in local groups
– Stonewall Youth Leader
Practical steps
Being a sponsor, not just a role model