HG is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Melanie Boursnell as our new Executive Director Leadership & Learning.

An experienced Executive and Non-Executive Director who has contributed to improved health and social outcomes in a multitude of areas, Dr Boursnell specialises in scaling leadership, capability development, engagement and change and is a lifelong learner.

She is passionate about the intersection of health, wellbeing, innovation and social responsibility to help leaders excel.

In this special feature, we recognise the significant contribution of female leaders by sharing some of their insights. We asked Dr Boursnell two simple but powerful questions in honour of International Women’s Day.

This is what she told us.

This year’s theme for IWD is #BreakTheBias, focusing on forging an inclusive, diverse, and equal future between genders. What would you say is the most important action that needs to be taken to achieve this?

I’m a believer in the best person for the job and supporting them once they are in a role to be the best that they can be in that role.  I know this sounds simple, yet we still struggle to do this. We need to have ongoing, honest conversations and provide constructive feedback enabling people to thrive and flourish.

As leaders, IWD is a reminder of personally committing to lead with integrity without bias or judgement.

For me, diversity and equality is complex more than dominant gender-based paradigms. To create equality, we need to dig deep and understand what leading an inclusive, diverse and safe environment looks like and then take action to create this.

What is the best leadership advice you have ever been given?

Recently, as I step into this exciting new role, I consider how I can consolidate my experience in executive and board roles with a long career in public service.

I’ve reflected on my leadership practice and how I need to spend time on the balcony. I was once told that too many leaders jump into operations because this is comfortable for them.  Leaders become too focussed on what’s in front of them rather than being able to think in a ‘joined up’ way.

As leaders, it is our role to ‘see’ the whole system and understand how it operates understanding the rhythms and flows. This means being savvy to see how the human and mechanical systems (i.e., policies, processes, systems, and structure) work together to create a state of homeostasis.

This joining extends to our networks being grateful for the value and time required to build relationships.

So, what would I say to others, I’m a believer in bringing my whole self to work and lead with confidence. I genuinely care about the contribution I make to health services; I strive to always do and be my best.

Leadership, like other things we commit to takes ongoing work and learning. Excellent leaders, from my perspective, strive to create a balance between strategic and personal objectives by being open and transparent, in the right amounts and continually engage in learning!

I look forward to meeting you all, please reach out to me for a chat and I’d love to meet you!