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Sarah Cretch

Sarah Cretch

Development Associate, Emergency Exit Arts

What attributes should a good leader have?

They should be truthful, fair and honest. Perhaps most importantly they should be honest with themselves and able to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and see the bigger picture. It is about good judgement, hard decisions and ability to communicate and engage a wide range of people in understanding this. Barak Obama is the obvious example, what I admire most is how his personal & public life are both consistent with his political and moral values.

Does having a disability or impairment mean you experience leadership differently?

Having a chronic illness means you cannot be as physically consistent in the same ways as able bodied people. You have to be more considered in your decisions as you do not have the stamina to steam roller things through you have to constantly negotiate and restate your position. Overcoming difficulties every day such as chronic pain means you develop a really good strategic and problem solving mind and you know how to change. This also means you recognise the hardship other people face and can represent a broad constituent of experiences.

What barriers do you think disabled people experience in relation to leadership?

Gaining a leadership role is often about politics and perception as much as real skill and integrity. Disabled people are at a disadvantage as they have to educate people about the nature of disability and chronic health problems at the same time as showcasing their own individual skills and attributes. Added to this access issues regarding day to day things such as meeting venues, meeting times etc, etc.