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      Q&A: Bernie Black steps up in the brave world of leadership   When Bernie Black pitched at    ADM’s 2018 Annual Funding Event   , she knew exactly why she needed to be there: leadership development. Her organisation had grown and she needed help to lead well. Bernie’s idea landed and she won funding to participate in Harvard’s Kennedy School as well as in year-long mentoring through ADM’s Hub program of innovation. ADM wanted to hear about some of the things she learned in Boston—beside Red Sox baseball—knowing her insights would be helpful for others.       ADM:  In 2009, you founded the Brave Foundation in response to your own experiences as a teen parent. Tell us a bit about how the work has grown since.    Bernie : The vision of the Brave Foundation is to build a village of support and acceptance around expecting and parenting teens. Brave is the 10-year over-night success; in fact, we celebrate our 10-year anniversary in July 2019, with Her Excellency Kate Warner hosting us at Government House in Tasmania.   I am the Founding Director and essentially Brave is what I looked for and couldn’t find as a 16-year old expecting teen. I was shocked, very alone and scared at this time. So I made myself three promises late into my pregnancy: 1.) to somehow be a good mum – I’d hardly held a baby and wasn’t a maternal girl; 2.) to finish my secondary school education —I had no idea how to do this either; and 3.) if I fulfilled the first two, I would write something for others in the same situation.   In 2006, I wrote  Brave Little Bear  (this is the meaning of my name Bernadette), and due to its success, created Brave Foundation in 2009. Soon, people called me from all over Australia to find out how the expecting or parenting teen in their life could be connected to education and support. That was the beginning of our Directory of Services, which now has over 600 organisations listed and referred to nationally.   What I didn’t realise in the early days was that it would take time for Australia to have a conversation about how to help young parents. I learned how important it is to share a compelling vision with widely varied stakeholders. For me it’s now about knowing my audience and why my message matters to them. For example, the economic benefits of supporting young people in vulnerable situations may be more important to some, while others might care about the social impact we have.   But whether we have ever supported or known a young parent or not, we are all part of the Brave village. Just one positive voice, one ‘You can do it! ’ or one smile that smashes a stigma reminds us that we all have a role to play in helping those at risk of disadvantage, which many young parents can be.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Bernie graduates from her leadership course at Harvard’s Kennedy School.  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


      ADM: Last year, you pitched at our 2018 Annual Funding Event. What were you hoping to get out of that experience? What happened?    Bernie:  It was a very empowering experience, and one I’m grateful for. A dear mentor and friend nominated me, so I felt encouraged from the get go. At the time, I was dreaming about the possibility of learning from an executive course at Harvard’s Kennedy School in Boston, MA. But that course, “Women and Power: Leadership in a New Generation” is one I couldn’t fund myself, even though I knew it could help solidify my leadership skills while strengthening and expanding the work of Brave Foundation where I serve as CEO.   So when I filled in the application for the Annual Funding Event, I explained that I would use the prize money to pay those course fees. I was astonished when I won my category!  Not only have I been blessed by participating in the Harvard Kennedy course (even to go there!), but the growth, strategy and direction of Brave has since increased dramatically. That means we’re able to help more people at risk of experiencing disadvantage, especially expecting and parenting teens. The women and team at ADM really champion women in the unique lanes they run in. The whole experience (of AFE and The Hub) has been a massive gift, personally, spiritually and professionally.      ADM: So your dream came true and you travelled to Harvard earlier this year for its leadership course. What were some of key insights you gained during your time there?    Bernie:  I learned that according to research most women are reluctant to ask questions. We likely get sweaty palms, question our questions a million times over, and even after this arduous process, we often decide  not  to ask the question. Research also shows that most men skip this process entirely and just ask a question without over-thinking; nor are they worried if the question doesn’t sound great. The moral of the story here is we need to ask questions and then ask more questions. Ladies, raise a hand because we need your perspective and influence.  Another key insight was realising that our vulnerability is a gift to others and can be a strength. The power of your ‘North Star’ story can also gain more traction in the career world, rather than your ‘Gold Star’ story, according to research. The Gold Star story is the one we often tell on our CV’s and biographies, which include your qualifications, roles, leadership advancement, experiences, etc. Your North Star story, however, uses your personal story of survivorship and vulnerability, and this creates a community of followers who are energised by your ideas, leadership and pioneering. When both the Gold Star and North Star elements of a person’s career and life story are told together, there is an increased opportunity for career advancement and personal joy and fulfillment.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              While in Boston, Bernie managed to catch a Boston Red Sox game.  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Finally, I learned about transformational and transactional leadership styles. I use a transformational leadership style, and research shows that women innately use this style because it creates longer lasting changes in a culture.   Four core ingredients of transformational leadership are:  •Individualised attention: why does what you are saying to someone matter to  them ?;  •Inspirational motivation: where you are taking the listener inspires them;   •Idealised themes: how connecting values and ethics with the person listening motivates them;  •Intellectual stimulation: acknowledges and challenges intellectual gifts.  Studies show women come out stronger than men in the use individualised attention.      ADM: What would you say are practical ways women can grow as leaders or as people of influence in their respective areas?    Bernie:  Perseverance, passion, persistence, sacrifice and lifelong learning! Keep knocking on doors and be bold. Keep asking questions. I went to Canberra 10 years ago but we didn’t receive federal funding until 2018. We need to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing.   I now have the privilege of reading the stories of young women in our Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teen program (who we assist intensively). As I do, I learn of the promises they make themselves, changing their own lives and their child’s as well as the generations beyond. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would live to see what is currently operating across Australia and am so grateful that I kept at it to be a part of this work.     ADM: As one of the winners last year at the AFE, what advice would you give to those women who are pitching this year?    Bernie:  Practice your five-minute pitch, but don’t overcook it. Authenticity is key. I wrote down five key points for each minute on a small palm card, in case I needed it, and it did help with my nerves.   By sharing a part of your personal story in your pitch, you can create a sense of transparency and vulnerability, which is a real strength. Be  you — that’s who all of us want to see because the world needs  your  idea. Enjoy the moment and regardless of the outcome, be prepared to make connections that will last, friends you haven’t met yet!       ADM:  What verse continues to inspire you as a woman flourishing in your work?    Bernie:  “If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in the large ones,” -Luke 16:10.     Find out more about our    Annual Funding Event    and    Hub    for Christian women    here         At the Annual Funding Event (AFE), ADM awards funding to Australian Christian women to support them and multiply their effectiveness as they use their opportunities and gifts to develop gospel-shaped innovations. Applications are now open!    At the AFE, invitations will also be issued to become part of our Incubator Program. Our incubator is a community for Christian women leading for-profits, charities or community initiatives seeking to do gospel-shaped work.

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Q&A: Bernie Black steps up in the brave world of leadership

When Bernie Black pitched at ADM’s 2018 Annual Funding Event, she knew exactly why she needed to be there: leadership development. Her organisation had grown and she needed help to lead well.

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      Workship – With Author Kara Martin  Kara Martin has wrestled with issues of faith and work for decades. Her new book  Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God  is a comprehensive and highly practical guide to integrating your faith and work. Kara shares some of the insights in her book.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Can you briefly explain why you wrote this book?  I have wrestled with issues around integrating faith and work for 30 years, so this book is a natural outflowing of all my teaching, speaking, preaching and writing. It is one of the first Australian books on this topic, one of the few written by a woman, and it deals with practical as well as theological issues.    How do you define ‘workship’?  Workship brings together two things we often treat as separate: work and worship. Workship also summarises the two approaches we can make to work. We can either worship our work, or we can use our work to worship God.   What are some of the main barriers that prevent Christians (women in particular) from integrating their faith and work?  Generally, we separate 'God's work' from secular work. However, if we see work as anything we do with purpose, we understand that all work can be 'God's work' if we do it with a desire to honour God and serve others.  Studies show that women tend to undervalue the work we do, whether paid or unpaid. We need affirmation that what we do is important to God in fulfilling his commands to steward his creation, to care for his creation, to fill the earth and to do all things for his glory (see Genesis 1:26–28 and 1 Corinthians 10:31). I also think that women tend to struggle to balance our lives, wanting to serve others before we take care of ourselves. We need to learn the spiritual discipline of resting from our work.   What is the main piece of advice you would give to women who are leading two separate lives: the work life and the faith life?  I had this experience in my first job as a TV journalist. I was overwhelmed by the ethical challenges and the challenging work culture. I felt there was ‘Christian Kara’ on Sunday and ‘Journalist Kara’ on Monday. I was literally disintegrating as a Christian. I joined some other Christian journalists and we talked through issues and prayed for each other, and we held each other accountable. They helped me develop a bigger vision for my vocation as a journalist: telling stories, treating people with dignity, revealing truth, inspiring people, exposing evil, demystifying pain and struggle.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Author, Kara Martin  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     So, my tips would be to read the Bible with fresh eyes, looking to see God the worker and how he works, and look for glimpses of him at work in your workplace. Also, share your work struggles with other Christians, so you have people praying for you. We need to see our workplace as our mission field, and we need prayer and support to be an effective witness for God there.   What are some key insights you want readers to take away from this book?  My book has three sections: a biblical theology of work to orient our minds, spiritual disciplines for work to shape our hearts, and some practical wisdom for work to inspire our hands. I hope people will be energised to honour God with their ordinary, daily work, giving people a glimpse of the Kingdom.   When can we expect the second volume of  Workship  to be released?  I have already written Volume 2, which includes some more practical wisdom for the workplace, as well as ideas for churches to better equip workplace Christians. However, the publisher is waiting to see how well Volume 1 sells, so I am hopeful the demand will continue to be strong ...      To find out more or to purchase a copy of Workship, go to    workship.com.au     There are also copies of the book available for loan in the Mary Andrews College library.

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Workship – With Author Kara Martin

Kara Martin has wrestled with issues of faith and work for decades. Her new book Workship: How to Use Your Work to Worship God is a comprehensive and highly practical guide to integrating your faith and work. Kara shares some of the insights in her book.

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      The Hub and Jesus Club     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Mel Fung was selected as a participant in the Hub Winter Class 2016, based on her idea to help churches reach people with intellectual disabilities. Today Jesus Club has over 80 members in seven locations across Sydney, with another three clubs set to commence later this year. As The Hub 2016 classes finish in June, Mel shares how The Hub has enabled Jesus Club to develop and grow.      How did the idea for Jesus Club originate?   In 2004 God introduced me to a group of people with disabilities through my work as a disability support worker. I started a low-key Bible study program called ‘Jesus Club’ for some of my intellectually-disabled clients in 2006. Over the past 11 years God has grown this ministry so that the original Bible study program, run in Gladesville, has been replicated at six other churches in Sydney – with three more to start this year. This was never the vision when Jesus Club first started, but God does more than we can hope or ask for!   How has being part of the Hub program helped to realise your goals for Jesus Club?  The Hub program has been instrumental in transforming Jesus Club from a one-person-led ministry to one upheld by many Christians, each contributing their various gifts. Jesus Club now has the structures, resources and support to endure for many years and reach many people.    What is your vision for Jesus Club in the next five years?  Our vision is to see churches all over Australia reaching out to people with disabilities and genuinely welcoming them into their community. We have spent the past four years building a network of clubs in Sydney, and are planning to do the same in other states. Already there are churches in Victoria and Queensland that want to set up their own Jesus Club ministry.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     We also want to produce a comprehensive library of Bible-teaching materials for people with intellectual disabilities. Jesus Club has employed several writers, including Christians with special education training, to write material that can be used at the Jesus Club program or by anyone in the world. Our deep desire is to see our friends with disabilities enjoying all the blessings that other Christians can often take for granted, including Bible reading and teaching.   As your time with The Hub draws to a close, what would you say to other Christian women who are considering applying for The Hub program?  God has done more than I could hope or ask by providing this Hub experience. The Hub has opened my eyes to how to use entrepreneurial tools to build a ministry that can reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed meeting with like-minded women each week. God uses the various members of the body to sharpen us in our faith and our missions.    

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The Hub and Jesus Club

Jesus Club has over 80 members in seven locations across Sydney, with another three clubs set to commence later this year. As The Hub 2016 classes finish in June, Mel Fung shares how The Hub has enabled Jesus Club to develop and grow.

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