1 May 2018
The She Leads In-Conversation Series provides Canberrans with the opportunity to hear from women leaders from different backgrounds and industries in a conversational format, followed by a live Q&A session, networking, and canapes. Our May In-Conversation event will feature Jax Jacki Brown and Yen Eriksen, centering around activism, disability, human rights, the LGBTIQ community, and equality.
Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTIQ activist, writer, public speaker, disability sexuality educator and workshop designer and facilitator. Jax holds a BA in Cultural Studies and Communication where she examined the intersections between disability and LGBTIQ identities and their respective rights movements. Jax is a member of the Victorian Ministerial Council on Women’s Equality, The Victorian governments’ LGBTI taskforce Health and Human Services Working Group and The Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Disability Reference Group. She was named one of the 25 LGBTI People to Watch in 2015 and is a co-producer of Quippings: Disability Unleashed a disability performance troupe in Melbourne. Jax teaches in disability at Victoria University and enjoys transmitting her passion for disability rights into practical applications for students. Through her presentations at conferences and universities, and her extensive publications, she provides a powerful insight into the reasons why society needs to change, rather than people with disabilities.
Describe your leadership journey in 30 words or less.
I am uncomfortable with the word leader, because often leaders take up space and drown out voices of those who may be more marginalised or quieter.
Are leaders self-appointed or do the communities they belong to appoint them? And how do leaders be open to ongoing feedback and difficult conversations with the communities they are part of?
I do the work I do, in LGBTIQ Disability rights, because I must. Because I must hope for a more just and inclusive world, and I hope my ideas and passion contribute in some small way to that. My ‘leadership journey’ is one of self reflection and hope, and drive.
If I am a leader, it’s a collaborative one.
What was (or is) your biggest leadership challenge?
How to sustain hope for a more just and inclusive world, when at times, progress towards that can seem so slow.
I also hope that in the spaces where I may do some leading, that I try and make space for people who hold different perspectives to me, who hold more intersectionality than I do, who have perspectives and opinions which are given very little space to be heard.
I think the diversity in the LGBTIQ community and the diversity in the disability community is the most wonderful and challenging thing of working across the intersection of these communities. I often consider, how do I hold and make space for that diversity whilst also making a claim for rights and equality, and how do we find unity in our struggles?
Through understanding our oppression, our resilience, and our resistance.
Why do we need more women in leadership, and what difference can women in leadership make in terms of gender equality?
Because its one key way of moving towards equality, because they bring a different perspective and different demands. A broader question would be ‘why do we need more diversity in leadership that goes beyond tokenism’.
What book should every aspiring woman leader read?
Something that politically articulates those aspects of themselves that they have been taught to feel ashamed of, a book that helps them re-imagine themselves as worthy, as whole, as valued, and as powerful. I have found some of those books for myself and they changed my life.
I hope you can all find them, or write them.
Share with us the best piece of advice you’ve been given.