Leadership resources for the sustainable fashion advocate

Too often leadership is defined as someone who leads from a position of power. The CEO, the politician, the head of your local charity. It is a form of leadership from which women are often poorly represented. Of course we need more women in these leadership positions, but there are also many men and women who don’t aspire to be leaders in this way.  Does this mean that they have nothing to offer as leaders?

Thankfully there is a far more inclusive view of leadership. The view of leadership that I ascribe to recognises the leadership potential in all of us, all of the time. For me, leadership is about influence and you have on the people around you and your ability to influence the people that you interact with each small action. To be a leader is a strive to make a positive impact on those around you. Whether they be your children, your friends, your neighbours, your colleagues, or even members of your online community.

If we care about an issue, we all have the capacity to take leadership on that issue in small ways. By talking to your friends about the environmental harms of conventional cotton. By asking your favourite fashion brand why the quality of their clothing has deteriorated in recent years. By telling your local supermarket that you expect them to start stocking Fairtrade coffee. You don’t have to be in the spotlight to be a leader. You can inspire others to change with your millions of small actions each year and be a leader in that way, if that is how you prefer to lead.

So if you want to make a difference, by taking on sustainable fashion leadership or leadership on some other issue that is important to you, consider yourself a leader already. Here are some resources that I recommend to help empower you in your leadership journey so that you can lead change in the way that makes sense for you.

(Just a heads up that some of these links are affiliate links. My blog will receive a small commission if you click and make a purchase- the price is the same for you. Any small commissions help this blog and the leadership role that I am playing. I appreciate your support)

1. Seth Godin’s Leadership Course on Udemy (online video course)

Seth Godin is well known for inspiring entrepreneurs and innovators to build authentic businesses and initiatives that make and impact on the world and which are an authentic representation of the person who has built them. This course is presented in partnership with +Acumen, a global learning community for social change makers. The course include practical tools such as your personal leadership notebook to help you step up and create change in your community or workplace.

2. Getting to Maybe: How the world is changed (book)

This is by far the best book that I have ever read on social innovation and creating community change. If you are curious about how social change is lead and initiated, or if you have ever dreamed of starting your own social enterprise, not-for-profit, activist group or socially minded business, this book will give you the tools an insight to start for yourself.

3. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop on Udemy (online video course)

Creativity isn’t just for artists. If you dream of something that is different to the status quo then you are in touch with your creativity. But too many of us have a dream, and then we let the negative voices in our heads talk us out of it. Our default setting is comfort and the status quo. To push ourselves out of our comfort zone and lead change, we need to let go of our creative fear. This course is also presented in partnership with +Acumen, so it is designed to give social change makers the tools they need to embrace creativity in their leadership journey. If a video workshop doesn’t suit your learning style, you might also enjoy her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Her Ted Talk is also very good.

4. Lead Mama Lead (facebook group)

Women are told that we can ‘have it all’- a career, a family, and that elusive work-life balance. But once your have children the narrative in the workplace is quite different. Women are expected to put their ambitions on hold, unless they are willing to work as if they have no children to care for. But I feel differently about motherhood and leadership. Motherhood has taught me resilience, patience and perspective. It has taught me to use my time effectively and to better manage my energy. It has given me the headspace to be more creative, because long hours spent at the park with little ones gives you plenty of time to think. I strongly believe that mothers should be empowered to lead without being expected to sacrifice all their time with their children. My dissatisfaction with my work after becoming a mother has been a catalyst in my career. It motivated me to pursue things that would have scared me before, and now I work for myself with clients who rave about the work that I do. If you are a mother who wants more from your leadership journey, join my facebook group to find support and inspiration on your leadership journey. The resources and conversation we share can be applied to your workplace, to your side project and to your community activism. In fact, I strongly encourage mothers to find a passion project- such as sustainable fashion advocacy – as a way to fulfill their leadership potential.

5. Leading When You Are Not in Charge Course on Udemy (online video course)

This course is particularly relevant for people who want to influence their workplaces. Perhaps you want to encourage greener office practices where you work. But the skills included will also be helpful for you in your efforts to lead environmental change in fashion or in your community. The course teaches you best practice leadership principles so that anyone can lead anytime. Overcome your belief that you are not a leader and learn how you can start to lead.

6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking (book)

If you are an introvert, like myself, it is easy to assume that leadership isn’t for you. The Western world is arranged in a way that favours an extroverted way of being, and an extroverted model of leadership. But it is possible to lead in a way that suits introverts. Famous introverts include Arianna Huffington, Gandhi, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Emma Watson. Understanding more about yourself and what energises you, how to replenish your energy, and how to push yourself gently out of your comfort zone are key. Susan Cain’s book is a great place to start.

7. Fizzle (online courses & community)

Starting this blog has been a huge catalyst in my leadership journey. It has been amazing to hear my readers respond to what I write, and tell me that they’ve gained new insights into sustainable fashion. I often hear that my 20 Day Challenge has given readers the knowledge they need to fully commit to sustainable fashion. I love knowing that this blog is part of my sustainable fashion advocacy.

But starting and growing a blog can be daunting, and at times you feel like giving up. One resource that has been so useful in supporting my sustainable fashion leadership has been Fizzle. It is affordable ($35 a month) and has numerous courses and a private online community to keep you inspired and give you the knowledge and strategies you need to build your blog and reach a greater audience. The first 2 weeks are free, so if you have ever dreamed of starting a blog (or a sustainable business), or you are in the process of doing so, I would urge you to give them a try.

There are many more resources that I could share. But these are some useful and powerful resources that can help you to inspire change and advocate for a more sustainable fashion industry and a more just economy. Let me know if you try they out, or if you have any other resources to recommend. I’d love to hear your thoughts on leadeship too, so leave a comment below and join the discussion.