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7 Questions with Russell Wright
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Russell Wright
Name: Russell Wright
Current title: Executive Director
Current organisation: Create The Change Australasia
Russell has been managing disaster relief projects in both Australia and overseas since 1996. Including the Tsunami's
in Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka. He was a finalist in the Victorian Premier's awards and honoured by the Victorian
Police Operation Royals for his leadership during the Kinglake bushfire recovery.
Since 1998 has been involved in humanitarian mission activities and has led more than 350 youth on mission teams
throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Russell is passionate about helping young people to operate with integrity and
without compromise, to be fearless, and to speak the truth in love.
Russell Completed a Bachelor of Ministry degree in 1997, and participated in Emergency Management Training
courses between 2003 and 2006. An inspirational leader, he has worked with large numbers of volunteers in a range of
natural disaster events, and has established strong partnerships with government, community and corporate
organisations both in Australia and overseas
He and his lovely wife Jodie have been married 29 years and have 5 sons. And 7 grandchildren . Russell & his wife Jodie are fostering two girls.
The youngest with Special needs.
Russell combines, according to many who know him, a rare combination of being both a strategic thinker and a dynamic
man of action. He is just as at home in a disaster HQ, planning and organising resources,
transport and teams of
volunteers, as he is at the “coalface”, right in the middle of wherever the action is hottest and
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The most challenging is creating and maintaining a culture of doing the greatest good for all my networks. With people as number one. Modelling behavior is the Key and then describing the hows and whys to staff and Volunteers.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I resigned from my corporate job to do a 4 year full time ministry degree in 1994, and began volunteering in the Christian charity space. Which led to me becoming the CEO.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I may not be an example of Home life work balance, i find switching off difficult. But I do spend a large amount of my time thinking. Creating plans and structures around uśing the networks and resources in my World, to achieve the desired outcomes.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
That the Lord is the most active member of our team, missio dei
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Who moved my Cheese
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I am always on the lookout for whom I can empower, I also build a culture in my team of empowerment. I expect my team to pass on to others in the team any tasks they don't have to do personally. This Creates a stronger, more Resilient and empowered team.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I have many similar stories over the last 27 years, but one that comes to mind is I was traveling on a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane ready with a Christine Caine book. I had just decided to change the focus of the main program to assisting single parent families and was doubting my decision. When onto the plane came a mother with 5 daughters. She sat.next too me. The youngest of the siblings on her oldest sister's lap. The mother was obviously very intoxicated and was aggressive towards the oldest daughter.
The oldest daughter (she was 16)
Begin to get her sisters to be excited about the impending flight. It was their First flight.
Then the oldest daughter suggested they get earphones, This was a virgin Blue flight and earphones were $2.50 so they all put their Heads down in disappointment.
I decided to write a note to the hostess which I secretly handed to her. The note asked If she could bring the girls earphones, colouring books, drinks etc. I said I was a pastor and I could go to an Atm once we landed and pay for everything.
Next thing out came all the goodies plus facepainting.
Then just Before landing i was handed a note from the hostess, If read Thank You for being so generous but we Have taken up a collection amongst the hostesses to pay for the goodies.
So when I landed and went to the baggage area I went to the ATM withdrew $100 and gave It the oldest daughter and told her she did an amazing job with her sisters. I also gave her one of our charity cards ,She hugged my wife, ( who had no idea why at that Stage.
Then about three months later I got a całl from the mother on the plane. She said my daughter told me what you did at the airport.
She explained they were running away from a domestic violence situation.
This single Mum and her daughters attended several single Parent dinners.
Then about a year later I received a parcel in the mail. If it was from the grandparents in Victoria. It Contained paintings that were done by the grand daughters and a Beautiful Thank You card. The card said that they were Christians and they were so very Thankful i was looking out for their granddaughters, as they had been worried since they left Victoria. The grandma also had terminal cancer. This story is one of many I could share about allowing God the freedom to lead the culture of our charity