Hi, this is my essay for the leadership question for Chevening. Any input is appreciated, thanks!LEADERSHIP AND INFLUENCE
Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.
During my academic career, I led and engaged in numerous international projects, from where I learned that leadership is not about power or personal charisma. Instead, the ability to take initiative, bring people together to find solutions and make changes, and motivate subordinates make a good leader. After having spent a decade in the Higher Education sector, last year, I made a life-changing decision - returning to Malaysia and contributing to my community. As an animal lover, I have long realised that the public awareness of animals' welfare is relatively weak in Malaysia and street animals have never been the priority of the government. In the light of this, I co-founded a not-for-profit rescue group with my brother and friends, aiming to provide a temporary shelter to the strays in our community and spread the spirit of kindness.
Due to limited resources, I had to take on a diverse range of tasks. I was not only responsible for the design of the practice guidelines for the group, but also oversaw the day-to-day activities, liaised with potential adopters, delegated work to volunteers and mediated disagreements between group members. I understood that maintaining an independent rescue group is difficult without partnership, and I believe that only through sustainable collaboration, can long-lasting impacts be made. Therefore, I persuaded a veterinary clinic in the community to provide discounted medical treatments to our rescued animals. Additionally, I built a network on social media and invited other animal lovers from my neighbourhood to provide support in any forms, including space and time. One of the greatest challenges of rescuing work is rehoming and post-adoption follow-up. In order to curb abandonment and ensure the well-being of the adopted animals, my team and I designed a rehoming policy and post-adoption follow-up mechanism, in which involve a rigid background check of potential adopters and post-adoption home visits. These strategies successfully help us prevent impulse adopters. Running an independent rescue group is harsh but I saw positive changes in friends and families and the growing strength of the community. More importantly, it inspired me to reach to new heights - volunteering for (name of the NGO), an INGO supporting and empowering the most marginalised women and girls in Nepal.
Originally as a research volunteer for (name of the NGO), I have recently been offered a secondary leading role within the Livelihood Programme team. Although I am relatively new to the development sector, the leadership skills and professional experience that I have gained over the years have convinced the Country Director to let me be partially responsible for exploring the potential enterprise models and employment opportunities for the target communities. In the next few months, I will be leading a small team to carry out focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Subsequently, I will be directing data analysis and interpretation of baseline and endline surveys. My new role and responsibilities at (name of the NGO) have strengthen my belief that leaders are not born; they are self-made and it takes hard work. (496 words)