What inspires you?
People who work at changing themselves or their environment in order to make it better
Which leadership development programme did you attend?
Dynamics of Leadership Coaching and Clore Fellow 2009/10
Why did you choose the programme?
I chose the Dynamics in Leadership Coaching course because I wanted to learn how to listen more closely. I can now. I also discovered what a revolutionary act listening closely is. I applied for Clore because I desperately needed to be able to listen to myself more closely and start my own mini-revolution. The wheel is now in motion...
How do you relax?
I’m a bit of a relaxation novice but so far I’ve learned that sitting quietly in beautiful places helps, yoga, walking in parks, dancing, reading and (an oldie but goody) walking around shops picking up beautiful things while gossiping with girlfriends.
What single thing would improve the quality of your work-life?
Balance and thinking space
What is your greatest fear?
Being dropped alone in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest in tarantula mating season
What pearl of leadership wisdom would you offer an emerging leader?
Follow your gut instinct gracefully
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching all seven series of The Gilmore Girls second time around (although I’m not that guilty about it)
What words or phases do you most overuse?
Fan-flaming-tastic and (annoyingly) ‘what do YOU think you should do?’
What has been your most challenging situation as a leader?
After twenty years working as a curator and director on scores of projects, there really are far too many too mention. But I suppose letting go has been hardest - deciding to walk away from a project or organisation when I’ve tried everything in my power to make it work and it hasn’t.
What did you learn from that experience?
That it ain’t all about me! My desire to control can eclipse the only real question which is ‘is this the right place for me?’ and ‘am I the right person right now?’ Sometimes the answer is no and that’s okay.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Very simple moments – a perfect walk on a perfect sunny day, a morning of writing when the novel is going great, a well-timed call from a great friend, unwrapping a Konditer & Cook cream cake at 4pm.
Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
The Buddha in Daily Life by Richard Causton
Which 'leader' from the past or present day do you most admire and why?
Personally – my mum. Caribbean, single, three kids, council estate, 1970’s, held down a full-time job, did homework with us, delicious home-cooked daily meals and laughed a lot. Professionally – Zora Neale Hurston. African-American, single, writer, anthropologist, deep south, 1920’s, drove alone around the deep south, travelled alone to Haiti, challenged and caused ruckus with the Harlem renaissance boys, wrote beautiful honest humanistic novels and laughed a lot.
Where would you like to live?
Crystal Palace, where I live now, and a beautiful retreat on a mountain in the Caribbean
Did you experience any eureka! moments during your leadership development programme? If yes, what?
Many but the most important one, if you switch off your ego and the desire to control the results can be far greater than you ever imagined (which is contrary to how most ‘leaders’ are trained). And on a more philosophical note, my only real ambition is to be peaceful.
What is your favourite smell?
Fresh mountain air.
If you were a super hero, what would your power be?
To spread peace and love man!
Have you found your leadership development beneficial?
To have the chance to deeply reflect on what we do and how we do it is crucial – most other sectors have always invested in creating reflective space but it is new to the cultural sector. Also due to a lack of formal training in the sector, most of us learn on the job and are in the position of informally training others. So it’s pretty important that we have some time to consolidate before we pass on what we think we know. Most importantly perhaps is the fact that we are in the critical ‘business’ of ideas, aesthetics, philosophy, change, enlightenment, discovery, re-discovery and making sense of the world - we need to be dialoguing and sharing while we are doing it.
For what cause would you die?
To save humankind – me and Jesus both.
What do you consider to be your greatest (professional or personal) achievement?
Encouragement – bringing obscure films and art work to audiences and encouraging some bright young sparks in the sector to keep glowing. Also having my first short story published.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Way too many to mention – there’s normally a new one each day that tops the last
What would your 'leadership' motto be?
Go with grace.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 5 things would you want with you?
- The instructions on how to make paper and ink so I can keep writing - A solar powered electronic e-book with the entire contents of the British and Schomburg library downloaded - A solar powered i-pod with all the contents of i-tunes downloaded - A yoga mat - My best friend
What is your favourite song?
A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke
What keeps you awake at night?
The perennial question - Is that a tarantula at the bottom of my bed?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you so far?
Do you plan to do more leadership development? If yes, what area do you plan to focus on?
More coaching and facilitation training.
Name: Gaylene Gould
Title: Writer, Listener, Talker
I am establishing myself as an independent ‘communicator’ specialising in writing, listening and talking to open up spaces of dialogue within creative and other communities.