STEMM Profile: Christine Burns | CEO & Co-founder | Women Authentic Leadership Training (WALT) Institute | Melbourne | VIC

Dr Christine Burns [Image: provided by C. Burns]

“A work team is the same as a sports team – we have each other’s back no matter what, we share the tough times and we celebrate the good times. It’s about WE not me”

Christine Burns was born in Manawatu, New Zealand and is the second daughter of Scottish parents. From being a shy reserved child, learning many lessons the hard way, to receiving a cancer diagnosis in 2016. Christine’s story inspires people to take action, stand up for what they believe in and not get stuck in the trivia of life.

Looking back, Christine represented New Zealand in indoor hockey, and graduated with expertise in psychology, sport psychology, exercise science and business management. These skills and attributes helped her forge a career as a lecturer, program manager and performance coach. She has extensive experience of working with individuals and teams, across education, science, corporate and sporting arenas.

Growing into the roles of co-founder and leadership performance coach, Christine focuses on being a change-maker through integrating the theory of Authentic Leadership psychology, promoting self-awareness and developing peak-performance. Walking alongside women in STEMM to give them the life-changing strategies to become more resilient, empowered, and confident Authentic Leaders is a privilege she values highly.

Christine is a dynamic and engaging presenter that will have you experiencing moments of joy, self-discovery and enlightenment. She has published articles in Thrive Global and academic journals on Authentic Leadership and resilience. She is currently authoring a how to book on cultivating authentic resilience.

As Co-founder of the WALT Institute, she specialises in disrupting the stories people tell themselves and guides them to discover they have so much more in their tank. You are stronger than you think! Adversity does not define you. Everyone can learn how to rise to the challenge, overcome the tough times (not stay stuck in the same place), and bounce forward with limitless possibilities.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?

Great Authentic Leaders work from a strengths base (for themselves and team members), have respect, trust and compassion. Create an environment where people are appreciated, inspired to go out of their comfort zone, have fun and consistently cultivate magnificence. Leaders must be effective, not just successful. Focus on empowering the whole team to flourish and thrive.   

How can we accelerate women in STEMM into leadership roles?

Individual basis: Enhance each woman’s confidence, resilience, and authenticity while busting through their limiting beliefs. To achieve this we require a coach as well as a mentor.  

Organisational level: Create an environment of trust, respect, honesty, and openness at every level –support making and admitting mistakes. Demolish the outdated adage; ‘why change, that’s the way we’ve always done it!’ Replace with ‘How can we…?’

How do we retain women in STEMM in academic research/senior positions/leadership roles?

Our mindset is responsible for shaping our reality and identity. If we strategically invest time, effort and energy into creating and maintaining a Resilient Empowered Authentic mindset, we will retain women in all STEMM roles. We need to equip women with practical ‘how to’ Authentic Leadership strategies and provide an environment that actively supports self-belief.

What do you do to cope with the pressures and challenges of leading and/or managing a team?

Keep a strong team focus, maintain open, honest and clear communication, have fun, and encourage people to identify and use their expertise. A work team is the same as a sports team – we have each other’s back no matter what, we share the tough times and we celebrate the good times. It’s about WE not me.

How do you cope with self-doubt? How do you cope with imposter syndrome?

I don’t believe in labelling myself or anyone else with a syndrome. It is a momentary feeling of self-doubt. Self-doubt is just a belief and beliefs can change. I use imagery and pre-performance routines prior to any performance or task. I control the controllables and that is ME. I smile every morning because I am here and I get to have a massive impact on the world if I choose.

Twitter: @Christine1Burns

LinkedIn: Christine Burns


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