Talking courage with a Strategic Thinker

(2 minute read)

Shawn Wilkey headshotIn this interview, Shawn Wilkey, Director of Strategy and Development at Aboriginal Victoria in the Department of Premier and Cabinet shares his perspective on courage.

 Shawn is responsible for managing strategic planning and implementation, nurturing a values-based culture, aligning strategy and culture for high performance along with business operations.  Previously, Shawn held a variety of roles in the AFL industry in Victoria and Queensland, focused on growing engagement across a variety of traditional and emerging market segments.  Shawn is an MBA graduate with a passion for bringing business, government and community together.

In all of my discussions with Shawn, it is evident that he has a passion for people, community, environment and our planet.


Courage pic

How would you describe workplace courage?

I would simply describe courage as an act taken in the face of adversity.

What does courage look like in your workplace?

In our workplace, courage is about individuals making decisions because they are the right decisions to make as opposed to the easiest, quickest or most popular decisions.


Please describe 1or 2 examples of times in which you have been courageous.  What did you do?  Who/what enabled you to be courageous?  What was the outcome?  

In my professional career, I’ve had to take on numerous challenges without knowing the full context of the situation.  This has resulted in high levels of anxiety and stress due to the uncertainty involved.  Staying focused on finding a solution and being grounded in my belief that a way could be found, I’ve been able to reach satisfactory conclusions in almost all challenges.  I’ve found that by being solution focused and taking a handful of deep conscious breaths in times of severe stress, that my ability to make effective decisions is maximised.

From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?

I think there is a tremendous amount of courage being exercised by Australia’s leaders however some is directed in sub-optimal ways and achieves lesser outcomes.

Courage can be harnessed in many ways but the most obvious to me is being clear on what’s important to you and when a situation arises that involves something that is important to you and demands courage, your instincts are more likely to take you there as you’ve done the mental arithmetic prior.  

Australia and humanity globally, has never faced a more important time in terms of being courageous and changing our attitudes and behaviours in a way that serves future generations positively; this is paramount.  Because of the world we’ve inherited since the industrial revolution it falls on this generation and the generations to come to take a stand and be truly courageous in the areas that vitally need it.  We must find a way to see through prejudice and say no to the fear and violence perpetrated largely by men that is keeping the world from properly unifying. We must understand that our relationship with the planet is delicate and the current global economic system is literally threatening life on earth and needs to fundamentally change.

If you would like to learn more from Shawn, he can be contacted on


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