This has to be important to you too? Are you feeling the same as me and many others about the world and for our future generations in relation to what they will and are encountering in relation to challenges that we have never experienced, seen or could foreseen? This was a turning point for me. My daughter says to me – “Why would I want to be a leader?”. I ask her where this is coming from (curious as she knows I live and breathe this space and we talk leadership a lot)? I love having these conversations as I am passionate about our future leaders and their courage and confidence to lead. She replies, “you are a great role model (I hope so…) however on social media I am seeing poor examples of leaders. This CEO is doing this wrong, this politician is like this and that…all so negative. Where are the positive role models?” We do what we see and I guess social media and news tends to publish and promote news and stories based on negativity, ego and I suppose bad news sells right? 

We need greater role models and it starts with us. Much of what we see is out of our control and hence why we need to be the role models that our children and future generations of today and tomorrow urgently need. This is a conversation I have with many others such as students I engage with at my speaking events at schools and universities as well as the work with Generation Z and Y. Is this important to you too?

This is what drove me to launch the Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and platform so our generations of today and tomorrow are seeing greater role models. This is why they are gaining global momentum because we need to champion and celebrate the change we want to see and be. 

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Have you ever had someone you look up to and admire? Maybe they helped you through a difficult time, or have gone through a difficult time themself, and persevered through a challenge to come out the other side an even more inspiring person.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

― James Baldwin

This is someone who is a positive role model – a person who inspires and motivates others through their actions, behaviour, and achievements. They possess qualities like integrity, honesty, empathy, and kindness, and are respected by others for their positive influence. Positive role models can be found in various fields, including sports, entertainment, politics, business, and education. They can even be a friend, a family member, a colleague or a boss. 

Ultimately, they all have one thing in common, they have a significant impact on the lives of those who look up to them. They set an example for others to follow, and their behaviour serves as a guide for people to make positive changes in their own lives.

“Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.”

― Lana Del Rey

Why do we need role models?

Role models play an important role in our lives, providing us with guidance and inspiration as we navigate through life’s challenges. They help us learn important values and skills that we can use to achieve our own goals and aspirations.


Role models can inspire us to achieve greatness by showing us what is possible. When we see someone who has achieved success in an area that we are interested in, it can motivate us to work harder and strive for our own goals. Role models can also provide us with a sense of purpose and direction, helping us to focus our efforts on the things that matter most.


Role models can provide us with guidance and support as we navigate through life. Whether it’s a mentor or a family member, a good role model can offer advice and insight based on their own experiences. This can be particularly helpful when we are facing difficult decisions or going through challenging times. A role model can offer a different perspective, helping us to see things in a new light and make more informed choices.

“I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.”

― Meryl Streep

Join us for OWL 2023! Delivered as a Public Program and In-House!

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Personal Growth

Role models can help us to grow and develop as individuals. By observing the actions and behaviours of those we admire, we can learn new skills and behaviours that can help us to be more successful in our own lives. For example, a successful entrepreneur may inspire us to take risks and pursue our dreams, while a community leader may teach us the value of giving back and making a difference in the world.

Positive Influence

Role models can have a positive influence on our lives, helping us to make better choices and avoid negative behaviours. When we have someone we look up to, we are more likely to emulate their positive qualities and behaviours. For example, if we admire someone for their honesty and integrity, we are more likely to strive for those qualities ourselves.

Representation and diversity

Having a diverse range of role models can help to increase representation and diversity in various fields, and encourage people from different backgrounds to pursue their passions. Role models can help to break down stereotypes and challenge societal norms, promoting a more inclusive and accepting society.

“I don’t want to be a supermodel; I want to be a role model.”

― Queen Latifah


Finally, role models can provide us with encouragement and support when we need it most. When we are feeling down or discouraged, a kind word or gesture from a role model can help to lift our spirits and give us the strength to keep going. This can be particularly important for young people who may be struggling to find their place in the world.

How to find role models?

“Each person must live their life as a role model for others.” 

– Rosa Parks

1. Look for people who inspire you: Think about the people who have had a positive impact on your life or who you admire for their achievements. These individuals can serve as role models and provide you with inspiration to achieve your goals.

2. Research public figures: Look for public figures such as athletes, artists, scientists, or political leaders who you admire. Learn more about their background, accomplishments, and the obstacles they overcame to achieve success.

3. Join groups or organisations: Joining groups or organisations that align with your interests and goals can help you connect with like-minded individuals who can serve as role models.

4. Attend events: Attend events such as workshops, seminars, or conferences where you can meet people who are experts in their field. These events can also provide you with opportunities to network and connect with potential role models.

5. Use social media: Follow social media accounts of people who inspire you or who are experts in your area of interest. You can also join online communities or forums related to your interests to connect with like-minded individuals.

We can all benefit from having someone to look up to and emulate. So, take some time to think about the role models in your life and how they have influenced you. And if you don’t have any role models yet, start looking for someone who can inspire and guide you on your journey towards success and happiness.

By Sonia McDonald – CEO Of LeadershipHQ And Outstanding Leadership Awards, Leadership Coach, Global Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, CEO, Mum And Award Winning Author.

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Sonia is passionate about her voice. When Sonia speaks, everyone in the room feels like she is having a conversation with them as her audience will feel as if they are the only one in the room. She speaks from the heart. She is brave. She wants everyone to be brave. She is an impactful and motivational leadership expert and speaker that creates a life-changing experience. People call Sonia sassy, inspirational, real and a speaker who leaves a lasting impression. Her high-energy, authenticity and humour combined with actionable and practical advice, empowers her audience and provides them with great drive and confidence to take courageous actions and inspire great leadership in all aspects of their lives.

Sonia also is founder of LeadershipHQ and McDonald Inc. and is also a renowned and award-winning author, having written several of her own books, Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and First Comes Courage as well as being a regular contributor in The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She was named as one of the Top 250 Influential Women in the world as well as Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs by Richtopia.

Through her leadership advisory and coaching work at LeadershipHQ, and founding the Outstanding Leadership Awards, Sonia is internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and culture, organisational development, neuroscience, kindness, and courage.

Sonia is also a full-time single parent and has a passion for women in business and teenage mental health. Sonia travels and speaks across Australia and Globe, and she is on a mission to building a world of great leaders and leadership.