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Q&A: An Interview with Antonia Clissa

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Antonia Clissa1. Describe your strengths as a Consultant and Executive Coach?

It is always challenging to speak about oneself. So here we go. I believe that my strengths lie in my capacity to connect with a wide range of people. I have a genuine curiosity about people that enables me to find a point of connection. I think that being able to listen deeply to people helps me enormously in my work as a coach and facilitator. In terms of my approach as a Consultant and Executive Coach I believe that I am collaborative and appropriately challenging and endeavour to walk alongside people as they work towards their goals. I find that doing this work is an enormous privilege and I learn a great deal in the process.

2. What’s your most memorable workshop you’ve conducted and why?

Each workshop holds some memorable element of learning for me. However the most recent workshop I conducted that was most memorable involved facilitating a team in conflict. The reasons it was memorable for me was that it reinforced the absolute importance of creating a safe space for people to be heard and validated as the first step towards healing differences and resolving conflict.

3. What are your thoughts on Leadership for the future?

In my view responsibility for Leadership for the future lies with each one of us. I believe it is incumbent on each one of us to take responsibility to exercise leadership in our own lives and in whatever situation or circumstance we find ourselves and also to encourage each other to take up the mantle of leadership as events or opportunities require.

4. If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

This is a hard question to answer as there are many fascinating people that I would like to invite to dinner. Of course I would love to spend an evening with the newly elected President of the USA and the very inspiring First Lady. I have had a long standing interest in politically troubled Timor Leste or East Timor and the current and second President Jose Ramos-Horta. He shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Ximenes Belo for their tireless fight against the oppression of the “small people”. In 2008 he survived an assassination attempt and was flown to Darwin for treatment. Then there is the father of anti-apartheid in South Africa the most esteemed Nelson Mandela. Lastly I would want to invite my partner James so that we could share the experience for many years on.

5. Who is the Leader that inspires you and why?

I have been inspired by many people and not all of them who would be readily identifiable as Leaders. However there is a Western Australian, Sir Ronald Wilson who died in 2005 whose humility and quiet determination inspired me. His desire for the wider Australian community to better understand the history of indigenous Australians led him to work and travel widely well after retirement. He co-authored the 1997 Stolen Generation report which resulted in the establishment of National Sorry Day and culminated in the remarkable Reconciliation walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge which involved some 400,000 people and thousands more participating across Australia.

6. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 items would you like with you?

I would want my MP3 player so that I could listen to my favourite music and of course podcasts of ABC Radio National especially my favourite program Late Night Live with Phillip Adams; a copy of Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs and snorkeling gear to explore the hidden magic of the island’s waters.


Antonia Clissa

Antonia's career as a professional coach and consultant began as a relationship coach for couples, blended families and in the workplace with employers and employees. She has a background in senior management, health, and psychotherapy/counselling with a wide range of experience working with diversity including cultural, linguistic and gender issues in the government and not for profit sector.

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