Challenging Your Perception of Leadership

Julie is now becoming renowned for her leadership expertise. A far cry from a few years, she felt lost on where to take her vision of leadership forward into the future. However, thanks to RADAR (Royal Association for Disability Rights) who have nurture Julie’s leadership expertise and thus Julie has now become the forefront of sharing her leadership experience and embedding her skills into many other areas.

Recently, Julie was asked to share her vision of leadership with the Wilderness Foundation UK who were keen to gets her opinions on ‘What Leadership means to her?’ and how she manages to unleash the potentials in other individuals and the projects she been involved to date. Julie believes there are key attributes required to be a good leader and they comprises of: confidence, vision, passion, motivation and organisation.

Julie also realizes as part of leadership it also comes with self-empowerment. This empowerment enables you to achieve or overcome difficulties as she says there are solutions to each one whether it may be making a change in tactics, different strategies to draw on. In order to fulfil your potential, you have to have the motivation, passion and the focus to succeed. She was beginning to handle a lot in a short space of time in her years of growing up and felt competent to share and inspire other i.e. putting her skills and life experiences into practice and embedding them into new situations. From there onwards, the empowerment to try new things and change people perception of someone like myself who has a disability thus in turn can be respected citizen, self responsibility and leader which come with confidence.

When working with people whether they are disabled or able bodies, learn to see what they can do rather than doing it for them or avoiding it. It naturally for people to focus on what disabled can’t do however, we need to adopt in a change in attitude on focusing on what disabled can do as I find there are things that I would like to do but it is looking at the picture/situation as a whole and implementing a strategy to coping and participating in mainstream activities.

More recently on one of her projects, she was involved in putting her judgement forward for the participants to be selected from the Disabilities Wilderness Project. We had a good response of applicants and it was interesting reading their desire to take part in the project. As one of the project’s leaders, you want to select people who are going gain skills that will give them the confidence to progress or use the experience to do other activities when they go home.  It is all about understanding other people’s strengths and weaknesses and what they will bring to the team.

Julie was the first disabled person to have secured the Sirius Environmental Leadership. In her application form, there were many highlights that secured her place and for Wilderness Foundation UK it was about meaningful inclusion knowing how to make this programme accessible for the like of Julie to fulfil her potential. Julie says ‘We need to reinforce participative approach as this will enables organisations like Wilderness Foundation UK to excel in confidence which will grow and in turn will allows them to improve inclusivity and diversity practices. The ending results will pays off!

Throughout the years, it has been motivation and more recently self leadership skills that had helped Julie possess the qualities of leadership.

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YOUNG SCOTS ADVENTURESS PUSHES HER DISABILITIES ASIDE TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN HIGHER

Remarkable young Scots adventuress Julie McElroy – who has cerebral palsy – is embarking on a formidable challenge to climb the Himalayas in five days to raise money and awareness for a Scottish charity that provides vital therapy for children with the same condition.

Although Julie’s cerebral palsy means she has serious walking difficulties, co-ordination, and speech and profound hearing impairment, along with manual dexterity problems, she is determined to climb the Himalayas in aid of the Bobath Scotland Children’s Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre.

Twenty five-year-old identical twin Julie – who received specialist therapy at the Bobath centre in Glasgow as a youngster – is embarking on ‘Julie’s Bobath Challenge’ on September 30, to help Scotland’s children with cerebral palsy.

It’s not the first time feisty Julie has demonstrated that through determination, self-belief, drive and stamina, people with cerebral palsy can push the boundaries and realise their full potential.

Julie, who again proved her determination to push the boundaries by recently completing the Sirius Environmental Leadership Scholarship with Wilderness Foundation UK which consisted of canoeing and wild camping in the north-west of Scotland in Loch Shiel.

She says “ I hope my zest for life will help in it 16-year history, Bobath Scotland help hundreds of children to realise their potential and live life to the full, as I have always done.

“The Himalayas challenge, I hope, will spearhead in the coming year in a bid to highlight the wonderful work of this children’s charity. Bobath Scotland has made such a difference to the lives of so many families like my own, and I’m proud to be associated with it.”

Jim Campbell, chairman of Bobath Scotland, said: “Of all the talented, ambitious and motivated young people I’ve been privileged
to meet over the years, Julie must surely be among the most remarkable.

“She is a true inspiration, and our charity is proud to have such an admirable ambassador to fly the flag for Bobath Scotland.”