LearnBytes episode #1 – Karla Sanders: Breaking down the stereotypes of typical leaders

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In this Episode:

In our very first episode, Samantha is joined by Karla Sanders, the CEO & Founder of bullying prevention charity Sticks ‘n Stones.

In her race against the clock, Karla shares about her mission to unlock the leadership potential every human being has by breaking down the stereotypes of typical leaders. We also hear what she tells herself when facing uncertainty, what her biggest leadership lesson has been and why she’d love to spend an hour with two of the world’s most powerful female leaders.

You can learn more about Karla’s work with Sticks ‘n Stones via their website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Links from the episode:
Karla’s book recommendation: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Karla’s podcast recommendation: Unlocking Us by Brene Brown. Specifically the 2-episode special with Harriet Leaner – “I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters”

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Watch it now

Transcript:

Samantha 0:05
Hello there and welcome to LearnBytes, the show that brings you byte-sized pieces of wisdom so you can learn how to increase your efficiency and productivity, embrace your natural creativity and lead with impact. I’m Samantha Garrett from Using Technology Better and today with me as my guest is the lovely Kala Sanders, welcome Karla.

Samantha 0:05
Hello there and welcome to LearnBytes, the show that brings you byte-sized pieces of wisdom so you can learn how to increase your efficiency and productivity, embrace your natural creativity and lead with impact. I’m Samantha Garrett from Using Technology Better and today with me as my guest is the lovely Kala Sanders, welcome Karla.

Karla 0:27
Hi Sam.

Samantha 0:27
I’m so excited to have you here. Karla is the CEO and founder of bullying prevention, charity Sticks ‘n stones and she’s also one of my colleagues here at Using Technology Better. So Karla has chosen today to speak on the topic of leadership. But before we jump into the race for minutes of questions, Karla, I’d love you to share a little bit about yourself and what you’re passionate about in life.

Karla 0:33
Absolutely. So I’m a trained teacher. But when I returned from eight years overseas in 2010 I took a career detour and started working in digital technology. And then a few years later had the amazing opportunity to co-found sticks and stones alongside 30 teenagers. And it’s been an incredible adventure with some very honest and very creative and passionate young people since then. At the start of 2019 I had the privilege of joining the Using Technology Better team, it ticks a different part of my skill set, and be able to work alongside some amazing facilitators to help teachers, students, and other learners who wanted to make technology an easier and more productive part of their day to day lives.

Samantha 1:36
That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing Kala. So excellent. At the end of the show true, you’ll let us know how we can get in touch with you if anyone wants to sort of check out your work and what you do. So do stay tuned for that at the end too, because I know you did some really great work. And we should have said to you that you’re a Kiwi based over in New Zealand.

Karla 1:52
Absolutely as if my accent did not tell that story to you with my vows. I am most certainly an proud Cantabrian and Kiwi.

Samantha 2:00
Love it. That’s great. So. Now Karla, as you know, the show is all about byte-sized pieces of wisdom. So your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is that there’s eight questions. You’ve got four minutes to get through all eight of the questions. Now, should you be so super quick that you beat the clock you get to ask me any question at the end, and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Karla 2:22
I’m ready, Sam.

Samantha 2:23
Yu’re ready. Awesome. Let me set the all important timer. And then we will kick into these leadership questions. All right, let’s go. First mobile phone and current phone?

Karla 2:36
A gorgeous purple plastic, Alcatel. And it was the size of a brick and my current mobile phone is some latest version of the iPhone in some capacity.

Samantha 2:48
All right, what is the most important quality for every leader to have?

Karla 2:52
Courage. Absolutely, and a willingness to learn. One of my favorite people says it’s important to get it right, not to be right. So having that flexibility to learn and never think you know everything.

Samantha 3:07
What do you find most challenging or most rewarding about being a leader, Karla?

Karla 3:11
I’m really lucky I get to work with empowering young leaders. So the most rewarding thing is being able to unlock the potential every human being has to be a leader, and break down the stereotype of our typical leader needing to be someone who’s confident standing in front of a huge audience and commanding a crowd. And instead of exploring non traditional ways that you can be a leader and that everyone has that potential.

Samantha 3:37
Love it. What is the one thing you tell yourself when facing uncertainty?

Karla 3:43
This too, will pass. You can make a mistake, you don’t have to be perfect, have a go. We have so many times that are uncertain and it’s easier to go and hide. And I think that if we take that first step, then we’re always going to have the opportunity to take the next one. And if we get it wrong, we can learn from that.

Samantha 4:04
I love that. Biggest leadership lesson learned so far?

Karla 4:10
You don’t have to be all things to all people. Doing everything yourself does not make you a great leader. There’s this fabulous word called delegation that’s important to learn and to know and to understand and to embrace. And that being a great leader also means being someone with a huge heart.

Samantha 4:28
If there was one person you could spend an hour with, who would it be and why?

Karla 4:32
It would be a two-for, I’m sorry, Sam. So it would be the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern alongside the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and I would be asking them about though they have very contrasting styles, they’re both incredibly effective leaders. So what are the different ways they approach similar challenges? And what do they learn from one another? I think that would be a fascinating conversation.

Samantha 4:57
I reckon I’d love to be a fly on a wall for that one. Excellent. All right book, video or podcast that you would recommend to our listeners or our viewers?

Karla 5:06
Definitely Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It’s incredible. A huge part of my learning in the past two years, and her podcast Unlocking Us has so many phenomenal episodes. But two that stand out to me are her episodes with Harriet Lerner when she explores how to apologise, and how we have the opportunity rather than saying something’s okay when it’s not to thank someone for that apology and be able to move on with the relationship from there. Crucial lessons if we’re going to be able to navigate really complex relationships.

Samantha 5:38
Oh, that’s an excellent tip. Thank you. And we’ll pop the link to that down below too if people want to jump in have a look at it. So all right, up to question eight. You’re ahead of time, we’ve got this up. How can you use your leadership skills to make a difference to the world Karla?

Karla 5:51
I say it is my mission to really unlock the leader and all of us, to better prepare our young people for leadership by providing them with authentic and meaningful opportunities. And by being able to provide an option of what a leader could look like, that’s very different from what else is out there. flaws and all, no perfection, an opportunity to be your authentic self, and really recognize that we’ve got the potential everywhere to learn from leaders all around us with very different styles.

Samantha 6:21
Thank you so much, Karla. I will stop the timer, we’re in under the four minutes, just, so that’s perfect. Yay. Thank you so many things to take away. It’s amazing in four minutes, how many little nuggets of wisdom are in there. So thank you. I really love that. I really appreciate you spending your time and just that key message that not all leaders look the same. I think that is so so powerful that all of us can take away with because I really think that so many of us don’t think that we’re leaders and that comes from… Would you say that that comes from who we see is as leaders in our lives and yeah, amazing. You do a great job, so thank you.

Karla 7:01
There is a fantastic quote that says you can’t be what you can’t see. So representation really matters. We want more female leaders. We want more leaders from diverse races, cultures, backgrounds, our lived experiences, and then we can have more leaders that come out of that opportunity to be leaders themselves.

Samantha 7:19
That’s awesome. You’ve got a great mission I love it. So, before we wrap up, if our viewers and listeners want to connect with you, see the great work you’re doing where can they find you?

Karla 7:31
Well they’re very welcome to check me out on Twitter. I’m at @K4Sanders. Not quite as, as active as our work, Twitter or Instagram, which is @sticksnstonesnz, or check us out on our website www.sticksnstones.co.nz or on Facebook, NZsticksnstones and and get in touch with us. Let us know what you think and and we would be really happy to connect

Samantha 8:00
Lovely I will put all those links again in the down below the video in the show notes so that people have got a chance to connect. So thank you so much. And thank you for joining us everyone. If you’ve really enjoyed today’s conversation, I’d love it if you subscribe to the Using Technology Better YouTube channel or perhaps you’re listening via the podcast, that’s fine you can follow the show and then you’ll be notified about all the new episodes that come up. Now lastly, we do have a friendly little fortnightly newsletter which is filled with strategies to help you lead a more efficient, productive and organised life. So if that sounds interesting, Id love you to subscribe again link below. And that’s it for this episode, bye Karla, thank you. And I will see you again very soon for another bite sized piece of the learning adventure that is life. Thanks. See you next time.Karla 0:33
Absolutely. So I’m a trained teacher. But when I returned from eight years overseas in 2010 I took a career detour and started working in digital technology. And then a few years later had the amazing opportunity to co-found sticks and stones alongside 30 teenagers. And it’s been an incredible adventure with some very honest and very creative and passionate young people since then. At the start of 2019 I had the privilege of joining the Using Technology Better team, it ticks a different part of my skill set, and be able to work alongside some amazing facilitators to help teachers, students, and other learners who wanted to make technology an easier and more productive part of their day to day lives.

Samantha 1:36
That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing Kala. So excellent. At the end of the show true, you’ll let us know how we can get in touch with you if anyone wants to sort of check out your work and what you do. So do stay tuned for that at the end too, because I know you did some really great work. And we should have said to you that you’re a Kiwi based over in New Zealand.

Karla 1:52
Absolutely as if my accent did not tell that story to you with my vows. I am most certainly an proud Cantabrian and Kiwi.

Samantha 2:00
Love it. That’s great. So. Now Karla, as you know, the show is all about byte-sized pieces of wisdom. So your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is that there’s eight questions. You’ve got four minutes to get through all eight of the questions. Now, should you be so super quick that you beat the clock you get to ask me any question at the end, and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Karla 2:22
I’m ready, Sam.

Samantha 2:23
Yu’re ready. Awesome. Let me set the all important timer. And then we will kick into these leadership questions. All right, let’s go. First mobile phone and current phone?

Karla 2:36
A gorgeous purple plastic, Alcatel. And it was the size of a brick and my current mobile phone is some latest version of the iPhone in some capacity.

Samantha 2:48
All right, what is the most important quality for every leader to have?

Karla 2:52
Courage. Absolutely, and a willingness to learn. One of my favorite people says it’s important to get it right, not to be right. So having that flexibility to learn and never think you know everything.

Samantha 3:07
What do you find most challenging or most rewarding about being a leader, Karla?

Karla 3:11
I’m really lucky I get to work with empowering young leaders. So the most rewarding thing is being able to unlock the potential every human being has to be a leader, and break down the stereotype of our typical leader needing to be someone who’s confident standing in front of a huge audience and commanding a crowd. And instead of exploring non traditional ways that you can be a leader and that everyone has that potential.

Samantha 3:37
Love it. What is the one thing you tell yourself when facing uncertainty?

Karla 3:43
This too, will pass. You can make a mistake, you don’t have to be perfect, have a go. We have so many times that are uncertain and it’s easier to go and hide. And I think that if we take that first step, then we’re always going to have the opportunity to take the next one. And if we get it wrong, we can learn from that.

Samantha 4:04
I love that. Biggest leadership lesson learned so far?

Karla 4:10
You don’t have to be all things to all people. Doing everything yourself does not make you a great leader. There’s this fabulous word called delegation that’s important to learn and to know and to understand and to embrace. And that being a great leader also means being someone with a huge heart.

Samantha 4:28
If there was one person you could spend an hour with, who would it be and why?

Karla 4:32
It would be a two-for, I’m sorry, Sam. So it would be the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern alongside the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and I would be asking them about though they have very contrasting styles, they’re both incredibly effective leaders. So what are the different ways they approach similar challenges? And what do they learn from one another? I think that would be a fascinating conversation.

Samantha 4:57
I reckon I’d love to be a fly on a wall for that one. Excellent. All right book, video or podcast that you would recommend to our listeners or our viewers?

Karla 5:06
Definitely Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It’s incredible. A huge part of my learning in the past two years, and her podcast Unlocking Us has so many phenomenal episodes. But two that stand out to me are her episodes with Harriet Lerner when she explores how to apologise, and how we have the opportunity rather than saying something’s okay when it’s not to thank someone for that apology and be able to move on with the relationship from there. Crucial lessons if we’re going to be able to navigate really complex relationships.

Samantha 5:38
Oh, that’s an excellent tip. Thank you. And we’ll pop the link to that down below too if people want to jump in have a look at it. So all right, up to question eight. You’re ahead of time, we’ve got this up. How can you use your leadership skills to make a difference to the world Karla?

Karla 5:51
I say it is my mission to really unlock the leader and all of us, to better prepare our young people for leadership by providing them with authentic and meaningful opportunities. And by being able to provide an option of what a leader could look like, that’s very different from what else is out there. flaws and all, no perfection, an opportunity to be your authentic self, and really recognise that we’ve got the potential everywhere to learn from leaders all around us with very different styles.

Samantha 6:21
Thank you so much, Karla. I will stop the timer, we’re in under the four minutes, just, so that’s perfect. Yay. Thank you so many things to take away. It’s amazing in four minutes, how many little nuggets of wisdom are in there. So thank you. I really love that. I really appreciate you spending your time and just that key message that not all leaders look the same. I think that is so so powerful that all of us can take away with because I really think that so many of us don’t think that we’re leaders and that comes from… Would you say that that comes from who we see is as leaders in our lives and yeah, amazing. You do a great job, so thank you.

Karla 7:01
There is a fantastic quote that says you can’t be what you can’t see. So representation really matters. We want more female leaders. We want more leaders from diverse races, cultures, backgrounds, our lived experiences, and then we can have more leaders that come out of that opportunity to be leaders themselves.

Samantha 7:19
That’s awesome. You’ve got a great mission I love it. So, before we wrap up, if our viewers and listeners want to connect with you, see the great work you’re doing where can they find you?

Karla 7:31
Well they’re very welcome to check me out on Twitter. I’m at @K4Sanders. Not quite as, as active as our work, Twitter or Instagram, which is @sticksnstonesnz, or check us out on our website www.sticksnstones.co.nz or on Facebook, NZsticksnstones and and get in touch with us. Let us know what you think and and we would be really happy to connect

Samantha 8:00
Lovely I will put all those links again in the down below the video in the show notes so that people have got a chance to connect. So thank you so much. And thank you for joining us everyone. If you’ve really enjoyed today’s conversation, I’d love it if you subscribe to the Using Technology Better YouTube channel or perhaps you’re listening via the podcast, that’s fine you can follow the show and then you’ll be notified about all the new episodes that come up. Now lastly, we do have a friendly little fortnightly newsletter which is filled with strategies to help you lead a more efficient, productive and organised life. So if that sounds interesting, Id love you to subscribe again link below. And that’s it for this episode, bye Karla, thank you. And I will see you again very soon for another bite sized piece of the learning adventure that is life. Thanks. See you next time.

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