Leeann Watson: The Influencers

After the events of 15 March, we saw such an outpouring of compassion and support from throughout the world as we came to terms with an event we thought would never happen in our city.


Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, so quickly became an example of the way a country’s leader should respond to such events. Mayor, Hon Lianne Dalziel was also able to galvanise a shocked community by providing comfort, support and confidence at the appropriate time.

As we look at what was done well, it is also important that we take some time to reflect on our learnings and what we may look to do differently moving forward.

At a macro level, diversity has become such a buzzword in recent times, that for many it may have become lip service. I would instead encourage people to focus on cultural curiosity – to understand that culture matters and to (respectfully) ask questions about the people around you and be interested in their answers.

At a very practical level, we need to look at how we responded as an individual, family unit, school, or business. We need to ask ourselves: what did we do in the minutes, hours, days and weeks following the tragedy? Were we able to mobilise support to those that needed it, when they needed it? And how could we have been better prepared?

As a city, we need to encourage good, strong, robust conversations around what we could do differently. From ensuring we have a response plan in place, to reflecting on our own individual role in being inclusive.







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