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Influence a powerful force in the right hands

Wayne Mulvany

The Watchman

THE ability to influence is not to be under-estimated. In 2018 and 2019 the print edition of Bundaberg NewsMail identified the Top 50 “Most Influential” in the community in a special one-off liftout, and shone a particular spotlight on the Top 10.

As General Manager of IWC, I was on the list both years, and in 2018 in the Top 10. It was an honour because it was recognition for community achievements. But it also left a bit of a bad taste because while the intent was good, was it really of value to the community and did many real grassroots influencers go unnoticed?

Such people achieve influence from their hard work, aspirations and ability to respond to real need and these are of very tangible value to our region. Other influencers – the ones who make the headlines so often – have been placed into a position of authority with the status that comes from that, but never really aspire to achieve anything of real worth.

It’s easy to be “influential” in a senior role with control over where major corporate or taxpayer dollars are spent. It’s not so easy for someone in a small charity, community group or any organisation that has to watch every dollar and look to government to support vital services or supports on the ground through funding. These are our quiet achievers and we have a lot of great ones in our community.

Look up the word “influencer” and sitting within its scope are “power” and “force”. Unfortunately, many influencers in high-ranking positions seem to think that is their lot. Not all, but many.

But also sitting within the scope are “mentor” and “guide”, and I will add another important one: “Voice”.

Being an influencer should mean helping those unheard segments of our community have a Voice. It means being driven by community, as well as guiding people or groups towards self-empowerment.

Most of all, being an influencer means being an arbiter of hope – the “would those of you who say it can’t be done get out of the way of those of us who are doing it” approach.

So why not have a “Most Influential” list that contains only individuals who achieve genuine outcomes, regardless of position, rank and hold on public purse strings. A list focused on the right type of success – that of achieving results that benefit our region.

It’s a list anyone would be proud to be on.