Why I Started Columba Leadership In Sa – Rob Taylor

Posted / 21 February 2016


I met the founder of Columba in the early 2000s in Australia, where as Chairman of Dimension Data Australia we had decided to establish a social and business shared-value initiative. The first step was a workshop to get support from the management team. Norman Drummond a renowned social entrepreneur, facilitated the session. We developed a lasting friendship through a mutual interest in empowering youth.

The only way we can create a society we all want to live in is to get as many people working on it as possible. So we were lucky to find a model that works to get large numbers of young people to start being the change they want to see in their communities. Working with the Department of Education to empower youth, has revealed powerful potential. The youth have enormous potential to drive positive social change. They did it in 1976! To be driven by a desire to serve their own communities rather than just self interest is the key.

Any society built on rights with no responsibility is in for a tough ride. The youth have enormous potential to drive positive social change. A movement of large numbers of responsible young leaders motivated to build our country is surely an important project. From my own personal perspective, it is an enormous privilege to be working with powerful young people with a values-based model that really works. We stand on the shoulders of giants, men and women who made it possible for us to do this work.

Success is defined as what you give.

Every time I see young people tell the stories of how they are inspired and committed to help others, I am humbled and grateful. A highlight for me was to hear one young man, a law student who might have been inclined toward crime in his early life, say “success is defined as what you give”. There are really too many outstanding young people to be able to single anyone out. Perhaps one of our first ever graduates Caroline Mathonsi, who is now on our board of trustees, should be mentioned for her humility and integrity as a fine young leader.

Mobilising youth is too important for anyone not to be engaged. We need more corporations to get behind the initiative to provide the resources to grow the movement of responsible young leaders. There cannot be many better ways to earn a return on investment.

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