“To me, leadership is something that requires constant self-investment."

Moira Aynsley, Senior Manager of Brand at Foodbank WA, joined the organisation in a time of crisis for our State, one that was characterised by a steep rise in the cost of living and the unpredictability of COVID-19, leading to hundreds of thousands of Western Australians dealing with food insecurity on a daily basis.

Foodbank WA and its services were in greater demand than ever before, and Moira’s work began from the frontline to ensure that those who needed them most, knew that their services existed and how to access them.

“Inviting Western Australians to shop directly from the warehouse was our way of making sure that those who needed help, could receive it without barriers. To do this, we needed to build brand awareness in our community and seek the advocacy of the media. Our utmost mission was, and continues to be, that shopping at Foodbank WA is a dignified experience which feels like any other supermarket.”

Fast forward two years and Moira’s leadership in the WA not-for-profit sector has been profiled and celebrated. From contributing to donor partnerships that support Foodbank WA in continuing its work, to initiatives that bring individual awareness to the heart-breaking nature of the hunger crisis impacting our fellow Western Australians, and what we can all do to help.

“My career journey up until now had encompassed a broad range of roles and sectors, but I think my values of compassion and community were what guided me to Foodbank WA. The past two years have been unexpected in every way, but I know that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.’’

Career-driven for as long as she can remember, leading people with a collective purpose, is a huge passion of Moira’s.

“To me, leadership is something that requires constant self-investment, not only for my journey but for the journeys of those who I lead. Embarking on the Rising Leadership Program, thanks to the support of the Ragdoll Scholarship, was an invaluable and unique opportunity, one which has benefited both my team and me.”

“Each experience day was centred around a theme and for me, these matched almost exactly what I was going through the time. We heard from Tasha Broomhall, Director of Blooming Minds WA, who shared her expertise on how as leaders we need to operate with humanity, creating space for our teams to openly express themselves. As a very empathetic person, who often tries to solve problems, it was humbling for me to hear that sometimes just listening is all that another person needs.”

Reflecting on the 6-month Program, Moira recalls just how important the connections she made were.

“It gave our cohort the environment for introspection, to look within and really explore who we are as leaders, from our flaws to our strengths. Together we were vulnerable, which fostered strong and trustworthy bonds, we reflected on shared experiences, and broadened our leadership skills. I will remain connected with this inspiring group of leaders long beyond the Program.”

Now as a graduate of the Program, Moira reflects on how her leadership has evolved:

“I’m a pragmatic leader who operates with compassion and care, I prioritise taking the time to be in the moment with my team and to check on their wellbeing. I feel my biggest responsibility is to develop my staff by providing them with growth opportunities and to empower them to eventually take their next step in their career, when the time comes.”

Her advice to an emerging leader is to take opportunities as they come, embrace challenges and to not be afraid of asking for what you need.