Melissa Histon has never been driven to be a leader; instead she is driven to make change.
What started as an idea and birthed as a Facebook page was Melissa’s concept of The Sista Code – a community of women that empowers other women. In a short space of time it grew into an online community of over 11,000 women from around the globe:
Photographer, philanthropist, adventurer, blogger, avid permitter and social changer, Melissa Histon is a woman on a mission to make a real difference to the lives of women globally.
For a snapshot of our audiovisual interview with Melissa, please view the above video.
TO READ THE EDITED INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE SEE BELOW.
You have started a movement called The Sista Code, has that changed how you view yourself as a leader?
What I find interesting is that I have never really though of myself of being a leader, in my past corporate life. Before I started my photography business and The Sista Code I always worked for corporate organisations and I had always seen myself as a team worker, a person that didn’t neccessarily lead a team, but was a team member.
When I worked for WorkCover NSW we were doing a team building day and profiled everyone in the team, it came out that I was very much a worker bee. I suppose I have always pigeonholed myself that way.
It was only in a recent interview that the interviewer stated that I was a leader for the online community of The Sista Code. It was like the light bulb moment for me. Since then I have really started think about leadership and what that means.
You obviously have a lot of different priorities, what tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?
I really find that because I have two businesses and my family, I have conflicting changing priorities everyday.
So one thing I need to do is be really flexible. On a daily basis I am reviewing what I need to do that day and then respond accordingly.
What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
As someone who is a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ type of girl, I’ve actually had to learn to be really structured.
One thing that I make sure I do every week is to ensure I have structured blog times and when I communicate with people via social media. But then I also have to make sure I don’t let that time carry away, as it’s very easy to go down the rabbit hole.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
Distraction ‚Äì social media, there’s so much going on in the world and we have so much access to news and events. It’s really easy to be distracted and see what other people are doing. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to other people, certainly we need to scan the environment and see what’s going on out there, but we also need to be very careful not to forget our ‘why’.
As leaders we need to remember what our purpose is, what our passion is and what our ‘why’ is.
What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
I couldn’t pick one! A few came to me, beginning with Rachael Sheldrick. Rachel and her husband have a workshop called GS Mechanical. But what I love is that Rachael has really found her niche in becoming a specialist in how to run a mechanical workshop. And has moved down a whole other path of teaching and coaching mechanical workshops around Australia, because her model is so successful.
I really love Ali Wanchap who has created a fashion line, Jude, made of 100 per cent Australian-made wool products. She creates beautiful woollen scarves, wraps, baby products and kimonos. Her designs are becaufiul, her products is just stunning and I love that someone in Newcastle is making in-roads into a fashion label with a difference. Again she’s niching herself with a product she loves and is passionate about.
And the last person ‚Äì I am a little bit biased ‚Äì is my husband Craig Browning. What really inspires me is he is doing with OAS Technology Group. They’re always looking at how they can keep up with technology, how can they keep up with moving towards the cloud and traditional IT products and systems, He’s really trying to be cutting edge with
He’s just created and launched a new data centre that’s cloud based and that was such a big investment.
Those three people have all created something that they’re passionate about and that they’re good at and are making their own in-roads and their own paths within that industry.