Book – ‘Unlikely Leaders: lessons in leadership from the village classroom’ by Cathy Burke

1024 683 The Hunger Project Australia
 The Hunger Project Australia’s CEO Cathy Burke has published a book Unlikely Leaders: lessons in leadership from the village classroom on how people living on less than $2 a day challenge our perspective of leadership.




Unlikely Leaders goes beyond the stories of visionary leadership and collective power that Cathy Burke has found in unlikely places – like women who can’t read or write in India or men living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi. It also gives deeply relevant insights into how we can apply these principles of leadership in our own lives.

“The intention of my first book is to demonstrate and illuminate the inner personal leaps we are all capable of making in order to harness the full power of human potential. I want to highlight that organisations don’t change people; people do,” says Cathy.

Cathy’s experience as CEO for 18 years of The Hunger Project Australia has given her intimate access to grassroots leaders who are ending their own hunger.

“When empowered, some of the world’s most impoverished can, will and do develop innovative, practical and long-lasting solutions to the issues they face. They ignite a brilliant torch for all of us regarding what it means to be human.

I’ve learned about resilience from a non-literate woman who navigates ridicule and threats of violence to bring water to her village. I’ve learned how to negotiate differing views, take harsh feedback, fulfill on your vision, and change the system so that your legacy is sustained”.

Her book details how we can learn from the vision, commitment and actions of people who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles (such as hunger, corruption and oppression) every day. It also guides us to transform our perception of leadership and to become effective leaders in our own lives.

Unlikely Leaders has been inspired by key themes which have emerged for me in the last two decades as CEO of The Hunger Project Australia. Although I have been exposed to extreme desperation and misery, strong messages of courage, boldness and vision have been paramount,” says Cathy.

“Cathy Burke’s unique voice and insights on leadership will influence the way we think about change and culture for years to come.”
– Jon Williams, Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC

“What Cathy Burke has to say should be listened to.”
– Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Former Vice President Uganda