Anna Sheppard, Founder and CEO of Bambuddha Group strongly believes the power of Kindness is world changing. With a deep commitment for creating equality based on her lived experience, Anna began Bambuddha Group to empower corporate leaders and their teams how to ‘work kinder’. The team at Bambuddha developed an evidence-informed kindness curriculum which minimises risk and improves outcomes across all organisational areas. Bambuddha Group is a multi-award winning social enterprise that provides leadership coaching and corporate kindness programs.
Anna has added value to thousands of companies and inspirational leaders by showing them how to ‘work kinder’ and is also the founder of several other major initiatives, including The Corporate Kindness Awards, Working Kind Collective (the world’s first kind business centre), the Impact Studios and The Corporate Kindness Project, which is an Australian-based research study focusing on the business benefits of working kind. The first white paper was released in 2019 and is now an upbeat, honest and feel-good podcast show called ‘Project Good Boss.’
Anna Sheppard and Bambuddha Group have won multiple awards for work in this space, including being recognised as one of the ‘Top 10 Leadership Development Training and Coaching Companies 2021 in APAC’, ‘Top 50 leading light for APAC’, ‘Top 50 most impactful LinkedIn Influencers’, a 2021 NSW Business Awards finalist and currently, a finalist for 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards.
Anna believes in a future where every leader and organisation is committed to creating a sustainable world of equality and opportunity for everyone.
In this interview Anna shares how she is using Bambuddha to contribute to that future by building a movement of like minded people and leaders who prioritise kindness.
She shares with us her incredibly colourful background and how it inspired her passion for diversity and inclusion and her commitment to building a movement of kind leaders. The sense of belonging Anna talks about early in the interview weaves its way through the rest of the interview as a constant theme. The interview also includes a great discussion on the need for kind leadership today, more than ever.
(Excuse the couple of barks towards the end of the interview – introducing Monty our beautiful mini-Groodle. Oh the joys of working from home!)
Here are some of the highlights of this interview:
- Anna talks about her early years, including finding her “gang of others” and how it was able to give her a sense of belonging.
- She highlights how her travels around the world opened her eyes to the massive disparity of opportunity that some people get in life vs others – which she found difficult to understand and which spurred her to create Bambuddha.
- Anna shares with listeners how Bambuddha is empowering leaders with knowledge through a 12-month academy with masterclasses and support. She also shares some of the other ways that Bambuddha Group is delivering on their mission, including:
- The Bambuddha pay-it-forward model which funds a Gamechanger Program – a scholarship program for diverse and under-represented business owners and leaders.
- The world’s first kind business centre in Stanmore; a space where people can come together to collaborate
- The 5 key pillars of a wholesome Kindness Curriculum that they have built
- The Corporate Kindness Index that is in development to track how leaders are improving in each of those areas
- The Corporate Kindness Annual Conference and Awards –showcasing leaders who are leading the way in kindness
- I ask Anna to share a leader who inspires her and why; and she highlights three very different people: Nelson Mandela, his prison guard Christo Brand and Pamela Bishop, the COO of Blooms The Chemist (and the recipient of the Corporate Kindness Awards – the Gamechanger Award, the highest honour of the annual awards).
- Why ‘kindness’ is so important and what it means to be a kind leader.
- We talk about the importance of empathy and how a leader might be able to operate with kindness even if there is a lack of capacity for empathy.
- Why the answer to more meaningful work doesn’t necessarily mean going to work for a non-profit organisation.
- The importance of support from others and building a community of like-minded people to support you on your leadership journey.
- She zeroes in on the results of kind leadership: brand trust, happy workforces, staff retention, community engagement, investment, well leaders and reconciliation.
Connect with Anna