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The ‘Leaders Unlike You’ event was a unique platform to showcase alternative forms of leadership through the world of art. The event highlighted much needed diversity in leadership through imaginative and creative mediums; without any biases or restrictions.


The exhibition allowed for leadership to be portrayed in different ways: from artistic representations of leadership and storytelling, to videos highlighting the diversity of Birmingham markets, to the very visual expression of leadership from Lilith and Paul Aleksandr, two members of Birmingham-based Drag Punk, a queer collective of drag queens who have become role models in their own right for queer young people across the city and beyond. 


One of the most important roles the ‘Leaders Unlike You’ event played is portraying leadership as inclusive, challenging mainstream perceptions of leadership and giving voice to under-represented groups. The event emphasised the importance of diverse leadership and allowed for those attending to broach difficult conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion. Drag Punk helped to challenge stereotypes surrounding drag performance and spoke about the importance of being responsible, approachable leaders and role models for the younger generation. The ‘Leaders Unlike You’ event was a great success in which all attendees left with their creative and entrepreneurial spirit reignited.

The innovative and artistic introduction to the Birmingham Drag Punk collective, written by Dr Juliet Kele, is included below. 


1)      Act Two thus begins and it is now my time
To present my views on diversity and leadership via rhyme.
As a researcher on inclusion and diversity
I’ll tell you a few key things that have really struck me:

2)      Diversity is not about just one or a few demographic characteristics -
You know – age, gender, or ethnicity – the classics.
While these are all important and are usually in the press
Sexual orientation, disability and religion are frequently unaddressed.

3)      Sadly, most businesses seem only interested in diversity
When it’s easy to measure and benefits the company.
With diversity and inclusion often going hand-in-hand with the law
Compliance fears take over inclusion’s central moral core.


4)      Organisations therefore continue with the same outdated practices
Viewing targets, quotas and tokenism as diversity quick-fixes.
Diversity isn’t about political correctness or boosting the liberal agenda
It isn’t about recruiting employees for their skin colour or because they’re transgender.

5)      With organisational pressures, some leaders may have lost their way
Yet diversity and inclusion grow in importance with each passing day.
Equal access to opportunities and removing discrimination is the way forward
But how can companies do this when they lack diversity on their corporate boards?


6)      In the 21st century, we need new thinking around who and what leaders are.
We need good motivators and those who inspire – they’re always raising the bar.
Leadership also requires creativity, so today, we are working with the arts
Asking artists how they think of leadership – we need to get away from all those numbers and corporate charts.

7)      I have great pleasure in introducing Drag Punk, a queer collective of drag queens 
Who will now present their view of leadership and what they believe it means.
Drag Punk’s members are Tacky Alex, Amber, Lilith and Paul
You’ll hear about how drag boosted their confidence and helped them to stand tall.


8)      While drag is something visual, we will now get to know the people behind the performance.
We will learn about alternative forms of leadership – it’s not all about status quo conformance.
Thanks again to Birmingham’s Drag Punk collective for joining us before Act 3
In helping us to reimagine the future for leadership and diversity.