Whistleblower: good leaders act
FORMER policeman and high-profile whistleblower, Simon Illingworth, delivered a powerful and inspiring speech to local Bass Coast and South Gippsland business and community members in Inverloch recently.
Mr Illingworth shared his courageous story of being a whistleblower and exposing corruption in the police force to a captivated audience at the Gippsland Community Network Events series held in Inverloch, Warragul and Traralgon.
As a young police officer, Mr Illingworth was first exposed to corruption at a Melbourne coffee house; a front for a gambling operation. He didn’t know what to do when superiors pocketed money in front of him – so he said nothing and walked out the door.
He challenged the audience to explore and confront their own personal values and ethics.
“What would you have done if you were me? If you walk out of the door with me, then you own the rest of the story; and let me tell you it ain’t getting better,” he said
Mr Illingworth told the audience that when people are faced with corruption, “some get on the bus, some run beside it … but very few have the guts to stand in front of it”.
He said that ethical dilemmas in business usually arise from “a lack of leadership somewhere along the line”.
“We have to realise in life that being a leader is not standing on a podium with a cup above your head and it doesn’t occur because of a position you hold. It occurs because you have made a decision; a decision to fight,” he said.
Mr Illingworth became the face of anti-corruption at a very young age.
‘Standing in front of the bus’ for what he believed in resulted in death threats and bashings. He was forced to move several times to protect himself and his family.
“Although there was only about five percent of crooked police, unfortunately it seemed that most of the police force were willing to run alongside it, and that was the damaging thing,” he told the audience.
Mr Illingworth believes one person can make a difference but that everyone must own an organisational culture.
He encouraged the audience to challenge the status quo, give a pat on the back for a job well done, and to trust that the best, most ethical decision will always be the one that requires the most courage.
The Bass Coast South Gippsland Business Alliance events are held quarterly with the support of Federation Training, Telstra, Bendigo Bank and Bass Coast Shire Council.
The next event is Thursday, May 25 and will feature keynote speaker Geoff Green, a business exit strategist and author of the book The Smart Business Exit: getting rewarded for your blood, sweat and tears.
Details of the event and registration can be made by contacting Kirstyn Krausz on 0413 187 576 or email@example.com.
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