Featured Interview With David Ross
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Born and bred in the ‘burbs of Sydney. It’s a city surrounded by fantastic national parks to hike in as well as a stunning coast.
And where I grew up, I was so fortunate to live right near, what we call, the “bush”. It was remnant eucalypt forest. It was such a wonderful place to spend my childhood, being able to spend my time with my friends on our bikes surrounded by nature.
It was only later in life that I realised how much of an impact that had on me. Today, I am once again living right next to the “bush”, allowing my teenagers to experience something special.
It is also paradise for the family pet, Pippy the wonderdog. She is a kelpie, an Australian working dog breed, and just the most loving pet that we could ever hope to have.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I probably only realised recently that my fascination with books was always there. Since I was a kid. I grew up fascinated with Australian Indigenous stories like The Rainbow Serpent. The mythology, the connection between humanity and nature, just the deeply different mindset to that which dominated my world was an eye opener. And then, I found To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a game changer for me.
I’ve been writing plenty of articles for ten years, extolling the need for leaders and organisations to adapt to a rapidly changing and turbulent world.
But, Confronting the Storm had to be my first book.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My reading tastes are pretty eclectic and a favourite genre is difficult to pin down. Perhaps it depends on my mood at the time.
In years gone by, I loved works by Stephen King and Clive Barker. I loved the way that they fleshed out a story, gave the characters and location a history, as was the case for me with It. When Clive Barker was at his peak, however, I’ve never come across anyone who would come remotely close to what he could achieve with respect to the ideas, imagery and worlds he would develop in his fantasy books.
Nevertheless, I love how Kinky Friedman gives me a guilty laugh when reading his books or how I can’t put down the crime thrillers written by John Connolly or Jo Nesbo – or even the stories by Tim Winton.
However, no one has ever inspired me to write non-fiction more than Rachel Carson. Just as Harper Lee fuelled a fire for social justice issues, so too Carson lit a fire under me. Somehow, I had never heard of her until I was studying environmental and ecological issues at university, many years after she wrote Silent Spring.
She had been hearing stories about the impact of pesticides on human and ecological communities. The way she communicated what was happening left me numb before fueling a passion that remains to this day. Her work and courage were transformational in how we saw the world, facilitating the development of environmental legislation.
I can only dream to follow in her giant footsteps.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
While I commenced writing Confronting the Storm just before the pandemic started, in actual fact, the book had been within me for at least ten years.
You see, working as a strategist and a peacemaker at the intersection of corporate strategy, government policy, community, and the natural environment, I see how the traditional story of leadership has adversely impacted upon lives, livelihoods, and the planet. Like Rachel Carson, I get to hear stories that never leave me. Similarly, I hear about the stresses that executives are experiencing as we live in times of momentous and turbulent change, where trust in our organisations is in crisis.
There has to be a better way.
And so, in Confronting the Storm, I argue provocatively that the leadership styles that have been celebrated for centuries are now an obstacle to progress. Just reflect on that for a minute.
Instead, we need a more collaborative style of leadership if we are to successfully deal with the storm of complex social, environmental, and economic challenges and opportunities now faced.
My argument is amplified by some of the most inspiring global leaders who are successfully confronting the storm – including a former Prime Minister, former Foreign Minister, and one of Fortune magazine’s ’50 Greatest Leaders’ and more!
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