Alison Vidotto is a mother of six, published author, professional speaker, CEO of Vidotto Group, Founder and Managing director of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam, qualified ESL teacher, trainer, and business owner. Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others.
Born in England, Alison is one of seven children. When she was 13 Alison’s parents moved the family to Melbourne, Australia. At 16 Alison was living and working independently and working full time, but determined to continue her education. Married at 18, Alison had her first child at 21 and sixth at age 34. During that time Alison put herself through night school, completed a tertiary degree and started a number of successful small businesses whilst being a devoted mother to six children, often alone while Lou travelled to site and moving 20 times in 15 years.
Alison set up her first small business in 1992 and found many of the same challenges business owners experience today. Having worked through the Australian 1992 recession, the Global Financial Crisis and Brisbane’s 2011 floods, Alison has developed a real world understanding of potential hardships businesses face and the need for strategic planning to survive and grow through tough times.
In 1998 Alison discovered her passion for teaching while working for a large, successful institution. It was here that the importance of streamlined and effective systems and strong leadership illustrated the success of the organisation. It became evident that these large business processes could be applied directly to small business and would make a significant, positive impact to the businesses success.
In 2006 the Vidotto family went on a trip to Vietnam, during that visit they had the opportunity to spend some time at an orphanage in Hanoi. They were quite overwhelmed at the challenges facing the children of the orphanage and other street kids (and former-street kids) that they met. When Alison returned to Australia she was determined to do something and the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam (ACCV) was born. Later in 2007 Alison met a young blind man named Quan, whose story and situation had a profound impact on Alison. ACCV is a fully registered charity that now supports over 200 families across three different programmes.
The lessons Alison learned during her journey she now shares, offering leadership and business development coaching and training courses for individuals, team leaders and business owners. Alison’s experience will ensure you have the lessons needed to achieve your personal and professional goals.
Stephanie: Hello, Alison and thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell me how you discovered indieBRAG?
Alison: Hi Stephanie, great to meet you. Thank you for the opportunity, I’m thrilled to be interviewed for indieBRAG. I read an article about Geri and indieBRAG on lulu.com when I was writing my book.
Stephanie: Please tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.
Alison: My book; 22 Leadership Fundamentals is a Leadership memoir. It covers the solid foundation of leadership with real life stories of how we implement leadership principles in our day to day lives. I wrote the book for a few reasons; I had been encouraged to write a book by a number of people and I had considered it a few times. The main reason I decided to go ahead was because I couldn’t find leadership books that I could really relate to. Many leadership books are written by incredibly successful, high profile people who have many followers. I thought it would be good to have a leadership book that was written by an ordinary person going about their business using solid leadership principles.
Stephanie: Please give me an example of how can people apply the advice in the book in their careers?
Alison: The book contains real life examples of how the principles of Leadership have been applied to situations people face in life and in business. At the end of each chapter are a number of reflection questions for the reader to reflect on the role leadership plays their own lives.
Stephanie: What sets your book apart from other books like this?
Alison: It is a Leadership memoir. While it covers the fundamental principles of leadership it also includes real life examples of my life, my business and the lives of young people living in poverty in Vietnam.
Stephanie: When did you know this was a career path you wanted to take in your like?
Alison: I have often taken the lead in work and community organisations. Raising six children while travelling the world with my husband’s work required the constant application of many leadership skills.
Stephanie: Could you give me some examples of strong leadership?
Alison: I believe that authenticity and integrity are an integral part of leadership, especially when it comes to making difficult decisions. You know that you have to do the right thing even when it’s not popular or easy. Making those decisions with integrity and empathy are the backbone to leadership.
Stephanie: What are some of the many mistakes you see people make in leadership?
Alison: Failure to share the purpose and to engage the team. A huge percentage of employees are dissatisfied with their leader. Appreciating and engaging team members has a direct impact on workplace culture and productivity. Gratitude and training for employees goes a long way. Communication is another area that leaders must constantly work on, both positive and negative. Too often they do not take the time to clearly outline tasks and expectations to the team, this includes the purpose of the task they are setting. Leaders need to also follow up with feedback, again, both positive and negative.
Stephanie Will you be writing another book like this one? What are you currently working on now?
Alison: I would love to write another book, I just need to find the time. I currently write leadership blog articles for my own website and also for the Australian Business Womens network (http://www.abn.org.au/blog-list/leadership/). I have developed a Leadership training programme since writing the book. I am currently working on a fundamental leadership workbook.
Stephanie: Are there any challenges you find in writing and what was your process for writing this book?
Alison: I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a former grammar teacher so it took me a while to be happy with what I’d written J Overall, I love writing and the book was simply me telling my stories and sharing the stories of some amazing young people living in poverty. I endeavoured to simply share our stories of leadership in the real world.
Stephanie: Thank you, Alison! It was a pleasure chatting with you today. J
Thank you Stephanie, I really appreciate your time! J
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Alison Vidotto, who is the author of, 22 Leadership Fundamentals, of our medallion honorees at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, 22 Leadership Fundamentals, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.