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Business leaders reflect on the lessons of COVID-19 in new book

Business leaders from around the world have shared insights into their COVID-19 strategies and learnings from 2020 in a new book called Human: Bold leadership through crisis and change.

The second edition of an annual publication series curated by global tech recruitment leader Talent, Human provides insights from 20 top leaders into the biggest challenges currently facing our world of work and how they have responded to the COVID crisis. 

Featured in the book are David Gonski AC, Jane Tewson CBE, Holly Ransom, Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, and Andrew Barnes among others. 

The book highlights a different side of leadership and provides a vulnerable and authentic take on the topic from some of the world’s top leaders. Their stories offer no holds barred accounts of the personal obstacles they have encountered in their leadership journeys, providing readers with insights and strategies into leadership in the new world of work.

Talent Founder and Executive Chairman Richard Earl said Human speaks to the importance of strong and people-focused leadership, especially in these turbulent times. 

“I believe that true leadership is forged during times of crisis. The leaders in this book offer great insights into the valuable lessons they have learned through navigating the challenges of COVID-19. In 2020, our worlds were turned upside down and leadership was put to the test, the leaders we have chosen to feature in this book all offer unique insights and different approaches to the many obstacles of the past year."

Talent’s Global CEO Mark Nielsen said the leaders featured in the book all embodied empathetic leadership. 

“One thing that has been most evident over the past year is the importance of leadership, and the enormous impact good leadership can have on a company, its people and the wider community. The leaders in Human have offered raw and vulnerable accounts of their personal journeys and their many learning from this year. What comes through most loudly is the need for “empathy” – something that has always been an essential component of leadership but is now more important than ever.”


The leaders spoke to the many lessons they have drawn from the challenges of COVID:


  • “When I think about leadership, especially during times of crisis, there are some common traits that stand out as being important. Strength with humility; pragmatism with a clear view of what is to be achieved; listening and being open to learning.” – David Gonski AC, Business Leader, Company Director & Philanthropist


  • “We need to make sure that we are learning, investing in and practicing the human-based skills like resilience, tenacity, agility and humility required to meet challenges, rather than just a traditional education-based approach.” – Jane Huxley, General Manager Spotify EMEA


  • “We need to ask ourselves, if we survive this pandemic, what survives with it? If our culture and our values and our mission don’t survive, what’s the point of getting through this?” –  Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, CEO Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. 


  • “I believe that leaders who are stepping up in today’s environment are layered, adaptable, and dynamic so as to be useful and on the move at any given moment.” – Holly Ransom, CEO Emergent 


This is the second edition of Talent’s annual publication series Human. Last year, Talent produced Human: Global perspectives on diversity in tech which featured first-hand accounts from individuals, offering insights into what the technology community is doing to create more inclusive environments from the perspective of the individual. 

Human: Bold leadership through crisis and change is available for download here.