19 April 2017 By Corinne Szczurek

Here we are at Day 4, ready for another inspiring session.

We eased into the morning with a Ted Talk, exploring the analogy of the Golden Circle with insightful, bestselling author Simon Sinek. The key take away message was definitely that "people don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it".

We then welcomed Judy Utley into the room. Heading up the Human Resources department at Treasury Corporation of Victoria, Judy has a wealth of knowledge to share... 

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10 April 2017 By Blake Monahan

Day two at Igniting Leadership today’s session starts as every day should, with a crazy man dancing erratically. Valuable lessons were learned from “The Dancing Guy”, sometimes you have to stand alone and persevere through the hard times. When you get that first follower the importance of acceptance and the rest will come.

Next was one of the most challenging and engaging times in the Igniting Leadership program thus far, values. Why ask “what do you do?” when we really want to know “who are you?” This was a personal challenge for many of us in the group to really take time to think about what is important to us.

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5 April 2017 By Susannah Palmer

By the end of day 3, the consensus was... exhausted! We had an action packed day with speakers, group activities and delving into our strengths.

A "speed dating" activity didn't lead to love but it did give the group a chance to reconnect after a week apart, with weekends and work in between. The bridge building activity saw one functional bridge (out of three!!) which didn't win (ROBBED) but a lot of cooperation.

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31 March 2017 By Peace and Prosperity

It seemed appropriate that Peace and Prosperity should be the duty syndicate for our first day on Australia's economic prosperity. We chose to start at the macro (what does it all mean) and then focus on the micro with a live example (penalty rates).

The entire 2017 cohort were asked to participate in the conversation, starting with a pre-workshop survey monkey, polls throughout the white paper, and the chance to reflect and consolidate on pre-survey responses at the end of the day.

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29 March 2017 By Catherine Bennett, Alfred Psychiatry

Day one of the Igniting Leadership Program 2017 was an interesting day of new connections, new information and, for some, a new way of thinking. The day started with a warm welcome and introduction to Leadership Victoria and the Igniting Leadership Program.

We heard from an inspirational speaker who shared their journey of adversity and personal growth. I was fascinated with this speaker’s experience of learning acceptance, and contentment with where they were in life and what they were able to achieve. Our second speaker shared a powerful story about identity and a change in philosophy. The speaker’s experience was one that I hadn’t heard a lot about before and I was able to see a different world-view to what I am used to seeing.

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17 October 2016 By Kath Knott, Nexus Primary Health

Our focus for day three of the Igniting Leadership Program included Drivers of Change (Rob Hart), Coaching (Marion Macleod) and the FIRO-B profiling tool (Lynn Scoles).

We started our morning with a quick round of speed networking (similar to speed dating) to bring us together, reflect upon last weeks sessions and how we have begun to put into practice the things we have learnt.

As a lover of quotes I thought I might sum today up in the quotes provided by our highly talented and skilled speakers:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

Our calm presence liberates others from fear

It all starts with knowing and coming to terms with yourself

If you are planting for one year, grow rice. If you are planting for twenty years, grow trees. If you are planting for centuries, grow people

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance

You've got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was

We finished with more practical tips and strategies to implement todays teachings in our workplace. It is an amazing group to be a part of, energetic and authentic, and I look forward to day four.

Kath Knott, Preventive Health and Engagement Officer, Nexus Primary Health

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17 October 2016 By Jo Bidwell, Victorian Building Authority

Apparently we’re a lively bunch according to Oenone and various speakers throughout the day. I’m intrigued about our group. What makes us lively compared to others? Does it perhaps have something to do with the values of this (exceptional) group of people...?

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17 October 2016 By Deborah Riley, Melbourne Water

It’s Thursday morning, and I am walking up an imposing corridor in the Old Treasury Building towards a large room. The walls are line with historical oil paintings and grand doors opening onto grand offices. The scene is set for a serious day of high-brow thinking.  Laughter erupts from my destination down the end of the hall and I‘m a bit relieved – the people I’m about to join sound friendly.

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9 September 2016 By Aaron Lange, Neami National

During day seven of the Community Managed Mental Health Management and Leadership Program, the focus was on coaching, change and conflict.

In the morning, Leadership Victoria Associate Louise Thomson gave us a crash course in coaching, highlighting key concepts such as the importance of listening well and asking open questions. She also introduced us to the GROW® model of coaching – Goals, Reality, Obstacles/Options, Way Forward.

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2 September 2016 By Leenie Fabri, Community Development Manager, Trainer & Graphic Recorder

Illustrations by Orientation to NFP Board Leadership Program participant Leenie Fabri.

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31 August 2016 By Ross Taylor, Neami National Ringwood

Today Bill Jarrard, Leadership Victoria Associate, spoke to us regarding ‘Pushing through resistance to lead innovatively’.

In order for innovation to occur successfully within teams, the three vital ingredients are focus, people and time. Leaders vary in how much direction they offer; keep in mind how much direction your team is seeking.

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24 August 2016 By Jeremy Angerson, Jodie Heriot, Linda Keenahan, ‎Katie Scott, Sara Shepherd

Day five of the Knox City Council’s LEAD1 program saw our group head to Leadership Victoria’s office in the beautiful Old Treasury Building. We started the day by celebrating lots of the groups’ achievements, ranging from new job secondment opportunities, new business ventures and new babies!

Richard Dent formally started the day by helping us to solidify the purpose and vision of our Community Leadership in Action Network (CLAN) projects. The rest of the morning was spent in a polarising discussion on a topical case study showing the ‘dark and dangerous’ components of leadership within local government. This was an eye opening experience and really helped to highlight some moral and ethical leadership challenges.

The highlight of the day for us was hearing from guest presenter Christine Kotur, Leadership Victoria’s Leader in Residence, who led an enlightening and highly engaging conversation about community leadership. Her way of thinking about local government’s unique position was inspiring and informative.

We concluded with another round of Peer Consultation, where we supported some of our fellow group members to resolve their workplace challenge enabling them to look at their challenge from a different perspective. Such a wonderful learning experience for everyone.

While we are drawing closer to the end of our time on the program it is clear the group is really growing and developing leadership skills and knowledge! This has been a great experience for all involved.


By Knox City Council LEAD1 Program participants:

 Jeremy Angerson, Festival and Events Officer

Jodie Heriot, Community Services Business Support Officer

Linda Keenahan, ‎PA to Director Community Services

Katie Scott, Team Leader Capacity Building/School Focused Youth Service Coordinator

Sara Shepherd, Team Leader Health Development/EHO 

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22 August 2016 By Karen Martin, Frank Kazantzis, Geetha Soosay, Jacquelyn Towns



Accountability and decisions

Deontology and teleology

Ethical decisions

Reasoning and justification

Scenario based discussions

Health leaders

Introductions and buddy chats

Positive, not really…. Don’t crush the kittens!

Having not known what to expect, we arrived in the beautiful treasury building surrounded by many smiling faces, and greeted by a high school big band, there was no need to be ‘anxious’ at all. (The band may or may not have been for us). Our Program Facilitator, Tony, set the tone of the day with talk of music and energisers to keep the feel of the room at a happy and attentive level.

The first session of this module was all about the fundamentals of leadership, and we were all surprised. LV CEO Richard introduced us to the graph of leadership which we all found most interesting. To be comfortable is not great and to be panicked and overwhelmed, well no one wants to be that - not for long anyway! The tone of the room became more anxious as Richard spoke about leaders taking their crew into the overwhelmed and anxious zone, perhaps we were a little more anxious than other groups after all...

Leadership programs are always very interesting, but throw in a mix of Health Professionals from a range of disciplines, and it makes for very lively discussion! 

The second session delivered exactly what it promised. We were confronted, we were challenged, we were made to think outside our comfort zones about both our own leadership styles, and those of prominent world leaders. Through the magnifying glass of ethical dilemmas, some more believable than others, we thought about the competing roles of our own moral compass, that of organisations, communities, and more globally to nations.

Tony returned and we took what we learned into our third session where we were challenged to put our wits to the test and tackle a real life ethical scenario. Deciding right from wrong was not the hurdle, that was the easy part, we all had opinions on that. Dissecting conflicting values and analysing a path to resolution was where the skill was at. The discussions continued and we found we were equal to the task.

Most importantly we were reminded that despite all of this, that with consideration, thought, honesty and humour, we are all well-equipped (and more so now) to take up these challenges.

All this from the beauty of a graceful old building in the thriving CBD, what more could we ask for!

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8 August 2016 By Honeyeater Syndicate group, African Leadership Development Program

Waking up early on a cold Saturday morning to attend a leadership session is not a common way to spend the weekend. Personally, Saturday is a day where I relax and catch up with friends and reflect on my week. Through African Think Tank and Leadership Victoria’s African Leadership Development Program, I have the opportunity to be part of 36 African leaders to explore and build our leadership potential.

We had two guest speakers to share their expertise in practicing adaptive leadership. Karina Ojeda, Project Manager of Casa Cultura, an organisation that unites artists and art-lovers from South American backgrounds who are living in Australia. She encourages leaders to be proud of their heritage and share it to the wider Australian community. She also emphasised that leaders need to listen to the needs of their community and be persistent and determined to reach the desirable goal. The second speaker was Mbene Letsamao, Chairperson of the Botswana Association in Victoria. She shared about her organisation, the active demographic and their success and challenges. The underlying theme to summarise their presentations was that they inspired us to be authentic and take action in the capacity we have, and look at challenges as stepping stones to our dreams.     

During the course of the day we were given scenarios to practice our approach to adaptive leadership. The group exercised their leadership skills and also came out with fresh insights.  

Every time when I have a blissful day full of inspiring outlooks I ask myself this question: ‘What did I learn today?’

To summarise the day, I came up with these few statements:

You can contribute to this world in many outlets as long as you dream and take action Take all challenges as a learning process to equip you for your next try Be a facilitator to the changes you envision Educate yourself by reading and researching

I have attended many leadership programs that have challenged my perspective and provoked me to take radical action and this program has definitely ignited the desire to change my lifestyle.


“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”― Mahatma Gandhi

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2 August 2016 By Mim Dineen, Narlinga Morgan and Bronwyn Rouse

Opening with reflection on days one and two, day three took us on the journey of change. Our facilitator, Kat, provided insight into numerous change models, concepts and activities. The Personal Power Grid stood out and as did the Change Wheel. 

It’s amazing how changing ten things about your appearance can be so telling about how we process change and react. 

Personality preference was touched on and we were encouraged to consider the conserver, the originator and the pragmatists within our teams.

Some light fun in “the jelly bean game” highlighted some competitiveness within but eventually we all saw the benefit and value of collaboration and partnering. You’ve got to give trust freely, for others to give trust in return.

Day four, we found ourselves out of the mental health sector and working for 'Bridgeworks' to design and build a bridge in Western Port bay. Leadership roles, changing roles, team work and uncertainty was all part of the reflection for us to consider.

Choosing Community Leadership Action Network (CLAN) themes and groups took a bit of convincing, but we were able to see the big picture and establish our essential questions.


"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading"- Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and writer

Interpreting this quote is where we found ourselves in the middle of day four. We all reflected on staying an egg or becoming a bird. 

To wrap up, we were guided through the process of Self Improvement Goals and our underlying immunity and awareness. 

On reflection, it’s inspiring how revealing the participant of our group are willing to be and the trust in the group was palpable. By Mim Dineen, Narlinga Morgan and Bronwyn Rouse, Community Managed Mental Health Leadership Program participants.

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28 July 2016 By Cameron Norton, Davidson Executive Victoria

Forget E = Mc2. The formula you need for professional success is E+R=O.

I first learnt this simple, but powerful formula from Jack Canfield’s book ‘The Success Principles: How to get from where you are to where you want to be.’

Since learning about E+R=O, it has formed part of my daily thinking to keep me moving forward in my career and life.

But this blog isn’t about me. It’s about helping you to achieve success in your executive career.

So what does it stand for and why do you need to remember it?

Before I go into what each letter stands for and why this formula matters, I want you to think back to a time when you went through or led a restructure, experienced a redundancy, were overlooked for a job that you thought you should get or when it came to performance review time, you just didn’t get the raise (or in government terms, the increment) that you thought was a done deal.

I’m sure almost everyone reading this will have been through at least one of these events.

Think back to how these events made you feel? How did you respond to them? What were your outcomes?

For some, an event like this can define their life and unfortunately, not in a positive way.

As an executive recruitment professional in Victoria, I get the opportunity to meet with many people at interesting stages of their career.

I get to learn about a person’s career history and delve into the good, the bad and the ugly to truly understand where they have come from and where they are wanting to go.

It becomes evident through these conversations that the most successful people have all faced hardship or events that could have derailed them but instead, they changed their behaviour and their actions to produce their desired outcome.

A simple formula for success in your career, which winners have been using is:

Event (E) + Response (R) = Outcome (O)

So what does it stand for and how can I apply it?

The basic premise is that events happen to you whether you like it or not. These events have an impact on the outcomes you achieve in your career (and in your life). The only thing that you can change in order to get a different outcome is your response, your R.

If you don’t like the outcomes you are getting, you need to change your R.

Think of when the Board or head of your organisation announces “we’re going to restructure the company to drive more efficient measures, change direction, services and outputs.”

Does this message fill the organisation with optimism and hope?

Unlikely. Does it cause staff to question “what does it mean for my job, will I be able to work the same hours, will I still sit next to Joe, oh no…. will I even have a job?”

Staff are likely to fall into a downward spiral of emotions during the limbo period between an announcement about a looming restructure and knowing what it means for their present situation. It causes inner turmoil, stress and their minds can go into overdrive with the creation of disaster scenarios.

It’s not a good place to be, particularly as a leader in charge of implementing this change.

But what if you, and your team, had the attitude that things like this are going to happen and that you have a choice of how to respond to get the outcomes you want?

Regardless of the event, the outcomes are likely to be different.

In the case of a restructure or significant changes to your business area, you might facilitate your team to consider what opportunities come from the event/s.

What are the new things that you can do now, that you haven’t been able to do in the past?

Whatever it is that you do as a leader, you can take charge of how you and your team responds and you don’t let the event dictate what the outcomes are going to be. So choose your responses when events happen and keep changing your responses until you and your team achieve success.

As a professional adviser to CEOs, Boards and Executives on their workforce needs, I often provide advice to clients that they should be recruiting people that are in control of their R. Some traits to look specifically for during the recruitment process are the traits of optimism, curiosity and grit.

Curious people, by their very nature, seek to understand new ways of operating and are not afraid to change the status quo.

Grit or perseverance is the key ingredient that turns the curious leaders’ learnings into tangible outcomes.

Think of the difference it would make to an organisation to have people that take charge of their R and regardless of the events that happen, are able to work towards achieving better outcomes.

The great thing about this formula is it isn’t unique to only the candidates I interact with. Organisations can also use it to achieve different outcomes (and they are going to need to). Funding model changes (NDIS), rate capping (within local government), change of governments (state and federal), all these events happen and how an organisation responds will determine the outcomes that are achieved in the short and longer term.

Use this formula to supercharge your outcomes in your career, your organisation or your life.

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18 July 2016 By David Reynolds, Davidson Executive Group Manager

Do you think giving your staff more breaks would make you a more effective or liked leader?

As someone who has been in the executive recruitment field for more than 20 years, I hear on a regular basis how many leaders or executives are kept up at night thinking “what can I do to make them work better as a team and be more engaged?”

They are not alone. In a recent article by Caroline Webb (McKinsey Quarterly February 2016) on how small shifts in leadership can transform the team dynamics, she suggests to improve staff engagement and motivation trying a few simple trips.

Webb suggests that simple tweaks in leaders’ communication and behaviour can potentially create a much more productive atmosphere for you and your team.


Dealing with information overload

After interviewing a few leaders, she found that information overload and multitasking were hot topics. One leader, Antony, linked it to the brain’s activity and how it is split across two complementary systems: one deliberate and controlled and the other automatic and instinctive.

The deliberate system is responsible for sophisticated, conscious functions such as reasoning, self-control, and forward thinking. It can only do one thing at a time and tires remarkably quickly.

The brain’s automatic system lightens this load by automating most of what we do from day-to-day.

However, the brain’s deliberate system becomes more exhausted. The automatic system increasingly takes the reins, leaving us prone to making misleading generalisations and kneejerk responses.


Is multi-tasking such a good thing?

This brings me to the point as to why multi-tasking can be a problem. We think we can parallel process, but each tiny switch from one conscious task to another—from reading an email to speaking on a conference call for example—wastes part of brain’s deliberate system’s time and mental energy.

And those switches cost us dearly. Research shows that people are less creative, more stressed, and make two to four times as many mistakes when they deal with interruptions and distractions, as compared to concentrating on one task at a time.

Another way that the deliberate system’s limitations play out in the workplace is that decision-making quality drops the longer people go without a break.

Classic cognitive biases like groupthink and confirmation bias take firmer hold, and we’re more prone to sloppy thinking in general. In one study, where hospital leaders were trying to encourage the use of hand sanitiser, they found that compliance rates fell when people worked long hours without a break.


Silver lining

But here’s the silver lining. If leaders encourage people to go offline when doing their most important work, as well as taking more frequent breaks, they’ll see an uplift in productivity, innovation and morale.

As Antony said he knew that a common hurdle to taking breaks and avoiding multi-tasking was that people often felt they needed to be constantly showing their responsiveness to senior colleagues by always being available, whether on email, instant messaging or in person.

He knew that his own behaviour would be central to shifting norms in his organisation.

He decided to place a timer on his desk to signal that he was taking 25 or 45 minutes to go offline—something that also helped him focus his brain on the task at hand—and wore enormous noise-cancelling headphones to amplify the message.


Just bugger off for a while!

And then, between deep working sessions, he would ‘bugger off for a walk’, as he puts it.

The role modelling worked, Antony says. “It’s become a collective thing in the office now and everyone’s decided that breaks are a legitimate use of time because we get so much more done afterward.”

Antony and his co-founders also created a ‘Monday Meeting’ for all of the staff to discuss how they were working together as a company. After some time, it surfaced that pressures were mounting, threatening to derail their commitment to focusing and recharging. “It was an emerging cultural behaviour and we wanted it to stop. So we set some rules, like ‘we encourage each other to have lunch’ and ‘we schedule breaks between meetings’,” Antony said.

Most importantly, he felt, “we as leaders had to take responsibility for our behaviour and give out the right signals, use the right language, celebrate the right behaviours in others. So we cheered people for leaving the office to go for a run. Later, we adopted the phrase ‘leaving by example,’ encouraging people to use it instead of a mumbled, guilty excuse for taking a break.”

In a Monday Meeting, the leaders took one further step to reduce cognitive overload by asking everyone to name their two priorities for the week. Antony said “the ‘two priorities’ rule” encourages people to be realistic and focused in their work.

 Discovery mode

Another leader Webb interviewed, Ros, believed the problem is our brain is constantly looking for threats to fend off or rewards worth pursuing.

When we’re more focused on threats than rewards, we’re in defensive mode. Our brain diverts some of its scarce mental energy into launching a ‘fight’, ‘flight,’ or ‘freeze’ response and as those instinctive responses unfold - looking more like ‘snap, sulk, or skulk’ in the workplace -  scans show less activity in the parts of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex.

Simply put, some of our more emotionally sophisticated neural machinery goes offline.

But then there’s discovery mode, where people’s brains are focused on the potential rewards in a situation. For instance, this could be a feeling of belonging or social recognition, or the thrill of learning new things. If leaders can foster a rewarding environment, even amid the most difficult situations, it’s likely that they can dampen that primal feeling of being under threat just enough to nudge people out of defensive mode and back into top form.

So now Ros always begins meetings by talking about what they’ve done well. The result: she could see how it calmed everyone down and helped people think more clearly. Ros emphasised that “it’s not about trying to spin or gloss over the problems. But beginning with what’s working well puts everyone in a more open frame of mind, meaning we can look at what’s not working without people getting defensive.”

Ros also reinforces her team’s feelings of autonomy and competence, two things that feel highly rewarding for the average brain. Usually, when a colleague has an issue, leaders help by offering advice or direction. But that can backfire, because a well-intentioned “have you tried this/that . . .” can be subconsciously interpreted as a judgment, as in: “why haven’t you tried this/that?” This mild cognitive threat can be enough to constrain the deliberate system and make people less creative in their own thinking. The alternative: create a space for people to do their own best quality thinking.

Ros uses the “extreme listening” technique. She asks someone what they want to think through, and lets them talk without interrupting or making suggestions. Sounds simple, but Ros says it feels a little strange initially.

Ros says helping colleagues feel capable of handling matters on their own “is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, as it provides a great boost to their resilience and confidence.”

It means leaders have to meet three main types of deep social needs if they want their colleagues to thrive:

Inclusion: “Do I belong?” Existing staff may be worried that they’re going to be excluded from the exciting new work. The newbies, meanwhile, will be wondering whether they truly fit in. Respect: “Do people recognise the value I bring?” Everyone on the team wants to feel that their efforts are useful and appreciated. Fairness: “Am I being treated just like everyone else or do I at least understand the reason that things are the way they are?”

The evidence is pretty clear. Colleagues will behave more like their best selves, more of the time, if leaders take a few modest steps to foster an environment where people’s brains aren’t overloaded.

Focus more on rewards than threats.

So when are you going to ‘bugger off’?


David Reynolds, Davidson Executive Group Manager, has over 30 years of experience as an executive in the recruitment, consulting, accounting and tourism sectors.

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17 July 2016 By Karina Smith, Housing CHoices Australia

When offered the opportunity to attend Leadership Victoria's Igniting Leadership program I thought why not - professional development can only be a good thing and there is nothing to lose and hopefully a lot to gain.  So it has begun the journey to the Igniting Leadership Program.  Like a lot of people walking into a room of unfamiliar people means you are automatically out of your comfort zone and within the first 10 minutes we were told you will experience times of being overwhelmed - correct.

The first session was 'old scholars' sharing their experiences.  Were they inspiring?  Yes.  Were they interesting?  Yes.  Did they make me think why am I here?  Yes.

We were asked to reflect on the sharing of the 'old scholars' and to my surprise the following came out of my pen.  “Education, whether it be formal or simply experiencing life, is powerful. It can provide clarity, vision and a belief in self.  Don't stop asking why or more importantly - why not?" 

A little too profound?  I actually surprised myself - a little wisdom out of my sense of being overwhelmed - and I thought "well if this is what I get out of today, fantastic, I'm happy".

However, after lunch Geraldine Coy addressed the group and WOW this lady has made an impact - passionate, articulate and thought provoking.  Geraldine IS a leader, an inspiration, she made me feel that it is a duty for all of us to be leaders, to believe in ourselves and have conviction to make change.  I thought, "well, this is now enough to take out of day one," and I felt comfortable.

But wait, there's more.  For the final session Richard Dent OAM facilitated a role play task.  The topic was current, violence against women and more specifically a heated discussion held on Q and A between two social commentators.  Out of my comfort zone - definitely.  Richard pushed us to consider both sides of the conflict and to look deeper into their reactions, this made me think there will be situations where you need to identify why others have reacted how they have.  These skills will be invaluable.

Is my brain ready to explode? Yes. But wait, tomorrow is another day. Let’s see what that and the remaining sessions bring, and if I am a leader.

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17 July 2016 By Linden Heywood

What a start to the Igniting Leadership course! At the end of the first day I felt stimulated and challenged by the speakers, and inspired by my fellow program participants. 

The session that me inspired me the most today was the first session, "Igniting Leadership”, featuring two former graduates of the program, Maryum Chaudry and Tesfaye Yigzawe. Maryum and Tesfaye both spoke about the challenges and rewards of being a leader in their respective communities. Maryum is a Muslim woman, born in Tasmania but of Pakistani descent. She attributes her success as a leader to knowing her intention, and not letting voices of criticism distract her from that intention. Tesfaye is a recent migrant from Ethiopia and has shown passion and persistence in supporting his vision for his community in Australia, even when he has suffered discrimination, including in seeking employment.  

I was particularly struck by the good humour, determination and tenacity both Maryum and Tesfaye have shown in sticking to their visions. Their reflections showed me the importance of having a clear purpose, and the importance of having the clarity of mind to not be dissuaded from that purpose even in the face of setbacks. 

In the Igniting Leadership Program, I hope to clarify my own particular vision of leadership, and I am looking forward to seeing how my vision grows and transforms over the coming days.

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17 July 2016 By Avalon Wainwright

I have attended many leadership programs that promise to take participants out of their comfort zone and whilst that sometimes does occur throughout the course of the workshop, the feeling does not tend to last. Which is not necessarily a bad thing!

The agenda was flexible (we had a large number of attendees and people were eager to share Buddy Introductions, so some agenda items were ever so slightly shifted) and I was impressed by the individual roles each table was responsible for and the gusto with with each table accepted and performed these roles.

Unsure of what to expect from our guest speakers, Maryum Chaudhry and Tesfaye Yigzawe, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the interesting backgrounds of each, what their drivers and motivators were and that both found themselves more towards the "start" of their leadership career rather than the traditional, well-experienced and accomplished guest speakers which I have previously experienced at other programs. It made for a refreshing and engaging change!

Listening to the other attendees' Buddy Introductions, addressing questions with my fellow table companions and participating in the 'strengths based feedback' session with others from neighbouring tables, highlighted the genuine, warm and dedicated nature of the participants of this program. Like myself, they see this as an opportunity to continue to learn and develop and are willing to step outside of their comfort zone to do so.

Ending day one of the program with Richard Dent's "Leadership Dissected" presentation was particularly challenging but also fun! We were encouraged to be creative in our thinking, and in pretending to either be the antagonist or the protagonist, the group truly "dissected" the example provided in an inclusive, engaging, and unique manner which I haven't experienced before.

I find myself curious and eager to experience the offerings of the remaining days of the program.

Avalon Wainwright is a Team Leader at State Trustees Limited. Her role includes managing two teams. The Genealogical Research Team assists in the location and identification of next of kin entitled to a distribution from a deceased estate and the Will Writing Team serves to provide excellent customer service and expertise in the writing of Wills and various EPAs.

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16 July 2016 By The Weedy Seadragons, WCLP'16

Saturday was a day too good to be inside. Except when you are doing the WCLP’16 Saturday program. Being in the JJ Clark room was the place to be.

The main session was focussing on mindful leadership. The buzz around the room after the session closed gave the impression that for some it was the highlight of the year. Many questions about how to become more mindful were raised. My take-home was that ‘mindfulness leadership’ is when you are able to look at the problems you are enveloped in and reflect and then grow as a leader by developing. The nagging question in mind is ‘When should I be mindful and when should I roll up the sleeves and dive in?’.

The Rise Up Australia presentation highlighted that anyone has the right to run for Parliament, no matter what their ideas, values and creed. The democratic process is powerful as people express their support for these values and ideas. Just under 10,000 Victorians of 3.5 million expressed their support for Rise Up in the recent Victorian Senate election. 

During the presentation,s anecdotes and stories were presented and illustrated their power, enduring methodology as a leadership method. Questions were answered by illustrations around personal experiences and little evidence. It tended to harden the audience’s views rather than develop common understanding. It highlighted how some may feel comforted with the stories. Whilst those that the stories didn't resonate with felt their blood pressure rise. Questions looking for evidence-based answer were batted away with anecdotes. Questions based on experience and insight were ignored. Questions with passion, evidence and experiences were ignored and topics changed. 


The Weedy Seadragons syndicate: Sonja Bauer, Marg Burge, Chris Corbell, Belinda McKay, James Piplios, Bridget Sebire, Chris Sounness, Jessica Zammit

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10 July 2016 By Lisa Gort

Day 5 – 5/7/16 – Afternoon

Reflections! – The Connected World

During the afternoon we once again spent time in our Work place challenge groups. Wow – I experienced individuals really digging deep to work through and understand their challenges. There were some great learning experiences shared, including suggestions of where changes could be made to existing practices and internal thinking to help overcome challenging situations.

The group was further challenged with the guest speaker – Deborah Stewart from Monash Health. She shared the benefits and strengths of the networks we participate in and challenged us to explore networks outside our sector. It was very informative to hear about open (as opposed to closed) networks, where there is likely to be a more balanced view of world, rather than being amongst people with a shared and common purpose.

Deborah shared that it is demonstrated that performance will increase if individuals are in more open networks and have better career opportunities.

The other guest speaker was Graeme Kelly, CEO of E.W. Tipping. He challenged the group in doing things differently and allowing networks to assist. Graeme also shared with the group the value of being on boards and provided some ideas of how to explore this area.

Day 6 – 6/7/16

Driving Change

The group spent time reflecting on their 360 Degree feedback and what others had indicated that they could improve at. The room was very quiet as everyone pondered. It is difficult though refreshing to openly know areas of self-improvement.

We moved into further reflections at what we had learnt so far, and how our learnings were sitting with us, and how this will assist us in doing things differently in the future

Then the Bridge Challenge was upon us. Everyone immersed themselves into their roles to create a bridge from French Island to the mainland, with the specifications and material provided (cups, straws, skewers, tape...), and then the change came upon us. The budget was cut, material disappeared, then the specifications changed and lastly the timeframe was reduced. What did this exercise show us? We needed to be flexible when in a changing environment, that leadership styles can revert back to a default style and team work is at risk of being diminished. Everyone had great personal insight into their own personal journey.

The last workshop of our day was the Immunity to Change Model (Keegan and Lahey). The group members were very open in sharing and made themselves very vulnerable. This model was very thought-provoking and all admitted that trying to change ways of working and thought patterns was difficult. All were challenged with this exercise and members had to dig deep, and be willing to share of themselves. Everyone expressed that the session was very worthwhile.


Lisa Gort, participant, Community Managed Mental Health Leadership and Management Program

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7 June 2016 By Jeremy Angerson, Jodie Heriot and Felicity Smith

Good news - all present and accounted for.

Inner and outer circle work - sharing some illuminating, sometimes personal and always insightful thoughts with each other to warm us up for the day.

Buddy conversations gave us all the warm and fuzzies, and were completed with time to spare

Daniel Goleman's (internationally renowned psychologist) homework sheet propelled us into new vistas of leadership and the varying styles of leadership that help to identify our own styles and those of others. (Footnote - a good leader has the ability to fluidly and easily dance between a healthy mix of styles, given the requirements of the situation).

The guest speakers all shared heartfelt and compelling stories of their personal journey through leadership. Particular highlights included: understanding your core values, having respect for self, being present and mindful (moving between the balcony and the dance floor). All speakers had great passion and were driven to create meaningful change in society. Their perspectives were all unique and thoroughly engaging.

After some sustenance it was time to wheel out 'the coach' within. We explored coaching styles amongst ourselves where we could 'take risks with a soft landing' and where we could take our shoes off to step into someone else’s. We put our listening and questioning skills into practice, for the ‘coachees’ to self-identify solutions.

We ended the day on our Community Leadership Action Networks (CLAN): we locked in and chose a CLAN topic and spent some team time revisiting the issues and planning a path forward.

That's a wrap!


Written by Knox Lead Program participants Jeremy Angerson, Jodie Heriot and Felicity Smith.


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19 May 2016 By Antje Dun, Igniting Leadership Program graduate

Step up, stand up

Know thyself, know others, vulnerability a must,Anticipate emotions and build the trust,

Pause, be present, listening to listen,Care and share to help others to glisten,

Know your passion, your purpose, keep asking why,Know your passion, your purpose and continue to try,

Flexibility, integrity, opportunities galore,Kindness and empathy - keep building more,

Lead the follower, follow the leader - we can do both,Boogie on the dance floor, the balcony is for growth,

Acknowledge, empower, celebrate win-wins,Use framing and coaching to swim through the din,

Step up, stand up, it's a choice one can make,Leadership is a journey that I can take...

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11 May 2016 By Kerry May, Monash Health

Driving to Chateau Yering we felt very much that we were leaving our worries and jumble of thoughts that consume us in everyday life behind, setting the scene to indulge in self-reflection, learning and growth.

Among us there were nerves, as we were going to an unfamiliar situation with people we did not know.

Our guest speakers were a highlight of the day, the most important message being that great adversity leads to great growth - the crucible concept.

Jacqui Cooper's sharing of her experiences, her determination and mental strength blew us all away. Carmel Arthur's courage in great personal adversity, self-insight and courage in circumstances beyond our experience was deeply moving. We hope a book manuscript is in progress so that her stories can be shared more widely.

The FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavioural) debrief was confronting, disturbing and surprising, but on consideration and reflection we saw it as another tool in our leadership toolbox.

We are grateful for the supportive atmosphere (soft landings) in the room, but most importantly the wine tasting where we plan to work through our ethical dilemmas of wine selection through the lens of deontology. 

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10 May 2016 By Shayne Armstead, Systems Manager, Uniting AgeWell

I was thrown a little into the deep end when I arrived right on commencement time (some may suggest I was late, I utterly refute that) in that I wasn’t present on the first day of the program so I had no real idea of what was going on - alas a fine gentleman from the Uniting AgeWell Quality team got me up to speed in no time and went straight into reflections from the previous day and a small outlook on what was up-coming today from LV Chief Executive, Richard Dent.

From there we jumped straight into the FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) session with our facilitator Katalin Howell, where she explained the framework to the group and had everyone estimate what they might score across each of the 6 domains and as result of that we were asked to match that score with a list of de-identified actual scores posted at the back of the room. A really interesting activity in which I think a couple of people got their match correct. I was some way off on the other hand, missed it by 8 points overall which was a lot considering my overall score was only 15! An Interesting exercise none the less which lead to some further conversations during the breaks.

Following on from this guest presenter Dana Eisenstein (Mindscape Consulting) presented on emotional intelligence, a topic I must confess I knew very little about (in fact I considered Googling what it even meant at the start). A fascinating, insightful and exceptionally well delivered presentation was consumed by all of us from Dana and I know personally I left the Old Treasury Building yesterday questioning why I'm so unemotional and what that might mean. Thanks Dana!

The day was rounded out by some really productive workplace challenge sessions which I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of and sharing my challenge with my group.

I look forward to days 3, 4 and 5.

Over and Out,

Shayne ArmsteadSystems Manager - Corporate Services Uniting AgeWell

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9 May 2016 By Charisse Ede, Uniting AgeWell

Day three of our Leadership Victoria / Uniting AgeWell Leadership Program saw us learning about effective communication and adaptive leadership.

Do we always hear what we are being told? Do people hear our messages? Are we communicating effectively with our peers, or our staff? How can we improve our communications to ensure all people receive the message?

We looked at five essential communications of effective leaders – do what you say and lead by example; make complex issues simple so staff can understand what they mean for them; find your own voice; be visible, not aloof; and listen with your eyes as well as your ears. If the way you are communicating is not effective, you might need to try another strategy.

Our guest speakers were informative and thought-provoking. Their expertise in the aged care sector sparked interesting debate and ideas about how we, as leaders, prepare our organisation for the future.

We explored leadership qualities and values – was Mother Theresa a great leader? What were her values and ethics? Were they in line with our own values? And what about Hitler? Or Nelson Mandela? Or Julia Gillard?

Many of these leaders were successful for their ability to inspire and draw people together, for their ability to communicate effectively, or their ability to adapt to change.  But some ultimately failed because of their compromised ethics or values.

A key learning of the day was how to be an adaptive leader. We looked at approaches to adaptive challenges, managing self, energising others and intervening skilfully. Leadership Victoria put us through our paces by asking us to devise solutions for key issues facing our industry and organisation specifically, and how we would overcome these challenges. 

Putting the skills into practise, even if hypothetically at this stage, is a great way of ensuring we truly understand what we are learning.

9 May 2016

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2 May 2016 By Melitta Baker, Uniting AgeWell

Day one of our five-day leadership program started with myself and two colleagues, who were there supporting me with a knee injury, following the rest of the Tasmanian team to the Old Treasury Building.

We enter the room and everyone settles at tables of their choosing. We were quick to learn that we would need to spend the day in a state of productive disequilibrium. We were to find our "buddies" and introduce ourselves.

Anxiety sets in as I find myself with no buddy. I scan the room, breathe again as I realise I am not alone and team up with two other buddy-less colleagues.

We are all keen to get started on our journey of self-awareness. Come at us words of wisdom!

We discuss our upcoming FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) reports. What hidden depths will they reveal about ourselves? We are then urged to take off our shoes, figuratively speaking. Our journey is beginning.

The morning is fast, engaging. Who are we? How do we lead? What is the point of difference between leading and managing? Is leadership rare due to all the missed leadership opportunities? Are we adaptive? What will the headlines be in our industry in 10 years? 80 year olds getting on rockets, aged care now being funded more than correctional services. Are these things possibilities? Can I lead people to achieve these ideals? I can at the moment, I'm inspired!

The afternoon sees us exploring workplace challenges, helping each other with solutions. We are a cohesive team, go getters. Louise McGuire (Manager, Home and Community Care Operations, Department of Health) then gives us a run-down of leadership styles. Her honesty is appreciated, we take on her challenges and apply them to our own situation.

We start to tire, it's been a long but productive day. Situational leadership, we are thinking about where we sit as leaders. What is our style? Our learning is ensuring we are moving from unconsciously incompetent to unconsciously competent. We are sitting in the driver’s seat.

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22 April 2016 By Linda Keenahan, Katie Scott, Sara Shepherd, Niels Unger, Judy Wilding

The sun is shining, the aroma of bacon and eggs, the cows mooing and they continued to serenade us all day. Some of us went for morning walks, some of us enjoyed a sleep-in. A perfect way to start the second day of our overnight Immersion Experience, part of the Knox City Council LEAD1 Program.

The morning session started with some reflection on one of the program speakers, Anne Leadbeater - 'An Unlikely Leader'. Such a catastrophic event has had such a positive impact on her life/career. We shared many learning’s from Anne, relating them to leadership in local government and the local community.

We continued exploring the enneagram system (a tool to examine personality types) and how there are nine levels of development within each type. The top three are the high performance levels, with the aim to maintain a healthy level three. We learnt about the different levels for each enneagram type down to the ‘red spot’. It was lovely to sit outside soaking up the sunshine sharing with our buddies about our healthy levels.

We discussed the Arrows and that each Enneagram type has two connecting points. In different situations it is likely that we integrate or disintegrate. We all discussed situations in our work environment as to how this may play out.

We broke for lunch and were fortunate with the weather to eat outside and appreciate the colours of the autumn leaves and the beautiful view of the rolling hills and grape vines.

Straight back into it after lunch with Jason Clarke giving an energetic and powerful presentation on innovation and leadership. Quoting from Churchill –“Leadership is a collision between circumstance and decision”. We all enjoyed Jason’s antics and ability to describe the inner workings of local government and help us to relate to leadership styles back at Knox City Council.

Facilitator Tony Matthews, Leadership Victoria, introduced us to the key phases of the mentoring program and what to expect and look forward to. Mentor = A brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.

Our next and last activity was to workshop four of the community issues we had collectively come up with. We will work further on these in CLANs (Community Leadership Action Networks). The vibe in the room was busy with participants swapping from different issues. Something for us all to look forward to, albeit a lot of homework.

Our final farewell was with a one-word individual reflection. I’m sure many of us wanted to say ‘tired’ or ‘exhausted’, but there were myriad other words that shared our desire for this program to continue to develop our leadership skills.  Before leaving, we selected a postcard which is to be used to write our personal mission statement and returned when we get together again on Wednesday 25 May.


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22 April 2016 By Yvonne Bechard, Knox City Council

A foggy arrival, hot air balloons in the morning sky, autumn colours on fading vines and a special “Knox” bird on the wing greeted us all on day one.

And so the journey began. Those of us from the colder parts of the world came prepared with extra bedding or checked the heating in the rooms early.

We jumped into the day with lots of banter and full of curiosity.

'One-on-one' moments were incredibly insightful. The take-away comments from the huge amount of content delivered and pondered over were a mixture of the following:

“There’s a lot of interesting people that I’ve never met at Council here!”

“The quietest people are sometimes the most succinct.”

“Learn from being uncomfortable.”

The loudest voices in the room aren’t necessarily the most informed or influential.”

“Stop going up!”





By Yvonne Bechard, Knox City Council LEAD1 Program participant

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31 January 2016 By Richard Meredith

Like Mark Crowley - Employee Engagement Isn't Getting Better And Gallup Shares The Surprising Reasons Why - I think employee engagement is vitally important.

If you’re engaged you’re probably happy and motivated, and if you’re happy you’re likely to be more productive and collaborative. And if you’re more productive you’re likely to enjoy the results and want to do more. And so, you will be of benefit to your organisation and its goals.

Crowley says, “Engagement largely comes down to whether people have a manager who cares about them, grows them and appreciates them.”

After 40 years working in and observing small and large organisations in business, the arts, non profits and media I believe there are common factors that help to achieve engagement, quite apart from adequate breaks and flex time.

Here are just a few:

Focus on a project, enterprise or plan. Focusing on a project puts everyone on the same path towards a common goal with clear individual roles and responsibilities. It has an end point that everyone can see. Invite your team to frame the project – what, how, who, when? Provided you are prepared to be open a project provides opportunities for exploration and imaginative problem solving, and a compass to guide your exploration so it doesn’t run off the rails. Try to do at least one project like this a year.

Start from where they are. Start naturally with something social – a lunch, drinks, a picnic in the park. Then begin to nudge your way forward with ideas and questions, sensing when it is time to shift gears, to add challenges, to test trust. There is no need, in fact, it is probably counter-productive to speechify about your good intentions. They will only be proven by your actions.

Get out of the office. Find a venue that is not full of the familiar work equipment and the often sanitised office. This stuff is cluttering your psyche – like a dead weight. Look for a venue with atmosphere. Many conference and training centres look and feel just like offices. Avoid them. Try the local theatre – often empty during the day. Or a chapel, an art gallery. A community hall can sometimes be ‘right’. Or a warehouse. If you have a hometown circus see if you can work in one of their training spaces. Think outside the box – your office is ‘the box.’ Remember when you were at school that one exciting project a teacher allowed you to do that broke the boredom of the everyday routine.

Avoid analysis. As you begin, at all costs avoid analysis, avoid evaluation and avoid ‘correct’ answers. The saying ‘analysis causes paralysis’ is very true at this point in your project. Get comfortable with the void of not knowing and focus your attention on asking questions, opening enquiry – show you have an honest desire to share and to find new ways to undertake the project. NB. If you’re starting from a situation with high levels of mistrust this is going to take a little longer.

Invent your own journey. Avoid expert templates and formulas. As much as they appear to be helpful, these structures from the rational mind are seeking shortcuts to the ‘right’ answer. They will constrain creativity and openness and place control in the hands of whoever introduces them. The only thing that matters is your team’s project and your willingness to explore its possibilities together.

Minimise the ‘communication’ junk. This is not a time for powerpoints or for mind numbing videos. This is a time for facing one another as people. Get rid of all those office props that keep people apart while purporting to enhance communication. Floorboards, mats, cushions, a few chairs and a table for drinks and food may be all you need.

Take unexpected directions. Blast your logical mind out the window and follow your senses. Take what comes your way and build it together. Every great idea looks silly when it first appears.

Practise creativity. Creative exercises help participants bypass their habitual ‘analysis first’ reaction, allowing for openness and exploration. New insights and ideas emerge. Creative practice encourages collaboration and breaks down the barriers between people that have been created by the hierarchies of title and status in an organisation.

Sports people practise. Musicians practise. Scientists experiment. But we seem to think that organisational change and development projects will reach new heights if we simply have a rational discussion.

To get better at basketball or surfing you don’t just think about it, you practise it. Doing feeds thinking and thinking feeds doing. Visualisation fills your thoughts and dreams. Teams learn to work together through practising together. They become engaged. They build a relationship based around their senses.

Creativity exercises the senses. It also encourages openness, fun, teamwork and humour, which help to break down barriers. When we experience the power of taking action together, particularly around an agreed project or plan, of sensing our way forward, of experimenting, we can become true collaborators. And, almost incidentally, we become more engaged. Because engagement is emotional before it is rational.

Getting results

Getting results is essential. Creativity often gets a bad rap because it’s ‘warm and fuzzy’ but doesn’t lead to outcomes. Getting results requires both divergent and convergent thinking and knowing when to use each to full effect.

It is critical to know when to reintroduce our critical faculties, to make choices and decisions. If we commit only a token amount of time to creative activity it will lead to little but it will probably be fun. Too much creativity avoids the requirement to make choices and get outcomes.


Richard Meredith is a skilled volunteer with Leadership Victoria. He is pro bono chairman and executive officer at the Good Life Farm, which provides therapeutic and educational programs for vulnerable, at risk young people.

Richard is founder and principal at Creative Practice, a specialist innovation practice that helps organisations and businesses to make changes that will bring them greater success and enrich their culture.  

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13 October 2015 By Health Sector Leadership Program Oct 2015

Here are a few of our thoughts and key learnings from today’s Change Management (Influence) – Module 3 of the Health Sector Leadership Program 2015.

                             Communication, culture, change

                          CHoice about how you respond

                            Awareness, adversity

                  Build Networks

          Personal Grid

                         ClEar Story



                            Above and Below the line

                           INference – ladder of

                    DeniAl, resistance, exploration, commitment        

                            Glass – capacity

                            Evolving, empowerment

                            Mapping Stakeholder culture

                            Enthusiasm, empower others to own change

 What do you waNt? Ask for it!

                            Transition is the most feared part






Go forth and facilitate change!

- Andrew Sproll, Ai Lin Tan and Michelle McPhee

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16 September 2015 By Bronwen Hutchison, Chad Henry, Matthew Paynter

The day’s session was held at the Leadership Victoria offices located at The Old Treasury Building, Spring Street Melbourne. The day started with a debriefing on how our meetings with our mentors went, with everyone happy with the person they have been paired up with.

To kick the session off we had guess speaker Lynn Scoles, who spoke about emotional intelligence. She talked about what emotional intelligence is and what it means to you. She went through each of the following and explained how it all relates to this subject:

Stress Buttons/Triggers Values Empathy Understanding Others Impact on Others Think before acting Think about how others may respond

Lynn also explained how emotional intelligence can affect the brain and ways to minimise the danger and maximise the reward. During this session we learnt about Amygdala Hijack. This is when the higher levels of stress cause a reduction in our abilities to make good decisions. When we are less stressed we are more aware of what is going on around us.

After morning tea we then moved onto DRIVE and the surprising truth about what motivates us. During this session we learnt about understanding what drives and motivates people and their goals and awareness.

We also went through the differences between internal and external motivators. This could relate to monetary rewards or status rewards. As part of this session we also covered the topics of autonomy, mastery and purpose.

After completion of the Provocation/Drive session when then moved onto our CLAN: Collaborative Leadership in Action Networks program. We finalised the two projects that we will be working on and presenting at the completion of this program. The two projects will be Ageing Workforce and Collaboration.

The afternoon consisted of a presentation by Louise Thomson on motivating and coaching others. This began with an insight into the 'iceberg of a person'. This is the two parts of any person: the stuff you see and the stuff you can't see. The tip of the iceberg (what you can see) represents behaviour, strength, traits and types. Things you can't see include intent, purpose, motives, values, and drive.

From this we broke into groups of three to conduct a 20 minute coaching session by following the below question pattern:

Goals - How are you feeling? What do you want to achieve?

Reality - Who is involved? What, When, Where, How much, How often?

Options - If there was no restriction what would you do? What have you done so far?

Wrap-up - What support do you need to succeed? What option seems the most appealing and why?

We wrapped up the day by meeting a number of the mentors and had round table discussions on various models of leadership going over a variety of experiences with each of the mentors.

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10 August 2015 By Louise Thomson

A small shift in our behaviour will increase our performance significantly.

My husband and I are getting our 'affairs' in order. We've had it on our list for ages and finally we've taken action to get smart with our money. It's been a shock and I'm sure unconsciously I've resisted, knowing of the shock and changes we'd need to make to be more accountable for our money actions!

We've done the financial planner visit, completed the budget, the mortgage broker is working for us and we're about to hit our bank, insurance providers and utilities. Just writing down the notes, actions and thoughts clears the haze which has hung around for some time - not really being in control of what I should be in control of - 100%

I liken this to the control of our leadership behaviors. We generally go about our trade, doing what we know best and generally avoid the opportunity to deep dive into the 'too hard' or 'too time consuming' activity or reviewing or in particular shifting our behaviour for a better outcome.

Knowing that I will save 2% interest by changing banks is the impetus to make a decision to employ someone to make my mortgage shift. Making a correction or increasing the volume of my leadership behaviours by 2% will definitely see significant outputs and outcomes however it's the ability to visualise the potential performance of my personal shift which can be the show-stopper.

The question is - are you prepared to shift? There might not be enough hard data to prove the outcomes let alone having proof that you'll maintain the shift. The toughest action is to consider the decision.

Saying "yes" is a great start.

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5 August 2015 By James Griffiths, program participant

The Fast Track Leadership Program has been one of the most rewarding and eye opening courses I have done since I went blind eleven years ago.

Every person that I have met since beginning this course has helped me grow into a more confident and wiser person. In a weird way it reminds me of kindergarten - wake up, get dressed go to school and all throughout the day you are learning new skills, talking, playing games and making new friends and when you get home you are eager to show your parents all the new skills and things you have learnt.

The different guest speakers are like storytime; they tell their stories and you get to see what obstacles they had and how they overcame them and how they were able to find their solutions for that problem.

In my case the days are long but worth every minute - eight hours, 30 minutes travel to do eight hours in a classroom and that's not including waking up getting dressed and getting home having dinner. When I am travelling I get to meet some interesting people and I use the skills that I have learnt through Fast Track to better myself and feed my growth.

- James Griffiths, Fast Track Leadership Program 2015 participant.

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5 August 2015 By Michael Chan

It’s Day 3 of our Fast Track Leadership Program; focusing on Team Leadership and, I feel inspired to see our facilitators, guest speakers and fellow participants (especially my paired buddy Mitchell) sharing their inspiring stories on how can they get out of their leadership development.

Our day begin with the introduction of team dynamics, which can be occurred in the context of work, education, or even the community. Our guest presenter for this morning is the Paralympian, Hannah McDougall who stood tall to show us the bronze medal she won at Athens Paralympics – it’s really heavy!! She’d given us a recipe for success and hopefully taking away with some positivity to fulfil our dreams and aspirations.

Hulya Kazanasku spoke about the leadership strengths in conflict and further elaborate on DISC (Direct, Influencing, Stabilising, Conscientious) model on how to apply these conflicts. Given the quality of people in the room, this makes perfect sense and I came away feeling more than capable of addressing conflicts while working as a team.

During our speed networking there are light bulb moments happening all over the place – participants deciphering meaningful experiences of their lives, sharing their most astonishing moments arise from fellow participants.

Day 3 wound up with the team activity that is full of goodies – marshmallow, sticky tape, string and pasta sticks. This was an interesting and enjoyable session and I’ve been helping out a fair bit but sometimes not quite than was planned and still time constraints can be a main factor. The exercise allowed me to reflect on the ways in which I might typically work as a team and dynamics can be gained.

I look forward to more challenges and opportunities but next will be our final day of the program – it’s sad that journey is coming to the end.

Michael Chan, Fast-Track Leadership Program participant 2015

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5 August 2015 By Brimbank Leader

Story via the Brimbank Leader, 1 August 2015.

"WHEN Ashraful Alam came to Australia in 2010 as a skilled-migrant, he knew he had made the right decision.

Bangladesh-born, he decided to settle in Albion after falling in love with Melbourne’s west." View the full story by the Brimbank Leader here.

Mr. Alam was one of 27 people who successfully graduated from LV's New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program which develops leaders in emerging communities.

The program was held in Melbourne earlier this year, is currently running in Bendigo and will commence in Geelong late August 2015. To learn more, contact Saya Lorback, LV Program Facilitator, on 03 9651 6590.

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5 August 2015 By Nicole Seretis, Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade

Igniting Leadership Program – Blog – 30/07/15

Hi! Nicole here, reporting on day one of Igniting Leadership with Leadership Victoria!

Wow, what a day! I think the biggest take away from the day for me is the power of stories. We heard from two inspiring leaders who both used stories to engage us, promote the benefits of leadership qualities and to provoke reflections, challenges and questions for ourselves.

Stories were also told by course participants, a friendly and diverse bunch. Stories and experiences which were courageous and insightful and genuinely made me think more creatively.

Leaving the course today I vow to be better at using stories to portray messages, visions and to engage people and to inspire people to think outside the square.

We actively participated in a number of workshops and one of my favourites was strengths based feedback, an activity that involved telling a success story and the other participants listening for strengths in your story and providing this feedback back to you at the end of the story. I got those fuzzy feel good feeling and a few surprises in terms of strengths I hadn’t seen in my self.

A big thank you to the presenters, our host Louise and all the participants on a successful, challenging and inspiring first day.

Special thankyous to my table team and your inspiring attitudes: Leanne – you are hard working and a real ‘go getter’, Mike – you are charismatic and articulate and Briony – you are humble and dedicated!

Nicole Seretis – Manager Quality Assurance – Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade

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5 August 2015 By Mike Pottenger, program participant

Three main themes from the first day? Learning new ideas is hard. Doing things differently is stressful. And making a big change in your life or career is terrifying.

Out of context, these might seem like reasons to stick to what you know, do things the way you always have, and avoid change at all costs. In context, it's a provocation. A clear and direct challenge to push yourself, but to do so with a careful self-awareness of your limits.

Like a performer recognising their nerves and turning them into energy, a good leader can take the difficulty of new ideas, the stress of a new approach, or the terror that comes with complete and utter uncertainty and harness it. More importantly, a good leader can identify these factors in their peers and encourage and support them in doing the same.

The first day was not just about how to make yourself a better leader, but an exercise in thinking differently and deeply about what leadership really means.

Like any theoretical framework, if used crudely, these ideas could be stretched beyond recognition. If we think it's important to help people work outside of their "comfort zones", then what's the difference between simply assigning someone a task you know they'll struggle to complete, or working with them to identify something they think they'd like to improve on?

The first day gave us a chance to think and learn about these and other questions through direct application, and the tools were used to structure the work we did. Our facilitator, Louise, drew us out of our comfort zones with clear rules and a mutual understanding from all the attendees that that was what we were there to do - we could trust each other. It anyone felt like they were being flung out on a trapeze, they could be reassured that Louise had carefully checked the equipment and everyone else was holding the safety net.

With this support, people tried new ideas on for size. They tested out new ways of thinking about questions and executing tasks. And while no one undertook any complete life or career changes during the session, they tinkered with the notion, and imagined themselves doing it. I wouldn't be surprised if they did sometime soon. I know they'll be more confident in handling it when they do.

- Mike Pottenger, Igniting Leadership Series 3, 2015.

Don't miss the last Igniting Leadership Program of 2015! Earlybird closes on 13 August (save over $1,000). Learn more.

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5 August 2015 By Russell Yardley FAICD (WCLP 1995)

The top 10 Do's and Don't on Overcoming Digital Disruption Challenges - a Board perspective.

1.     Outrage NOT ego and greed. Don't let shiny, exciting things (ego and greed) distract you, they are fads which come and go. Pay attention to deep trends (the ones which come from outrage and deep-seated connections)

2.     Disruption NOT just digital

3.     Amplify people with technology, NOT technology with technology. Technology amplifies what people can do. Focus on the people, not the tools they use.  

4.     Understand how and why the culture has been changed, NOT the tool which changed it. Tools don't write strategies for communications and collaboration, but tools have helped us fundamentally change our communication and collaboration. 

5.     Look up NOT down for inspiration. You should look up from your devices to gaze through the skylight for inspiration you should stop staring down at your devices to be told what are your priorities. 

6.     Dig deep to get simple NOT simple to get shallow. You should take the time to drive through the complexities of important matters and then and only then simplify to provide leadership. Do not start with a simple advertising message and look for evidence to support a simplified solution.

7.     Focus on what your CEO is not seeing NOT repeating your CEO's priorities. Seek out what disruption is just around the corner. Do not rerun your CEO's priorities. That's execution and not your domain.

8.     Look outwards and longer term NOT inwards and on the short term. Connect your organisation to relevant successes and learn from other's mistakes. Do not focus on small errors while wallowing in your 20:20 hindsight vision.

9.     Leverage the ability of digital technologies and massive connectedness to help you achieve your purpose NOT be seduced by the impressive but often irrelevant technologies at your disposal.

10.  Use technology with purpose NOT just because it is there. Ethics are important just because it can be done is no justification for doing it. You should Focus on how technology can accelerate your achievment


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13 July 2015 By Grace Ong, County Court

Day one of the Kick-start Your Leadership Program was held in the historic Old Treasury Building. This provided a very elegant setting for the course, with the additional positive note that one of our fellow participants had had their wedding in the same building. At the start of the day, all groups were set a role that had key tasks throughout the day. For example, each session was kept meticulously to the program by the team of clock watchers, our breaks were filled with music from the music-heads and our energy levels were reawakened periodically through stretching exercises led by the energisers. As the bloggers for the day my group and I were responsible for reporting on the highlights of the day’s events.    On the topic of Adaptive Leadership, facilitator Richard Dent (CEO, Leadership Victoria) led us through an interesting assessment on the attributes of successful leaders, comparing the likes of Mother Teresa, Hitler and Bill Gates on their influence, vision and ethics.  On a more personal level, some pre-course homework gave a bit of insight into each individual's own interpersonal needs through a FIRO-B assessment. The results displayed a significantly wide variance amongst all the participants and facilitator Katalin Howell walked us through the different leadership styles which apply to the extremes and mid range of the spectrum. It was reassuring to note that all the different FIRO-B profiles could make successful leaders and it wasn’t about fitting one particular profile. Altogether day one of the program served as an excellent space to think about the work we do and why we do it. Looking forward to day two. Grace Ong is the Senior Project Officer in the Court Excellence team of County Court. Her role manages and delivers projects which support the achievement of the County Court's business objectives.

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12 June 2015 By Bill Jarrard - Imagineer

Not long ago some of my colleagues and I were discussing if we had ever seen an innovation come out of a brainstorming session. The answer was a unanimous NO!

But that isn’t surprising - brainstorming wasn’t designed to develop innovations. Its purpose is to generate ideas – ideas that are useful, sometimes provocative, but always on focus. Ideas - not solutions.

Solutions and innovation take much more. Unfortunately, many people believe brainstorming is all that is needed, and facilitators like me from the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) have been doing our best to show just how false this is – for 60 years!  

Alex Osborn, inventor of brainstorming, and Sid Parnes started CPSI in 1955. The Osborn-Parnes divergent-convergent Creative Problem Solving process is the foundation for the Deliberate Creative Thinking methods I use in my facilitation and creative leadership workshops around the world.

In a five-stage simplified divergent-convergent approach, you can:1. Define the Challenge2. Explore the Situation3. Generate Ideas4. Design Potential Solutions5. Implement or Move to the Next Step

And in each stage this opens up possibilities, then converges on those which are most useful; resulting in a superior outcome and significantly faster collaborative teamwork.

The methodology is strengthened with critical thinking tools to promote effective and creative divergent and convergent thinking in team activities. And just one of those tools is Brainstorming.

If you want to move beyond traditional rational problem solving, you need to adopt the divergent-convergent process and creative thinking tools embodied in Applied Creativity and Innovation.

Have you ever held a ‘brainstorming’ session to look for a solution, and been disappointed?

Join the conversation at @Leadvic

As Leadership Victoria’s resident Imagineer, Bill Jarrard (WCLP '90) helps people and organisations Imagine the future they wish to achieve and then Engineer it into reality. Bill focuses on people and organisational development, with a particular passion for continuous improvement, creative thinking, and applied innovation.

Bill designs and delivers our Leading Innnovation series, including Thinking Strategically to Lead Innovationon 14 July. Early-bird registration (save $200) open now until 16 June.

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18 March 2015 By Bernard Kellerman

The Folio Community Leadership Program is for senior managers who are ready to take the next step in developing their leadership experience, their understanding of community and a broader portfolio of leadership and networking skills.

An informed view of the problems facing your community is a crucial attribute for a great leader, says Peter Gluskie, senior project manager at Australia Post.

"Empathy for others and interconnection with a wider society is what allows you, as a manager to step up to be a leader. Without a high level of emotional intelligence, you risk becoming an autocrat," he says.

It was in this frame of mind, back in 2013, when Gluskie, with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and an MBA, was looking for an opportunity "to expand my mind and to think about these wider issues in society", first heard about Leadership Victoria's programs.

Initially intrigued by the network of people who had attended, either as alumni or as guest speakers, and impressed by LV's other personal and professional development programs, Gluskie signed up for the Folio Community Leadership Program in 2013.

He was not disappointed, but he was surprised at the lasting effect it's had on him since completing the course.

"In that group was a very range wide range of life experiences – but not people I would normally have in my circle of friends – but now I do.”

"It's given me a wider appreciation of so many of the challenges in a way that I never would have considered had I not been in this course."

In contrast to the formal coursework and case studies of an MBA, Folio is much more experiential. And less of a call on your time, with just 10 days over seven months.

While this equals an average of one day per month, a "buddy" system means participants are teamed up to act as sounding boards, compare notes and inspire each other to do further independent research, ensuring the times in between formal program days are productive.

"You're listening to the people on the course and the speakers, who talk about what they got right, and what they got wrong,' says Gluskie.

"You're learning from others as opposed to learning from a textbook."

Participants can expect to have their assumptions and presumptions tested on a range of community and environmental issues – the so-called "wicked issues", the big problems without obvious solutions – described by British social entrepreneur and academic Tim Curtis a few years ago

Gluskie says the topics might change, and being nudged out of your comfort zone on important social issues should never stop – the problem for him was finding a way to learn more: "How to fund anti-domestic violence programs, or how to deal with asylum seekers are not topics you'd sit around with your mates having a beer after work and debate, yet it was interesting to unravel that with other people who all respected each other's views.

A lot of the course time was, as Gluskie put it an "immersive" experience where participants went to places like Sunshine, a suburb in Melbourne's west with high unemployment, or met homeless people and those trying to improve their lot.

"Talk to someone who's been at the front line of asylum seeker programs and you get a different perspective – it's probably modified my thoughts," he says.

"But at the same time it probably made me more aware of what I didn't know, and inspired me to do further research.”

LV works hard at selecting people who are potential leaders, although the emphasis is on those who are looking "to evolve their thinking and mature their outlook", says Gluskie, who has since become more involved in the program, helping to in interview the next round of participants.

Applications have opened for the 2015 Folio Community Leadership Program, which commences in May 2015. Participants can expect to have their leadership potential boosted, self-awareness expanded and their assumptions challenged.





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3 March 2015 By Bill Jarrard - Imagineer

Achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage is increasingly difficult as everyone improves quality and service, cuts costs, streamlines, or restructures.  Many Australian companies have Innovation as a key strategy – but few achieve outstanding results with innovation.  Those that do have learnt that innovation cannot be left to chance and that creativity on demand is critical to their success. 

One key to successful innovation, and therefore organisation success, is new ideas - but not just any new ideas. As the late Dr Malcolm McIntosh, then Chief Executive of CSIRO, prophetically said in 1999:- "In the 21st Century, Australia will earn most of its income from industries that draw their competitive edge from ideas. The only alternative would be to compete on low wage costs - and that is not a solution most Australians would accept."

What is needed are new ideas that address issues faced by organisations today and in the future. And that requires a commitment to creativity. 

Deliberate Creative Thinking offers a proven practical approach to generating ideas that lead to innovation and help achieve success – however you define it. 

As the name suggests, it’s about thinking: choosing the best available thinking approach and technique and applying it in a deliberate manner. It’s a disciplined approach to shifting perceptions to open up new possibilities, alternatives and ideas. 

Deliberate Creative Thinking focuses creative effort, provides tools to develop and enlist the creative genius of people at all levels, and facilitates creativity on demand. These methods are simple and logical, and require a disciplined approach, but can be learned and used by anyone. 

Theodore Levitt said “the future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious”.  This has never been truer. The challenge for leaders is to provide their people with the wherewithal to explore and develop potential opportunities faster and with greater success.

What do you think you will you do today to prepare to meet the challenges that are coming?

Join the conversation at LinkedIn or @Leadvic 

Bill designs and delivers LV's Leading Innovation series. 

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29 September 2014 By Cynthia Mahoney

ILP participants working together
ILP participants working together

Introducing Cynthia Mahoney, facilitator for Leadership Victoria's Igniting Leadership Program starting on 9 October

Imagine if we all built a team of people around us who believed in us, could be there with us through the highs and lows and supported us to be the best we could be?

How powerful that could be!

What could we achieve?

That's what went through my mind when I saw an interview with the inspirational Lydia Lassila after she became the first woman to do a quadruple-twisting triple somersault in aerial skiing at the Socchi Winter Games.

Lydia spoke at length about the vital role her support crew played in her success which reinforced to me just how important the people we surround ourselves with are to our lives. She spoke of her husband, friends and family, her sponsors, her management team, her coach and mental trainer and said, “It is such a team effort and I don’t think I’d be the athlete I am today without all these people in my life. It’s been incredible”.

As a facilitator of leadership programs I’ve been so fortunate to hear the wisdom of many people, successful in their own way, all with their own strengths and talents and learnings about their leadership journey. One common theme is that they don’t do it on their own. They surround themselves with people who have different strengths to them. They have all had mentors who challenged them, raised the bar for them, shared their wisdom and offered support.

My tip? Think about your network strategically and realise you don’t have to do it on your own.

Imagine you are the CEO of 'You Inc'. Who would you want on your board of management? Or you might think of yourself as a professional athlete – who would you want in your support crew?

There are heaps of ways to connect with people and broaden your network to access new skills, perspectives and inspiration whether it be spending time in your community or with family, joining an association or starting a mastermind group, getting active on social media, reconnecting with fabulous people from your past, inviting someone to have a cup of tea with you, keeping up with your professional development, accessing some coaching or mentoring and the list goes on!

What could you do?

Finally, your network is not all a one-way street. You also play an important role for many of the people in your network. To whom could you offer support and in what way?

By taking some time out to review and re-boot our networks, I'd like to imagine we could all be achieving our own version of the quadruple-twisting triple somersault, surrounded by our own support crew.

Igniting Leadership Program at Leadership Victoria

Cynthia is the facilitator for LV's Igniting Leadership Program, designed for emerging leaders. Enrolments are closing soon!

For more information, visit the Igniting Leadership Program page at the LV website.

Program Duration5 days (run over 3 weeks)

Venue: JJ Clark Room, Level 1, Old Treasury Building,20 Spring Street, Melbourne

2014 ILP Program Dates·    ILP Series 5: 9, 10, 16, 17, 31 October - this is the last series for 2014. Enrol here.

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7 August 2014 By Richard Marks

What is it about the power of a great leader? – this ability to inspire and encourage, to make you believe in something bigger than yourself, and to want to work to achieve it. Today, I’m going to be a journalist. Never mind that I can’t write. Andrew Holden, Editor in Chief of TheAge, did it to me this time, reminding us about the power of the media to be more than the next reality TV show or vehicle for the people with too many opinions and too little perspective, but to do good things. To ask the questions that led to the Aboriginal deaths in custody or child abuse royal commissions, to uncover corruption and greed, to stand up to powerful interests and to tell important stories. Stirring stuff – sign me up!

So far this year I’ve been the next climate change warrior, wanted to work with people with mental health issues, I’ve even been convinced by the power of community banking. Talk about inspiring leadership! Throughout I’ve been motivated by some extraordinary people who are exceptionally generous and candid with their experiences and insights.

That’s one of the main things I’m getting out of this Williamson year - exposure to people I would never otherwise cross paths with, from a former governor generals to people running community housing to business leaders, politicians, activists and everything in between. With them, we explore the big issues of our time, and hopefully, gain a broader perspective.

Williamson also encourages us to explore and reflect on who we are and how and why we lead. Today, we targeted some of our unconscious barriers to change and uncovered some of our hidden assumptions. These can be surprising and incredibly challenging, especially when they conflict with our values, and more than one of us was brought to tears. That didn’t stop them sharing their challenges with the group and the support from our truly wonderful Williamson participants was amazing to see and experience. I learn as much from them as from our speakers.

We’re already halfway through the program and off to Canberra next to look our democratic process up close – there’s an old saying: the making of laws, like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Richard Marks is the Regional Manager for Metro at EPA Victoria. Richard leads a team dedicated to preventing and investigating pollution and providing relief to communities impacted by wicked environmental problems. 

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17 July 2014 By Guest Blog - Anna Di Pietrantonio

Engaged, the one word that sums up the day for me.

Had completed my readings, answered my questions and introduced myself to my buddy.

As morning tea drew closer I thought I knew what to expect. Sitting at a table with some nice, knowledgable people that I could have a chat with, some deeper thinkers that would challenge my assumptions and improve my practice.  Then our first speaker walked in Matt Pfahlert (Igniting Leadership) presented his personal story as a social entrepreneur, wow.  I had written quotes on leadership including, "bacon and eggs, the hog is committed and the chook is involved" and "managers do things right, leadership is doing the right things".

After lunch Matt Vincent (are you ready to lead?) presented and I was floored for a second time.  An open, insightful no hold bar presentation, driving home the point to reflect often and seek out feedback.  My take home, be open to learning and reflecting because leadership can be taught, improved and refined.

Louise presented the ladder of inference and we completed our work place challenge.  A little outside of the my comfort zone, but i survived and learnt more about myself.

Ending the day I realised that the thought that has gone into planning this training was in depth, meeting and spending time with my buddy was evidence of that, they just got it right.

I am intrigued, excited and slightly hesitant on what the next four days will bring.

Anna Di Pietrantonio Executive Manager of Disability Solutions with UnitingCare lifeAssist has been in this role since January 2014.  Her background is in Disability and she has worked in the Disability sector for over 14 years.

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5 June 2014 By Jeremy Frampton

It wasn’t until I found myself lying on the couch at home on the Friday evening after the first two days of the Igniting Leadership Program that I realized just how exhausting taking in so much new information and interacting with a whole new group of people for two solid days can be.

So it was with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I arrived for day three of the program, where our theme was to be ‘Change’.

Our day began in earnest with a networking exercise where we were instructed to commence a series of ‘speed networking’ discussions with three of our fellow participants. This exercise was a great way for us to ‘re-introduce’ ourselves to each other and also provided a useful opportunity to reflect on what we took away from the first two days before commencing on a brand new topic.

We had three guest speakers lined up for the day, so there was a danger of potential information overload, but all the participants seemed eager to get the day underway.

Ulli Baxter started off with a discussion about the drivers and dynamics behind change, which provided a number of interesting insights about the experiences of change within organisations, including a startling statistic amount the number of organizations that fail in meeting their objective for change.

In the afternoon session, we had Joanne Marriott (Marriott Ideas and Solutions) give an enthusiastic presentation on ‘Emotional Intelligence’. This was an aspect of leadership I had heard of but had not had the opportunity to learn anything about, so I found this to be an enlightening discussion.

Dana Eisenstein of Mindscape Consulting was the final guest speaker for the day. Dana conducted a very interactive session on coaching and also provided us with several useful coaching tools that I know will be of great use to me as I begin my leadership journey.

Other than these insightful and engaging presentations, the highlight of day three would have to be the lamingtons and scones at morning tea. Without the requisite sugar hit that this food provided us, I’m sure the energy levels of the participants would have been much lower in the morning session.

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4 November 2013 By Jodie Flood, Hobsons Bay City Council

Walking into the final day of the Igniting Leadership program was bittersweet – exciting that I was in for another day of keen insights and learning, sad to know that this invaluable time was coming to an end. 

Communication was the focus of the day and our first speaker, Wade Keenan, brought in some reality checks on the at times brutal corporate environment, and shared three powerful questions that frame his relationship building:

Can I trust you? Are you committed to excellence? Do you care about me as a person?
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22 October 2013 By Simone Quin, CRC for Mental Health Ltd

Day two of the Ignite Leadership program was one of self-analysis and reflection. The day provided a life time opportunity to consider our own values and how they influence our potential as leaders. 

The morning commenced with a five person team based discussion and review of a workplace issue that each of us had brought to the program. The review followed a Harvard based approach. I presented my issue to my team members in a condensed format, they then asked questions and following that I was asked to leave while they discussed the issue between them.

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22 October 2013 By Alicia Colley, WorkSafe Victoria.

In the beginning, so many unanswered questions. Would this be another routine training program? Not likely! The expectation was set very early with a full and lively program. But could it really be as good as others have claimed? Enthusiastic Ignite Leadership participants were promised an energising, interesting and engaging program. Could our facilitator come through with the goods? If so, could this energy continue to day 4?

I’m pleased to say that energy levels remained high on day 4. By the end of the day there were signs of information overload, due to all the new insights into leadership that were gained.

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14 October 2013 By Naomi Kubina, Inner East Community Health Service

The first thing that struck me is that learning is our responsibility. There was a lot of emphasis on connecting with others to learn from them. Leadership challenges across all sectors are similar and it is easy to find someone going through similar challenges to you. But you have to be willing to put yourself out there and connect with other people to find out their stories. It doesn't take too long to find similar challenges and learn what's worked for others.

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14 October 2013 By Tony Cavedon, UnitingCare Community Options

Day 2 of the Igniting Leadership program and I found myself engrossed in thought provoking discussions and dilemmas, and challenged with opportunities to take risks in a safe environment. I had the chance to learn from others in the group, and discover common struggles we have in common. I especially  valued the genuine connections with others which I hope will endure way beyond the course itself.

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14 October 2013 By Lara Pasquale, Consumer Affairs Victoria

I went into this course as I do with all professional development courses... A little apprehensive. I have been on plenty of courses where I sit like a student, listening to a highly qualified person tell me theoretical things I already know about the job I have been doing for years. And to top it off, in a week where I had to squeeze 5 days' work into 3, there were a few pre-course activities to complete. So late the night before the course (I've always been a crammer), I sat reading the materials provided and thought, 'this better be worth it'. Only one day into the course, it is already clear that it was!

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2 September 2013 By Anne-Maree Westbury, EPA

It all started the day before the course when I caught up with my buddy Ken for coffee and a half hour chat before we had to introduce each other the next day. One and a half hours later we realised we really should get back to work and probably had more than enough information for the 2 min introduction, I also realised we would definitely be good buddies.

On day one we all discussed the difference between management and leadership, got to know each other better with buddy introductions and also had some one on one time with our buddies to chat about our ‘crucible’ – a challenging experience that we learnt from and transformed us in some way - this was a very inspiring discussion.

We had two amazing speakers on the first day, Sarah Davies and Matt Vincent, who gave totally of themselves in sharing their leadership experiences with us. These really were the highlight for me. Some things in their stories that stood out for me were:

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2 September 2013 By Louise Close, Worksafe

Looking for ‘leadership from the middle’ and lessons learned from management challenges - two very different perspectives on leadership that were just some of the thought provoking concepts raised on Day 1 of Leadership Victoria’s Igniting Leadership course.

Sarah Davies from the Reach Foundation and Matt Vincent from the Environment Protection Authority shared their perspectives on what leadership means to them, and what they’ve learned along the way.  Both speakers were engaging and generous when talking about their experiences (good and bad!), and left us thinking about the importance of values in leadership, and about identifying and defining what is central to our own leadership styles.  Both raised some interesting points – in particular, Sarah’s focus on values influencing everyday actions, and the idea of looking for leadership from people who don’t hold formal management/leadership roles, got me thinking about ways to put that idea into practice to get the most out of my team.

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27 August 2013 By Lyndal Box, Worksafe

Do you know how it feels when you really challenge yourself?


Sometimes you feel vulnerable as you explore who you really are. Sometimes you feel energized as you make plans for what you aspire to achieve. Sometimes you feel sad as you reflect on a missed opportunity and sometimes you feel joyous when you recognise your strengths and put them to great use.

The greatest lesson I have learned in my Igniting Leadership journey is the importance of constantly challenging myself no matter how uncomfortable it may be. 

We have certainly been challenged over the past five days. At some point each one of us has been a public speaker, a motivator, an artist, a counsellor, a listener, a group therapist, a visionary, a coach, an improviser, a journalist, a humourist and a soul searcher. Our experiences and takeaway messages have been numerous and different. 

Here are my takeaway messages from the communication focus of our final day:

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7 August 2013 By Aysen Gazi, Dept of Premier & Cabinet

Day two kicked off with us all congregating in the break room, sharing thoughts of day 1 and thoughts of what day 2 might bring - the ice has well and truly been broken! Back to business after Louise's welcome - she certainly has the ability to get us all on track and engaged.  The YouTube video of 'The Dancing Man' and subsequent discussion certainly got us all chattering.  For those of us who had seen it before, it was very interesting to see the reactions of those who hadn't.  It's a great example of how a leader (dancing guy), went out on his own, and when his first follower approached, he brought him in and showed the way.   Richard Dent spoke to us on the topic of Leadership Dissected.  We discussed the leadership styles of people including Julius Caesar, Nelson Mandela and the character Atticus Finch from the move 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.  Angela Rutter discussed with us values and the role of values in leadership.   Our afternoon was filled with interaction, discussion and debate.  I have to say it is great to talk about the challenges we face in our roles, share ideas and offer advice, with the light bulb going off above each of our heads throughout the day.

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5 August 2013 By Libby Avram, Dept Premier and Cabinet

The view from the balcony: Igniting Leadership Day 1

Day one of the Igniting Leadership program and we have already learnt so much! The program kicked off with two contrasting, but inspirational speakers who have opened up the field of debate and put forward distinct understandings of what leadership means to them. 

This has given me much food for thought about what my particular 'brand' of leadership is and how this program might help me shape and refine it.  I also met so many interesting people with such diverse experiences to share.  So, along with ideas, networks are starting to form. 

A key question that seems to be occupying the group is the distinction between management and leadership and I wonder what conclusions we will draw at the end of the five days? In the meantime, the workplace challenge starts on day two, 'group therapy'.....

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5 August 2013 By Donald Ritchie, Dept of Justice

What makes someone a leader? Is it different to being a manager? Can someone be both? 

These are just some of the questions raised on my first day at Leadership Victoria's 'Igniting Leadership' course. 

My first taste of the 'LV Way' challenges even than description - course? Seminar? Training? It has been all these and more. Time for individual reflections, interesting guest speakers and an assortment of group tasks kept us energised and thinking. 

The day was well-structured, allowing time for a number of activities, and importantly, time to talk, discuss and reflect on questions and insights. 

In addition to personal insights from the inspiring Matt Pfahlert and  the passionate Guy Mendelson, Day 1 focused on engaging with one another, and with our expectations. 

It's remarkable that a number of people with often similar goals can have such varied backgrounds and experiences. Stories shared emphasized both the strength of our diversity and the familiarity of the workplace and career challenges we face. 

I am looking forward to discovering more about one another as we progress.

On to Day 2!

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19 June 2013 By Alison Medhurst, Department of Environment and Primary Industries

Friday, 9am at the end of a very long week I find myself still contemplating a challenge left with us on Day 3 – What will you commit to? – and wondering if I have the energy to keep my head together for another full day of leadership thoughts, reflections and learning.  Melbourne has experienced some fairly heavy rain overnight and so it’s nice to settle into the now familiar environs of the Old Treasury building, crank up the heaters and set off on another day of our leadership journey.

To start James Garriock takes us through a systems perspective of leadership with great enthusiasm and energy and before long we’re all talking and thinking about how aligned and engaged we (and our teams) are with our respective organisations. 

After the break we find ourselves once again learning how to use a facilitation tool while simultaneously learning more about how we understand leadership and developing some collective answers to our questions.  Dual purpose learning and learning from each other are common to this course!

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19 June 2013 By Marissa Deeble, Project Officer, Worksafe

Day three for me has been the most insightful.  The presentations and discussions have really challenged my perceptions of who I am or could be in the world of leadership.

From change models and emotional intelligence to a reflecting on our own strengths in challenging times, today Leadership Victoria provided us with a wealth of hands on content to build our skills both inside and outside the work environment.

But I can’t forget about the people sitting in the room, it’s the discussions that make it all the more real. Working through the foundations of coaching this afternoon was all the more appropriate as there is so much we each have to offer in ensuring that we all continue to GROW.

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11 June 2013 By Stacey Jewell, Transport Accident Commission

Day 3 of the Ignite Leadership program, and what a way to kick it off with a speed dating activity to get the brain cells pumping and stimulation flowing. For all you aspiring leaders on the single scene, don't get too excited at your future relationship prospects; this was more a chance to reflect on the week that has been including our insights, inspiration and learnings from the first two days in the leadership program, while having a bit of fun along the way.

We were then excited by our first guest speaker, Ulli Baxter, who broadened our minds to the challenges and strategies of driving change. An interesting eye opener to understand change models and which could be effective to use in our own workplaces. A popular fit for most being the Phases of Change Model. Ulli facilitated discussion to help us explore the initiatives we currently use to lead change in the workplace and the difficulties many of us face with supporting and leading staff through this process. The key points to resonate with me being honesty, transparency and communication with staff to help them understand the change journey vision and purpose, what this looks like, and how I as a leader can make this transition meaningful, supportive and opportunistic for our staff. A stand out activity was unpacking the theory that it is not the fear of change that most find difficult, it is the fear of loss.

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4 June 2013 By Josie Brown, State Trustees Ltd

I’ve been looking forward to the program for some time. I climbed the steps of the Old Treasury, a beautiful, grand 19th century building. It’s 8:30am on a cold and wet Melbourne day. In anticipation of the unknown I asked the attendant in the ground floor foyer if I was in the right place for Igniting Leadership. I sure was, there is no turning back now, up the stairs and to your right she directed.

What I soon learnt was that Louise, our facilitator for the program is wound up and ready to go, enthusiastic and ready to challenge us and our thinking. Our group of 23 participants is diverse, also enthusiastic and keen to learn about the mysteries of leadership.

It was a full day, focussed on leadership qualities, including two guest speakers who were brilliant; Sarah Davies – CEO at REACH and Matt Vincent – Director at the Environment Protection Authority.  The stories and experiences that they shared with us were honest, reflective and much appreciated by our group. Both demonstrated the value of being an authentic leader, sharing their life lessons, successes and what works for them as individuals.

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4 June 2013 By Emma Edwardes, Department of Justice

The day started off with interesting discussion around the use of social media in spreading the word about leadership.  We were shown a clip the Dancing Man which emphasised the importance of the first follower in order for someone to become a leader. 

We then had a great presentation by Richard Dent, from Leadership Victoria, who gave an interesting insight into the history of leadership through various stages of human history.  For me, who has a degree in Archaeology this was fantastic!  There was discussion around different leadership styles in particular using the great LV model of leadership: Influence, Ethics and Vision. 

We then had the fantastic exercise of providing solutions to everyone's workplace challenge.  The process of getting into groups and each person having the opportunity to explain their workplace challenge, have the group then discuss and provide advice was fantastic.  It was an excellent exercise and an opportunity to gain experience in explaining a situation, having discussion and then providing advice.  It was an excellent group I was with and the advice was so beneficial.

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6 May 2013 By Abby Pearce, KPMG

Day 5…final day of our program.  The day is met with anticipation, sadness, but also a burning question ““Where to now? What can I do with this new found knowledge?”

Today has certainly provided a time to reflect on the program’s key messages and to think about the future.  Personally, I enjoyed the chance to take time-out and reflect on not only my own leadership style, but what I would like my leadership style to look like.  Where are the gaps?  What could I be doing better?  These questions now seem easy to answer.  I am no longer focusing on the “why?”  but the “why not?” 

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30 April 2013 By Jenny Sim

The day started with us reflecting on the three leadership qualities we would like to develop. I found repeating this activity to be a very useful exercise as it served to reinforce the importance of focusing and developing on our leadership strengths.

Our first speaker of the day was James Garriock. James was an inspiring and engaging speaker. Through his personal journey, I saw in him the leadership traits we would like to acquire, bravery in the midst of adversity, resilience and authenticity. James’s pearls of wisdom, ranging from Leavitt’s diamond, culture and climate, engagement and alignment, were eagerly soaked up by us.

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30 April 2013 By Emily Bogue

How are you? Three little words that count...

Self-awareness is a bit of a pain isn’t it? Here I am, quite content in my bubble – start at 8, head down, bum up, and when everyone else wanders in at 8.30 or 9 and chats away about their weekend or last night’s TV shows, I’m keeping the greetings to a bare minimum. I want to keep the workload under control and get out on time (yep, waaaay at the other end of the day - I’m thinking ahead).

I like to think that people see me as open and friendly, that I’m as approachable and easygoing as some of the best leaders in our workplace, that people feel they can approach me for support anytime.

But Ignite is making me re-think all this. What message is the head down, bum up approach sending? Am I being the person my colleagues need me to be? Am I using emotional intelligence to better understand those around me? Am I playing to my strengths?

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22 April 2013 By Erin Hunter

After three days of the Igniting Leadership Program I knew I was on to something good. Each session was fruitful, insightful and challenging. So when I reflect on my experience so far, why do I feel tightness in my stomach and the notion of standing at the edge of a precipice in my mind? Hmm…

Even though I don’t know what these feelings mean for me yet, I am energised and excited at the thought of a somewhat foreboding change. There’s an opportunity presenting itself to me and I need to grab it with both hands if I am to be true to myself and my leadership potential.

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17 April 2013 By Barbara Aumer, Senior Manager, KPMG

Day 1

Today was about leadership qualities. We heard inspiring leadership stories from different speakers, and had plenty of interaction between our group (including role plays), allowing us to learn more about leadership qualities, our strengths and the ladder of inference in a fun way.


My three key thoughts from today's sessions were:

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17 April 2013 By Tony Sudenary, TAC

Last year I turned 40, which I suppose means I’m officially middle aged. And I suppose I tick most boxes for an Australian middle aged male from this generation – married, two kids, good job, comfortable life in the suburbs.

I cruise along in day to day life, focusing on what I need to do at work, home and at play. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good life - I’ve achieved a lot and, more importantly, I have family and friends that I love.

Then I enrolled in Igniting Leadership and I’m happy to say that this course may have ‘ignited’ more than leadership, it may have sparked the beginning of a mid life crisis…...or perhaps a ‘Crucible experience’? Let me explain.

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17 April 2013 By Sally Doncovio, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Health


Day two of the Igniting Leadership Program began with a video of the ‘dancing man’ or also know as that nut dancing by themselves that everyone remembers from the last music festival you attended. But then the video shows that the nut attracts a ‘first follower’. Others join in and the nut has been transformed into a leader and a movement is created. It was a great light hearted example to start the day off, and an opportunity to personally reflect on whether I am brave enough to be the nut and would I be brave enough to be the first follower and support those people who have the seemingly ‘crazy’ within my own organisation.  

Day two was all about values.  Richard Dent ran through some of the theory behind leadership and explained that model of vision + influence + ethics = leadership. Richard asked the rooms questions about leaders – Margaret Thatcher, Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, Atticus Finch, Mother Theresa. What do you think about these leaders? Did they have vision, influence and ethics? Richard did a fantastic job of questioning the group, challenging people and bringing them out of their comfort zones.

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16 April 2013

It can't be a coincidence, not after I've seen it happen so many times. It's a moment that reveals some extraordinary insights about leadership.

For many years now I've been facilitating community meetings for people who are facing or have just experienced some of the toughest events or decisions of their lives. These meetings have been designed so participants can recall key events, draw new information from  a group with different perspectives and offer insights, suggestions to help shape the future.

I've facilitated these sessions in communities across several states during times of stress brought about by unexpected and unwelcome changes to the way people live and work because industry or business restructures, environmental or planning issues or natural disasters including during the Bushfires Royal Commission, the Flood Inquiry and recently in Harrietville for local people affected by last Summer's fires.

These meetings always reveal lots of anger, denial and blame. This kind of community stress is usually being experienced for the first time. People tell stories filled with loss and sadness. The most pain comes from losing lives and the effect of trauma on children - "choosing which pets to take or leave behind". And then there's lost property, lost jobs, bankruptcy, breakdown...

In most meetings there's a strong desire to blame others -  them...they broke promises, turned up late, were in the wrong place, could've warned us earlier, didn't know the local area, were neglectful, didn't understand or care enough, made stupid decisions... For a while it sounds like they are responsible for taking away people's carefree days.

And then more often than not, something remarkable happens. It takes one person to throw the invisible switch.

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15 April 2013 By Dale Ahern, Communication Advisor, Dept of Premier and Cabinet

Last year, my office had a spare ticket for a Leadership Victoria cocktail event, so I put up my hand.

For someone with no prior knowledge of LV, being in a room full of alumni was a powerful experience. Everyone seemed to possess a strange confidence, visible in the way they voiced ideas, the way they delighted in meeting new people. And there was a strange sense of family about the whole gathering.

I decided that, if the chance came, I’d find out more.

Fast forward to today and there I was, one of seventeen eager participants gathered in the stately halls of Old Treasury for day one of Igniting Leadership.

Over the day, Cynthia, our bright and brave facilitator, steered us from being a room full of strangers to being a group who energised and trusted each other. We shared personal reflections, displayed our acting talents, and joined in a Ladder of Inference sing-along.

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27 March 2013 By Dr Lloyd Nash (WCLP '11)

Democratically elected leaders across Australian capitals are finding it hard to stay on their feet.  With breathtaking speed, those holding the office of Prime Minister, Premier and Chief Minister have been removed after a string of bad polls.  Kevin Rudd, Morris Iemma, Ted Baillieu and Terry Mills all won elections and were not given the opportunity to lead their parties to the next election.  This phenomenon crosses both state and party lines, and is intensifying.  Elected leaders enjoy a very short honeymoon and then have little on which to stake their claim to ongoing legitimacy as leader.


The ostensible reason for moving against elected leaders is ongoing poor performance as measured by public opinion polls.  The Westminster system of government allows the political parties to choose their leader, and therefore the leader of government, so there is nothing in the rules to prevent parties moving against their leader between elections.  Traditionally elected Australian leaders have maintained the legitimacy bestowed upon them at elections and led their parties through a full term of government, but it seems this convention is being trashed Australia wide.  Poor polling is interpreted as a collapse in support for the leader, and by extension, in their legitimate claim to ongoing leadership.

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7 November 2012 By Daisy Brooke, Alison Campbell, Zoe Cocks, Michael Dunn, Jordan Lewis, Victoria Reynolds

The Day Three focus of the October Igniting Leadership Program was on dealing with change and increasing self-awareness.

For Daisy, Zoe, Jordan, Alison, Michael and Victoria, Suzanne Loubris was a highlight of Day Three. She entertained the group with stories of growing up in South Africa and her many experiences training people in emotional intelligence. A key message from Suzanne was - emotionally intelligent leaders don't just react, they choose how they will respond to a situation.  

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29 October 2012 By Rebecca Douglass, Daisy Brooke, Alison Campbell, James Harman, Penny Scanlan, Matt Sinkinson

An enthusiastic group gathered together this morning for day 1 of Igniting Leadership, eager to hear others' experiences, learn a thing or two about our own leadership styles and strengths, and gather some practical tools to take away. And we weren't disappointed.

A small group of us reflected on our take-outs from the day, which included:

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11 October 2012 By Anna Malia

The ILP is similar to year 7 school camp. You are a bit nervous to start with, you don't know anyone, you're not sure who you are going to sit next to on the bus and by the end of the camp you know everybody by name and have created some amazing relationships. And in terms of what you walk away with it's like that feeling when you break from your ordinary routine and perhaps go for a long lazy Sunday drive, it can sometimes feel like you have been away for a week, instead of just one day. Time has a funny way of standing still and offering you some perspective!!!! Just a chance to look at things from another point of view. Well day 3 was just like that. 

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11 October 2012 By Robert Van Duuren

Jumped out of bed just after 6am this morning, had a shower, opened the fridge and found… no milk! First challenge for the day and I had not even left home yet. What was I to do about cereal and more importantly, the coffee to kick start the day? Eggs on toast was organised by my beautiful wife and a coffee in the nick of time upon arrival at the Mercure training room.

Day 3 started with an activity where we had to interact with the other aspiring leaders. Given we had all met, worked as well as socialised together over two days last week, everyone seemed comfortable to exchange their work, home and course challenges for the last few days. It was clear that Matt Phahlert as well as Louise Thompson made quite an impression last week and has generated plenty of discussion. Matt’s ‘diving board’ analogy and story about commitment as well as Louise’s Strength Deployment Inventory resulted in a great deal of reflection and thought. In fact, all the presenters on the first two days were terrific.

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11 October 2012 By Nicky Fernandes

Day two on the Igniting Leadership Programme and all the same faces are there - (no one’s run for the hills as yet... an excellent start.) In fact we welcome a new face into the group, and look forward to getting to know her and filling her in on all she missed the day before. The day starts with a very entertaining clip of ‘The Dancing Guy’ a lone nut that sparks an interesting dance movement, and a very lively debate at my table about the unintentional leader and the obligations and responsibilities inherent in roles - intended or otherwise.

The day progresses onto an insightful talk by Prof. Leon Mann on the 5 themes of Leadership during which he holds our attention by peppering an academic discussion with real life incidents and experiences covering all things from Gandhi to gender differences in the modern workplace. We worked in groups to discuss and provide suggestions and feedback on each other’s work place challenges.

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24 September 2012 By Vali Creus

My manager called me into his office late on a Friday afternoon and told me to cancel my training planned for Monday as I was going on a leadership course and he would send me the details by email.

On the Monday I got the details and as it was set to start that Thursday I madly tried to get all the pre reading and tasks done. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and didn’t have much time to think deeply about it all.

Day one of the Ignite course was an eye opener. It was great to hear the stories of the speakers' and the other participants. I especially found the descriptions of the speakers' crucible moments amazing in their honesty.

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24 September 2012 By Ross Connor

On day two of the Igniting Leadership course, many of us discussed just how much we had taken in from day one. Today’s session was going to start off with a look at the academic side of leadership, discussing our workplace challenges, followed by a look into values and finish up with a look at our ‘strength deployment inventory’ results. With that ahead of us I began wondering exactly how our lessons from the first day would fit with what was in store for the second. It didn’t take long for that to become clear!

Our first speaker for the day was Professor Leon Mann, and he dissected the academic side of leadership for us. These themes rang true for me, as we had heard from some fantastic speakers just the day before that had each shown us what it meant for them, if not in the same terms!

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24 September 2012 By Regina Lane

When I was asked what I wanted out of a five day leadership course, I answered simply, “motivation”, and if I got really lucky, to find a mentor.  On that basis, I could have gone home happy after the first session.  I was literally moved to tears after hearing of the transformational moment from our first guest speaker, Matt Pfarhlet, whose ascent to a leadership position at the tender young age of 24 was just the kind of motivation I was looking for.  His ‘just get in there and have a go’ attitude, which has clearly been his making, had my mind ticking over, and after getting some tips about the who and how of finding a mentor, I was already itching to get out there and take on the world.

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13 August 2012 By Amber Stuart

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Amber Stuart, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

By Day 4 we’d really started to get into the swing of things – the morning cups of tea and rushed catch-ups in between the sessions, finding our place on the tables, drooling over the delicious catering and chewing on the first Mentos of the day. Day 4 had a good balance of inspiring speakers, group participation and time for reflection. I enjoyed the creative brainstorming in the World Café and in the session lead by Jenny Gray from Zoos Victoria. There were high fives all around during the review of our workplace challenges, and discussion of some of our weaknesses during the coaching practice.

For me, the most profound moment of the day came from our first speaker - James Garriock from Insync Systems. While I’ll admit that I thought the title of James’ talk sounded pretty dry, he was an engaging and passionate speaker and navigated us through discussions of performance, culture and climate – encouraging us to look at ourselves objectively and ‘be the person the situation needs us to be’. At the end of his talk James shared an incredibly personal story with us about being the person that the situation needs us to be - I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

And that’s been the great thing about the course so far – reminding us that while we are leaders, we are also people. We've been given practical tips about becoming better leaders, and have also been encouraged to explore our emotional sides in a generous and supportive environment.

Amber Stuart is the General Manager of the Big West Festival, a community-based, contemporary arts festival for the Western suburbs of Melbourne. She has also recently become a qualified pastry chef.

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13 August 2012 By Jess Burrows

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Jess Burrows, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

Unbelievably, it is day 4 of the program.  It’s all going so fast and yet it feels like we’ve been on this program for weeks with all the different things that we have learnt.

First up today was James Garriock who talked to us about a systems approach to strategy, or as he said it, giving us the names of models to support what we already know.  Reflecting on the title of the session, I realise how much more than that we actually got from this time with James.  A stand out point for me was telling the whole truth, how often do we actually tell the whole truth and how often do you find yourself telling a half-truth.  James committed to telling us the whole truth and he absolutely delivered, being exactly the leader we all needed.

I could write and think about the concept of authentic leadership for days, weeks probably.  It’s somewhat intimidating and somewhat exciting.  It’s okay to lead in a way that’s true to me, WOW!

Jenny Gray joined us in the afternoon to speak about the “Big Issues”, it seemed so overwhelming, how do you expect me to identify an issue, make a compelling case, develop a vision and then put together an action plan to implement the changes??  After my initial thoughts I was surprised that as we went through it was so logical and of course I could do that.  By the end of the session my group were ready to go out and solve one of the big community problems, not only with an idea and plan but we were all so passionate.

The combination of speakers and learning from each other’s experiences has made today a great day.  I certainly left at the end of the day feeling excited about the opportunities of the future and the fact I now have more confidence and skills to make the most of them. 

Absolutely can’t wait for day 5!

Jess Burrows is the Project Business and Process Advisor at Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria.  Jess is currently looking at process changes that can be implemented to provide better outcomes for clients and staff and implementing new IT systems to support these processes and future growth of the organisation.

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13 August 2012 By Marcia Ferguson

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Marcia Ferguson, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

We geared up for three speakers on day three of the Ignite Leadership Program. Today focused on Change - how leaders prepare and manage change in their team and in themselves.

The speakers focused on proactive versus reactive responses to change - across a huge spectrum of mild discomfort to trauma. An in-depth analysis of the neurobiology governing our responses to unexpected and the challenging situations was of particular interest. One of the highlights today was the Great Debate. People nominated topics for debate, everyone voted, then threw themselves into the most challenging role - debater, chair, adjudicator and so on. In a close contest, the Affirmatives won the debate not on points but on the gut feeling of the adjudicators!  This was the right way to go (no bias). The topic was  "Organisations need more managers than leaders". 

We also looked at emotional intelligence, in particular, strategies for pausing before acting, how to recognise when change might lead to some kind of learning and when it leads down the path of judgement, denial, blame etc. The lesson of the day was garnering a whole range of information that helps your team work most productively, happily and feel engaged - or, in the words of one speaker, how to find your bliss by helping others.

I'm loving this course - it is inspirational. It's the kind of stuff you wish you'd known ten years ago. Most of all, I'm enjoying being in a room of other people who share common feelings around leading and leading well. You're never alone in a workplace, but you can feel alone was a leader - in that room, I don't feel like I'm alone! 

Marcia is the Artistic Director of Big West Festival,  one of the leading community-based contemporary arts festivals in Australia. Held over 10 days from 22 November to 1 December 2013, our biennial Festival programs events and activities showcasing the exceptional and diverse cultural, economic and industrial qualities of Melbourne’s West. Our activities are firmly based in contemporary arts practice, celebrate local identity, and resonate on a national scale. Big West Festival supports and facilitates collaborations between Western region communities and professional artists to create work that reflects and is driven by, the local community. Marcia has a long track record in contemporary and community arts, including 12 years with world-renowned Back to Back Theatre, first as a freelance director and later as Artistic Associate.

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6 August 2012 By Erin Kan

Erin Kan
Erin Kan

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Erin Kan, a participant in ILP for August 2012, reflects on the program:

Our first task on Day One of the Igniting Leadership Course, was to write down what we wanted to get out of the course and what our expectations were. To be honest, I felt a bit silly writing down, “I want to get the self confidence to actually believe that I’m already a leader in my organisation.”

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6 August 2012 By Sophie Holdenson

Sophie Holdenson
Sophie Holdenson

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Sophie Holdenson, a participant in ILP for August 2012, reflects on the program:

What do peaceful protests, Adolf Hitler and repeating grade 6 all have in common? Day 1 of the Igniting Leadership program! My boss is currently a Williamson participant, and having attended Williamson functions I was conscious that this was not going to be the usual leadership program where you are talked at about leadership theories - and day 1 did not disappoint.

We started the day with Matt Pfahlert, who inspired us all with his story about his journey as a leader starting his own not-for-profit organisation at age 24. The bravery of making this leap at such a young age really impressed me. Whilst Matt conceded that his youth and lack of commitments at the time gave him more room to take this risk, it takes true integrity and determination to take the leap on such a venture.

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6 August 2012 By Tamara Chalmers

Tamara Chalmers
Tamara Chalmers

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Tamara Chalmers, a participant in ILP for August 2012, reflects on the program:

WOW! I feel like I have just stepped off the Gravitron ride at the Royal Melbourne Show. Day two of the Ignite Leadership course has come to a halt and so has my ride for the week. I feel like I have been tipped upside down and spun from side to side. I knew it wasn't going to be a carousel ride but boy oh boy!

My ideals have been challenged and now I am faced with some rude awakenings. Questions have been put to me about my strengths, my weaknesses, what sort of leader I am, am I currently in the right role, am I using my skills to their best ability?

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2 August 2012 By Linda Mellors

Linda Mellors
Linda Mellors

Recently participants in LV’s Williamson Community Leadership Program for 2012 visited several aboriginal communities in northern Victoria. Linda Mellors reflects on the experience:

In the middle of July, the 2012 WCLP group was fortunate enough to spend a weekend away in Barmah, Shepparton, Tatura and Wyuna.

“If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you’re going” (Shane Charles’ grandmother)

The first day included a focus on Aboriginal issues and a sharing of the oldest living culture in the world.

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2 August 2012 By Anna Scott

Anna Scott
Anna Scott

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Anna Scott, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

As I write this, I'm spoilt with a wonderful view of the Noosa Beach. The crystal blue surf is sparking, as the ever graceful surfers take their turn to ride the waves. Warmed by the sun and inspired that I can wear a t-shirt and shorts in July, my thoughts drift back to day four of the Igniting Leadership Program.

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1 August 2012 By Brendan Hoy

Participants in LV’s Williamson Community Leadership Program participate in a range of learning activities including field trips. Recently participants in WCLP ’12 visited several aboriginal communities in northern Victoria. Here Brendan Hoy reflects on the experience:

Last Friday I woke with a sense of excitement that took me way back to my days of school camps and holiday adventures. Departing bright and early at 7:00am, the WCLP group headed north for a field trip focusing on Social Change in northern Victoria.

After a short detour into NSW (I wondered whether LV were mounting a takeover bid?) we arrived at the Yenbena Indigenous Training Centre in Barmah and were welcomed to country:

"Welcome friend, come walk with us, the people of Yorta Yorta country. Respect all you see."

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25 July 2012 By Tiffany Loft

Tiffany Loft
Tiffany Loft

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Tiffany Loft, a participant in ILP for June-July 2012, reflects on day five of the program:

It was with a slight pang of sadness that I began Day 5; the last day of the Igniting Leadership program. Nonetheless, a packed program was on the agenda, just as with the other four days. We got straight into it.

We heard from two very engaging speakers, beginning with the ABC’s Randall Mathieson, who spoke on the importance of maintaining and managing relationships. I found Randall’s insights and reflections extremely relevant and useful. I continue to build relationships of my own as I go through my career.

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24 July 2012 By Sacha Connor

Sacha Connor
Sacha Connor

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Sacha Connor is a participant in the July/ August program and below she reflects on Day Two.

How many lawyers does it take to win a debate? Apparently more than two!

As we near the end of Day Two of the Igniting Leadership course, tired but eager to put into practice some of our "A ha" moments, we re-energise with a Great Debate: "Bad leaders can turn good."

Extremely insightful and thought provoking arguments presented by both sides; not quite as profound as the guest speakers who shared very open and honest thoughts and experiences and certainly provided us with food for thought.

Speaking of food – a big tick from me on the evaluation form!

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23 July 2012 By Guy Sigley

Guy Sigley
Guy Sigley

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Guy Sigley is a participant in the July/ August Igniting Leadership Program. Below Guy reflects on Day One of the program.

Chocolate brownies. Raspberry muffins. Dozing peacefully behind glasses with painted-on eyes (Homer Simpson style). That’s what professional training courses are supposed to be about.

So why am I sitting on the tram at eight o’clock in the morning completing my homework for the Igniting Leadership course? Why aren’t I drifting lazily through the pre-9am rush knowing I have another day of kicking back ahead of me?

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4 July 2012 By Lisa Barlow

Lisa Barlow
Lisa Barlow

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Lisa Barlow, a participant in ILP for June-July 2012, reflects on the program after day four:

When I was asked by my Manager whether I would like to attend the Igniting Leadership Program I thought why not!  I hadn’t done any formal leadership training before and being fairly new to management thought I could pick up a few pointers along on the way that might be useful.  Now at the end of day four, I could never have imagined how much I would learn and take away from the program. I have an overwhelming feeling of being inspired to strive to be a better, stronger, confident and motivating leader, not only for my staff and peers but for myself both professionally and personally.

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4 July 2012 By Halil Ahmet

Halil Ahmet
Halil Ahmet

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Halil Ahmet, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

Day Three of the Igniting Leadership course (28 June 2012) at the Old Treasury Building. 

I found the previous two days of the course a lot more thought provoking than what I had expected.  I was keen to hear more, but when I looked at the agenda and saw three speakers and a debate – I thought, wow there’ll be a lot to get through.

The theme of day three was “Change”.  Ulli Baxter of Ambulance Victoria, (a Change Specialist – great title) presented “Change: Drivers and Dynamics”.  We discussed why 75% of organisational change initiatives fail; ways of implementing change and Ulli provided a “change toolkit”.  I took away that a lot of preparatory work needs to happen for effective change, not surprising but I think the tool provided would help put a structure around it to achieve a positive outcome – I’ll keep it handy.

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4 July 2012 By Maria Catt

Maria Catt
Maria Catt

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Maria Catt, a participant in ILP for June-July 2012, reflects on day four of the program:

Day four of the Igniting Leadership program and again another interesting and inspiring session, this time on strategy and systems.

The presenters are great and have brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in their fields. As the program slowly comes to an end, I start to realise that there is no particular formula for becoming a good leader.

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3 July 2012 By Stephanie Elsdon

Stephanie Elsdon
Stephanie Elsdon

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Stephanie Elsdon, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on day three of the program:

Wow, what an amazing day! Today was easily the most actioned packed and the energy did not cease throughout the day. There were three incredibly inspiring guest speakers and then no one could forget the great debate.

The first speaker was Ms Ulli Baxter from Ambulance Victoria, discussing change within organisations. Ulli provided a fantastic insight into types of change, phases of change and various processes that can be used to ensure organisational change is successful and embedded into culture. Ulli also discussed the importance of resilience and consulting with those who may be affected by the change. One key message I took from Ulli’s presentation was that people don’t fear change, they fear loss. This includes loss of status, job security, confidence, routine or even power and control. This is something that I will always remember.

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27 June 2012 By Chris Kotur

Chris Kotur
Chris Kotur

Chris Kotur has facilitated numerous community consultations including for the Bushfires Royal Commission and the Flood Review. She is Leader-in-Residence at Leadership Victoria.

It started out much the same each time. Each event brought sudden changes no one expected or wanted. Afterwards nothing would ever be quite the same.

Bush fires, floods and economic restructuring have brought big changes to parts of Victoria. Fire and flood-affected communities are rebuilding. Some regions are trying to adapt as economic changes affect employers who restructure or leave town. Each time people's lives are affected in similar ways and each time local, community-based leadership holds many answers to keeping communities on the path to recovery.

Reflecting on these traumatic events over recent years it's clear that tough times also reveal the positive impact of remarkable leadership skills and capabilities. These lessons could well be lost unless we make much more out of what local community leadership has taught us during some of the toughest times Victorians have ever faced.

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26 June 2012 By Matt Gardiner

Matt Gardiner
Matt Gardiner

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Matt Gardiner, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:

I approached the Igniting Leadership program with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. Would it be interesting and engaging? What would the other participants be like? Would I be “torn out of my comfort zone”, as the promotional material promised? As someone who is quite attached to their comfort zone, this last question was of particular concern.

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26 June 2012 By Renee Bowker

Renee Bowker
Renee Bowker

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Renee Bowker, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:

It is Day Two of the Igniting Leadership Program in Melbourne, and the participants seem eager to begin.  The first day has been a journey of inspiring stories, contemplation of leadership qualities and general interaction that yanks you from your comfort zone and makes you realise that this course really is about igniting something – and you hope that it’s leadership.

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26 June 2012 By Susanna Young

Susanna Young
Susanna Young

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Susanna Young, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:

So I think when I decided to do the Igniting Leadership Program I thought that I was coming for a magic potion – the thing that would completely alter my confidence in my own leadership style, tell me exactly what I needed to do to progress my career and life the way I wanted to.

Day one made me completely rethink this approach – no one is going to give me an answer because as our two guest speakers made plain, leadership is something that is specific to you and your true self. Only you can decide that you want to be a leader (or accept that role thrust on you), what type of leader you want to be, and only you can take the action required to get you there. Others inform and are impacted by your choices.

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26 June 2012 By Sandy Bell

Sandy Bell
Sandy Bell

LV's Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Sandy Bell, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:

It's the end of day one of LV's Igniting leadership program and my head is full of ideas, reflections and leadership possibilities - I am actually exhausted!

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20 June 2012 By Emma King

Emma King
Emma King

Last week participants in LV’s Williamson Community Leadership Program visited the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, Supreme Court and Melbourne Custody Centre. They heard from esteemed members of the justice system such as Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, Magistrate Jack Vandersteen, and former Justice of the Supreme Court the Hon. Bernard Teague AO. Emma King blogs here about the experience:

Dignity, respect, humility, compassion… these themes were interwoven as we were challenged to contemplate a balance between law and order and a fair and just society.

Through the lens of an extraordinary range of powerful speakers, we had the opportunity to consider the impact of the existing judicial system on all of the players:

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19 June 2012 By Craig Walsh

Craig Walsh
Craig Walsh

Last week participants in LV’s Williamson Community Leadership Program visited the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, Supreme Court and Melbourne Custody Centre. They heard from esteemed members of the justice system such as Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, Magistrate Jack Vandersteen, and former Justice of the Supreme Court the Hon. Bernard Teague AO. Craig Walsh reflects about the experience:

A cold and chilly morning heralded the start of our Law and Order seminar as the group assembled outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court with great anticipation.

After a 'quick' scan of person and belongings it was to court we went for what was an insightful and entertaining entree from Magistrate Jack Vendersteen into the world of hearings, barristers, solicitors and court room drama. Soon afterwards the Hon. Bernard Teague provided the group with an intriguing account of his experience presiding over trials and Royal Commissions laced with tales of murder, adverse media coverage, community leadership and the art of mentoring.

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5 June 2012 By Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith
Charlotte Smith

The May Williamson Community Leadership (WCLP) seminar, hosted by the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton, focused on Optimizing Health and Wellbeing.

The purpose of this seminar was:

Discuss key health access and equity issues with a range of significant stakeholders. Hear from leaders balancing policy and operational challenges in the public health system. Gain an understanding of the issues surrounding mental health and the delivery of appropriate services and support. Explore current health priorities (including the growth in ‘lifestyle related illness) and for education and change in health behaviours.


LV asked Charlotte Smith to reflect on the experience:

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24 May 2012 By James Brown

James Brown
James Brown

The May Williamson Community Leadership (WCLP) seminar, hosted by the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton, focused on Optimizing Health and Wellbeing.

The purpose of this seminar was:

Discuss key health access and equity issues with a range of significant stakeholders Hear from leaders balancing policy and operational challenges in the public health system Gain an understanding of the issues surrounding mental health and the delivery of appropriate services and support Explore current health priorities (including the growth in ‘lifestyle related illness) and for education and change in health behaviours

LV asked James Brown to reflect on the experience:

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18 May 2012 By Bill Jarrard

Every day, people are confronted by vast amounts of new information flowing towards them from a multitude of sources. Almost everyone feels overwhelmed at some point when trying to absorb, understand and apply this new information.   The impact on individuals varies from simple time wasting to serious health problems. 

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18 May 2012 By Melinda Crimp

Melinda Crimp
Melinda Crimp

The Igniting Leadership program brings together young leaders and immerses them in a rich learning environment. The program offers a mix of dynamic guest speakers, scenario-based discussion and collaboration.

When I embarked upon the Igniting Leadership program, I was unsure what to expect. I knew that I’d be in the company of other managers and leaders, some new to it (like myself) and others more experienced. But I had been a little unsure of how the program would play out. How would I find it? Would it be interesting? Would we have to perform dreaded role-plays? How would they possibly fill five days with interesting and useful content?

Here is what’s happened thus far.

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17 May 2012 By Chris Kotur

Pssst ... I'll let you into a secret – a new trend is underway and it's reshaping leadership everywhere. It was very much alive in the room where I was facilitating the Leadership Victoria Master Class (Leadership Online 4 May 2012) - a key part of LV's Citizen Leadership Project. I came away feeling very optimistic about changes that are challenging and influencing leaders everywhere. Now more than ever before I can see the opportunities to grow and develop community leadership. Here's why.    

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30 April 2012 By Stefan Grun

Laura McKenzie
Laura McKenzie

The second session of the 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) was Australia's Economic Prosperity, hosted by LV's Partner ANZ at their impressive new Docklands offices.

The expert speakers covered the following topics:

Setting the Scene: An overview of the economic landscape and the role of business in sustaining an affluent Australia  Dr Matthew Butlin, Chair, Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission Creating and Maintaining A Strong Bank Sector Mark Hand (WCLP '03), Managing Director Australia Retail Distribution, ANZ Australia in the Asian Century: Engaging with China  James Gathercole, Partner, Sheldon Harris; Victorian State Executive Committee Member, Australia China  Business Council Robert Bell, Head of Super Regional Business Development, ANZ Other Measures of Prosperity – who’s getting left behind?       Stella Avramopoulos, CEO, Kildonan Uniting Care Richard Dent (WCLP '04), Executive Director, Leadership Victoria Scott Sheppard, Chief Executive, UnitingCare Community Options Dealing with Complexity Facilitated workshop with Wade Keenan (WCLP ’09), Acumen International 

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24 April 2012 By Hannah Carrodus

Janet Dore
Janet Dore

Janet Dore is not afraid of making bold decisions.

When she was CEO of the City of Ballarat between 1994-1999 Janet oversaw the Development of the $4m Eureka Stockade centre. As General Manager of Newcastle City Council from 1999-2007, Janet oversaw the planning for a $35m redevelopment of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery.  And in 2008, as the CEO of the Transport Accident Commission, Janet was responsible for organising the TAC’s relocation to Geelong.

Janet’s vibrant career has consisted of an interesting array of senior positions within the public sector and she is certainly a leader with a vision.

Janet says she is proud the TAC continues to be a Leadership Victoria (LV) partner, which it has been since 1997.

Here Janet talks about what makes an effective leader and why the TAC has continued its involvement with LV.  She also talks about the challenges of leading a workforce-the TAC- whose workers are 70 per cent female.

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24 April 2012 By Stefan Grun

Mark Hand
Mark Hand


Mark Hand is an experienced banker who has worked with ANZ banking group for over 22 years in various roles.

His titles have included Head of Audit for the Middle East and South Asia, Head of Credit and Operating Risk Business Banking and his current role as Managing Director of Retail Distribution.

Mark was a 2003 Williamson graduate and since that time he has returned to LV on numerous occasions to speak to Williamson participants.

On Friday the 13th of April Mark spoke to this year’s Williamson participants at seminar entitled ‘Australia’s Economic Prosperity’, with Mark specifically speaking about creating and maintaining a strong bank sector.

Here Mark shares his thoughts about what makes a good leader and why he enjoys talking to Williamson participants.

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23 April 2012 By Anna Thomson

Anna Thomson
Anna Thomson

I walked away from Leadership Victoria’s Igniting Leadership Program: Focus on Food feeling truly inspired. I must admit, I was a little cautious as I made my way to the program on day one: What will the guests speakers be like? What will the other participants be like? What on earth am I doing here?! However, these little doubts were instantly quashed when I arrived and learned that whilst we all came from different walks of life, we were essentially a group who were looking for the same thing – inspiration.

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23 April 2012 By Kristian Dauncey

Kristian Dauncey
Kristian Dauncey

The second session of the 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) was Australia's Economic Prosperity, hosted by LV's Partner ANZ at their impressive new Docklands offices.

The expert speakers covered the following topics:

Setting the Scene: An overview of the economic landscape and the role of business in sustaining an affluent Australia  Dr Matthew Butlin, Chair, Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission Creating and Maintaining A Strong Bank Sector Mark Hand (WCLP '03), Managing Director Australia Retail Distribution, ANZ Australia in the Asian Century: Engaging with China  James Gathercole, Partner, Sheldon Harris; Victorian State Executive Committee Member, Australia China  Business Council Robert Bell, Head of Super Regional Business Development, ANZ Other Measures of Prosperity – who’s getting left behind?       Stella Avramopoulos, CEO, Kildonan Uniting Care Richard Dent (WCLP '04), Executive Director, Leadership Victoria Scott Sheppard, Chief Executive, UnitingCare Community Options Dealing with Complexity Facilitated workshop with Wade Keenan (WCLP ’09), Acumen International 
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11 April 2012 By Hannah Carrodus

Madeleine Reeve
Madeleine Reeve

Leadership Victoria is proud to welcome Madeleine Reeve to the LV Council.

For over 20 years Madeleine has worked in education and training; holding senior roles such as the Director of Education Projects at the Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria, Pro Vice Chancellor of RMIT University and she is currently working as Vice President of Business Operations for Kaplan Australia, one of Australia's leading adult education providers.

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4 April 2012 By Stefan Grun

Jim Betts
Jim Betts

Jim Betts is Secretary of the Department of Transport and has been a regular speaker at the Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP). 

On March 16th he spoke to the WCLP group about transport in the wider context, his thoughts on leadership and why he continues to be involved with LV and WCLP.


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2 April 2012 By Stefan Grun

Dr. Ranjana Srivastava
Dr. Ranjana Srivastava

2011 WCLP Alumnus Dr Ranjana Srivastava has just been announced as the Age Melbourne Magazine's new health collumnist.

Please click here to read Ranjana's column in the April edition out last Friday 30th March.

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28 March 2012 By Stefan Grun

David Parkin
David Parkin

David Parkin is one of the most successful coaches and leaders in Australian Sport. He has won five premierships as captain and coach at two of Victoria’s greatest AFL clubs – Hawthorn (1997-1980) and Carlton (1981-1985 and 1991-2000) as well as a stint at Fitzroy between 1986-1988. Parkin has become a master at translating the leadership lessons from sport into the business world.

Having recently released with Paul Bourke an update to their latest work Captain-Coach Leadership David shared some of the insights which underpin his thinking and philosophies on leadership in our community.

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23 March 2012 By Vanya Kumar

Vanya Kumar
Vanya Kumar

The first session of the 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) was Cities of the Future, hosted by LV's partner Places Victoria. 

The expert speakers for the day were Jim Betts (Secretary, Department of Transport), Prof Rob Adams AM (Director – City Design, City of Melbourne), Kay Rundle (CEO, City of Port Phillip) and Dom Arcaro (Chief Development Officer, Places Victoria (WCLP ’08).

The seminar explored a number of issues with regard to the future of Melbourne as a burgeoning city. In particular the complex leadership and decision making required for long term planning, as well as the implications and challenges for policy makers in the following key areas:

Melbourne’s liveability and population growth  Urban growth and the impact on local government  Public transport /infrastructure  Planning and design  Sustainable communities

We asked 2012 participant Vanya Kumar to reflect on the experience:

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21 March 2012 By Stefan Grun

Kay Rundle
Kay Rundle

Kay Rundle has been the CEO of the City of Port Phillip since 2009. She has an eclectic mix of qualifications, including degrees in social work, computing and business. Kay has worked in local government for over 25 years, including working as CEO of the Maribrynong City Council and CEO of the City of Geelong, for which she won a Local Government Leadership Award in 2008.

On March 16th Kay spoke to the Williamson Community Leadership Program participants about what it’s like to be a leader in the public eye. She also spoke of qualities that make a good leader, and used the example of her own leadership style, which she calls the ‘Rundle Model.’ 

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21 March 2012 By Stefan Grun

Prof Rob Adams
Prof Rob Adams

Professor Rob Adams AM has dedicated his life to improving urban living by designing spaces that are aesthetic, environmentally sustainable and that take into consideration Melbourne’s growing population. Rob has won over 80 awards for excellence during his 38-year career as an architect and urban designer.

In 2007 he was honored with a prestigious Order of Australia award for services to urban design, town planning and architecture and in 2008 he was named the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year.

Rob is the Director of City Design for the City of Melbourne.

Rob talked to the Williamson Community Leadership (WCLP)  participants about urban planning for a sustainable future, talked about his philosophy on leadership and why he keeps coming back to speak to the WCLP group.

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21 March 2012 By Andrew Wilson-Annan

Andrew Wilson-Annan
Andrew Wilson-Annan

The first session of the 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) was Cities of the Future, hosted by LV's partner Places Victoria. 

The expert speakers for the day were Jim Betts (Secretary, Department of Transport), Prof Rob Adams AM (Director – City Design, City of Melbourne), Kay Rundle (CEO, City of Port Phillip) and Dom Arcaro (Chief Development Officer, Places Victoria (WCLP ’08).

The seminar explored a number of issues with regard to the future of Melbourne as a burgeoning city. In particular the complex leadership and decision making required for long term planning, as well as the implications and challenges for policy makers in the following key areas:

Melbourne’s liveability and population growth  Urban growth and the impact on local government  Public transport /infrastructure  Planning and design  Sustainable communities

We asked 2012 participant Andrew Wilson-Annan to reflect on the experience:

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19 March 2012 By Chris Kotur

Chris Kotur
Chris Kotur

I've tossed out most of my collection of reading on leadership and shut down some subscriptions I've had for a long time.

Those titles gave me some confidence that we could learn how to be successful leaders if only we studied hard enough. But if that were true how come in 2012, so many world economies, governments, companies, organisations and individual leaders are struggling with all those messes all those leadership theorists said we could avoid?

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9 March 2012 By Lloyd Nash

Lloyd Nash
Lloyd Nash

“The architects of such wonders as St Peter’s Basilica and Blenheim Palace had at their heart an idea… that their creations would ennoble the human spirit and allow their awestruck viewers to transcend reality, to aspire to greatness.” Jeanne Lee, WCLP ‘11

The last week in politics has been rather electrifying for keen followers of the art.  A leadership spill for the office of Prime Minister would have to be a once in a generation event… I was just 11 years old when Keating defeated Hawke, and I wasn’t even imagined when Billy McMahon defeated John Gorton twenty years before that.  These events are thrilling for insiders because they spew into the public view all the machinations and leverage, strikes and counter strikes of political battle. 

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29 February 2012 By Lara Nicholson

Lara Nicholson
Lara Nicholson

Profile of Patrizia Torelli (WCLP ’08) – Managing Director of Spheres of Influence International

Economic uncertainty may be driving Australia’s business leaders to damage their reputations by acting ruthlessly when dealing with others, according to LV Alumnus Patrizia Torelli.

As the founder and managing director of Spheres of Influence International, a successful strategic development, implementation and culture change management firm, Patrizia conducts 360 Personal Brand reviews for her clients.

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28 February 2012 By Peter Haasz

Peter Haasz
Peter Haasz

The 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) commenced last week with the Opening Retreat at the Barwon Heads Resort at 13th Beach.  We asked Peter Haasz to reflect on what was a particularly busy and eventful opening day:

Today’s opening of the 2012 WCLP brought a mixture of nerves and curiosity. Who will I meet? What will I learn? What do they expect from me? Does the product resemble the picture on the box? And, most pressingly given the early hour, will there be good coffee?

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9 February 2012 By Stefan Grun

Ilan Weill
Ilan Weill

Ilan Weill is General Manager of LV’s venue partner The Grand Hyatt Melbourne.  He has had a long and varied career with Hyatt, including overseeing the establishment and operation of hotels in South America and India.

Here, he talks to LV’s marketing and communications manager Stefan Grun about the challenges and rewards of leading people across cultures and continents

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2 February 2012 By Dr. Ranjana Srivastava

Dr. Ranjana Srivastava
Dr. Ranjana Srivastava

If you are like most people, you may have come here to learn a little more about the Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP). Perhaps you read about it in the newspaper, or more likely, had someone from your organisation recommend it to you, the way I discovered it.

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19 January 2012

Professor Patrick McGorry
Professor Patrick McGorry

Professor Patrick McGorry is a leading researcher, clinician and campaigner for mental health care reform.  He was also the 2010 Australian of the year.

Professor McGorry has for many years demonstrated strong leadership, both within his  sector and throughout the broader community, as he has fought for greater investment in and modernisation of the mental health care system.

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13 December 2011 By Stefan Grun

Susan Provan
Susan Provan

Susan Provan has been Festival Director at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more than 15 years. She has taken it from a fairly small, niche event to one of the biggest festivals on the international calendar.

Recently, she sat down to chat with LV’s Marketing and Communications Manager Stefan Grun about the value of both youth and experience, working with limited resources and why she still loves comedy.


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18 October 2011 By Ranjana Srivastava

In 2011 each Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) participant is working on a group project.Ranjana Srivastava has captured the experiences of one of their recent Project Group meetings – group members are Ranjana Srivastava, Raj Singh, John Milkins, Chris Chant and Mark Febbraio:

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18 August 2011 By Jane Tongs

Jane Tongs
Jane Tongs

Leadership Victoria (LV) Alumni and former council member Jane Tongs (WCLP ’93) fell into the world of commerce almost by accident.  Not confident that she would get the grades required to study medicine after secondary school, she was looking for another field where she could use her talents.

“An uncle said to me ‘why don’t you do business?’ And I thought that was as good as anything,” she laughs.

It turned out to be a fortuitous suggestion.  Jane studied at RMIT, back when it was still very much a working man’s college.  She took accounting classes in an old factory, but found the rough and ready experience a great grounding for her future.  Many of her classmates were already working in the field, and she describes her lecturers, who were veterans of business, as “out of this world.”  She had discovered something she really enjoyed, and began her career with gusto.

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