20 September 2019 By Written by Will Brodie

Jo-Anne Moorfoot knows leadership courses. As the Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Healthcare Governance, she “assists directors of healthcare boards and executive management teams to fulfil their governance responsibilities”.

Her job is to “analyse an organisation’s processes… to identify gaps and make practical recommendations”.

She’s a leader and has done plenty of work on her leadership skills.

So, what did she gain from Leadership Victoria’s Folio program?

“Folio offers a more personal leadership program challenging your own personal beliefs. It provided exposure to leadership through a different lens. For me, it gave me perspective on leadership from outside the healthcare sector.”

That sector is demanding. Jo-Anne says healthcare is “client focused, not-for-profit, 24/7, low-budget and people orientated.”

Interacting with leaders of other Not-For-Profit organisations in her Folio course provided “A-Ha!” moments.

“My job was very operational; it’s all about getting from A to B and working around problems every day. Folio exposed me to people with very different thinking, taking a much more long-term mindset. People who were looking to solve problems five years into the future.

“It made me step outside myself and think of the big picture.”

To see that big picture, Jo-Anne needed the different “lenses” offered by government and even corporate Folio colleagues.

“It was a luxury to sit around and talk about leadership.”

Jo-Anne has maintained connections she made at Folio.

“I can catch-up with people I met there from very different fields and talk about the challenges I face. I bounce ideas around with people from outside my immediate sector.”

Jo-Anne recalls the famous “balcony” model from Adaptive Leadership. 

Likening the challenges of modern leadership to a crowded dancefloor, adaptive leadership encourages a leader to retreat to the balcony to see the patterns and details from a vantage point. Jo-Anne said that “taking a step back” has been a crucial practice for her since undertaking Folio.“I think the way I think about things has broadened. I apply it in the health field and in a non-medical Not-For-Profit I’m involved with. It teaches you to recognise the unique skills everyone brings.”

Jo-Anne says Folio’s practical sessions fine-tune personal leadership attributes and enable participants to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s personal exploration in a safe and supportive environment. You can open up and talk about things you want and be honest and open. In the workplace around your peers, you don’t want to expose your underbelly or weakness, so you’re not going to open up as much.”

Jo-Anne has recommended Folio to colleagues. What does she say to prospective participants?

“You get out of it what you put into it. Go in with an open mind. You’ll be challenged, you’ll be uncomfortable, but you’ll come out a better leader at the other end. There’s stuff that you’ll experience that all the theories in the world can’t teach you.”Jo-Anne Moorfoot (FCLP’16) 

With a career spanning over 30 years, Jo-Anne has extensive experience in the health sector having worked in rural and metro settings in acute, subacute and community health in clinical and senior management positions. Jo-Anne has particular expertise in risk management, clinical governance and effective consumer engagement, and is passionate about developing and supporting the next generation of health leaders.  Jo-Anne has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Speech Pathology, a Graduate Diploma of Business, is an alumni of Leadership Victoria, is a GAICD, and currently sits on the board of West Gippsland Healthcare Group and bestchance Child and family Services.

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20 September 2019 By Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, 2019 Williamson Participant

The Experimental Neuropsychology Research Unit (ENRU lab) is situated within the School of Psychological Sciences and The Turner Institute of Brain and Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. The ENRU lab is headed by Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis and its core mission is to investigate linkages between brain mechanisms and the clinical, motor and cognitive signatures in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and Friedreich ataxia. Both diseases are debilitating and significantly affect patients’ ability to control movement, eventually leading to difficulty walking, speaking, and swallowing. Huntington’s also affects cognitive function and emotional regulation, and patients have difficulty learning new information, planning and decision making. Our focus is to investigate ways to map brain dysfunction more accurately in an effort to better understand how disease spreads across the brain, what markers allow us to best track disease progression, and how we can influence factors that affect disease progression. 

Two large National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants, as well as a philanthropic grant from the Cure Huntington’s Disease Initiative (CHDI) Foundation (USA), have provided the opportunity for the collection of rich longitudinal data sets, which have been used to map brain abnormalities in premanifest and early symptomatic Huntington’s disease (IMAGE-HD), as well as in Friedreich ataxia (IMAGE-FRDA). These multi-disciplinary projects used state-of-the-art multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), together with the collection of clinical and cognitive data from patient cohorts across Australia and New Zealand over multiple testing time points. Findings from this research have accelerated our understanding of how different tissue types in the brain are affected by these diseases and how they change over time as these diseases progress. This has led to the discovery of sensitive brain biomarkers for tracking disease progression, which we have recommended to pharmaceutical companies for use in the early stages of drug development.

More recently, we have developed a novel computational model that can predict the spread of pathology in Huntington’s disease. The model suggests that Huntington’s pathology can potentially spread along the brain’s natural white matter fibre tracts, and that the white matter fibres, which were most likely to act as conduit of spread, were also the most vulnerable to damage in Huntington’s. These findings suggest that the spread of pathology across the brain may explain the pattern of grey matter degeneration and white matter disconnections. These results provide a critical next step that will help pharmaceutical companies assess the effectiveness of their drugs in slowing down/altering disease pathology.

The figure shows the brain regions most susceptible to spread in Huntington’s disease. The left panel shows the pattern of degeneration predicted by the model, as well as the actual degeneration observed in the MRI data of the patients with Huntington’s. The predicted model shows a significant degree of consistency with the predicted model (Poudel…. Georgiou-Karistianis, 2019, published in the journal - Human Brain Mapping).

Future research in the ENRU lab will focus on further investigation of disease pathology, progress and degeneration, as well as impact on clinical and cognitive function in Huntington’s patients. This work will be facilitated via recent data-sharing agreements with the University College London (UK) and the University of Iowa (USA) through the integration of large, international, longitudinal datasets. This international collaboration has provided Monash University with the largest imaging and clinical data sets in the world, and will enable us to apply sophisticated computational and mathematical modelling techniques to stratify patient cohorts (based on similar features), which will increase the effectiveness of future clinical trials. Moreover, the lab also has an interest in investigating the efficacy of cognitive and exercise training on improving cognitive function and delaying the pathology and clinical manifestations in Huntington’s disease. 

Under the leadership of Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, the ENRU lab has trained a significant number of early career researchers, honours and PhD students, many of whom have gone on with successful research careers in their own right. The lab has published over 195 peer-reviewed journal papers and attracted over $13million in grant funding from both government and philanthropic organisations. 

Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, 2019 Williamson Participant

Professor Georgiou-Karistianis is Deputy Dean, Academic and Graduate Affairs, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. In this role she is responsible for the oversight of academic performance across all areas of probation, performance development and promotion, as well as excellence and quality in Graduate Research Training. She is also a world-leading cognitive neuroscientist with an established reputation in mapping selective impairments at a brain, cognitive, psychiatric and motor level in neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Huntington's disease and Friedreich ataxia. She heads the Experimental Neuropsychology Research Unit (ENRU), which uses brain imaging methods, cognitive and motor tools to understand brain structure and function in health and disease. She has attracted over $13million in grant funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC) and philanthropic organisations and has over 190 peer-reviewed journal publications. She is highly sort after as a PhD supervisor and is passionate about training the next generation to make impact in our communities.

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20 September 2019 By Tony Matthews (WCLP'10), LV Associate

If you struggled with T.S Eliot as much as I did back in high school literature class, then you might be wary of a blog opening with a T.S Eliot quote. That’s why I have buffered it between this sentence and the next:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” 

Have you ever had one of those surreal experiences when you are in deep conversation with someone that you have perhaps known your whole life, and in that moment, it is as if you are looking on them for the first time? In that moment, you see them in a different light, and it changes everything. 

I don’t know any developmental psychologists but if there was one here now, they would probably tell us (in plainer language than Eliot) that we are all shaped by these moments and life experiences. No one is without bias. We all see the world through our own tinted glasses and we are never lens free. 

These frames are known as our ‘action-logics’ – they give meaning to how we see the world and the logic that informs our very thoughts and actions. 

But most of us are not conscious of our action-logic and while we are blind to it, we cannot transform ourselves or our organisations beyond it.  

Think about the ‘shifting sands’ of your sector or industry. Operating in an unpredictable landscape (and what sector is not?), will your organisation ever realise its vision with current conventional thinking?

All around us we see the need for more insightful, strategic leadership. Leaders today need to transcend beyond the conventional – move beyond the ‘diplomat’, ‘expert’ or even ‘achiever’ frames to post conventional, strategic thinking. 

Since 2012, Leadership Victoria has been applying constructive development theory in our senior leadership programs (the Williamson and Folio Leadership Programs). Participants have been profiled using the Harthill Leadership Development Profile, to identify their constructed reality (action-logic) and how it is that they respond to situations. 

Undertaking a pre-program assessment and a longitudinal, post program assessment, over 70% of participants transformed beyond the limits of their current thinking, towards a more post conventional frame. 

This supports much more comprehensive research that shows that a vertical learning experience can actually advance our leadership capabilities and how we plan and respond for the future of our very own organisations and communities.  

In a world moving so fast, it isn’t a question of just keeping up anymore, but how we move ahead of conventional thinking. The first step is to shine the light on ourselves, accept the limitations of our current action-logic, before we can transform. 

If you are interested in learning more about this work, a good starting point is: Seven Transformations of Leadership, David Rooke and William Torbert, April 2005, Harvard Business Review


Tony Matthews (WCLP'10), Leadership Associate, Leadership Victoria

Tony has extensive management and leadership experience gained from working across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. With over 25 years’ experience in the design, development and delivery of high quality leadership and professional development programs, Tony has a passion and drive for creating learning organisations and communities.  

From 2011 to 2019, Tony was the General Manager Leadership Programs at Leadership Victoria. Prior to commencing at Leadership Victoria, Tony was Manager Professional Development with Local Government Professionals Inc (LGPro) with responsibility for overseeing and responding to the professional development requirements of the local government sector, including lead facilitation of prominent programs and activities across the sector. 

Tony has demonstrated his commitment to leadership for social impact through a number of community projects, including involvement in an AusAid project to develop and deliver a suite of leadership development offerings to Timor-Leste officers in preparation for the decentralization of Timor-Leste government.

In his past role at Leadership Victoria as General Manager Leadership Programs, Tony and his team designed and delivered LV’s full suite of open enrolment and tailored programs and activities including the Williamson Community Leadership Program, the Folio Community Leadership Program and the Board Leadership Programs, together with the customised leadership development activities and Leadership Victoria’s mentoring and community project capabilities. Tony is now a Leadership Associate with Leadership Victoria.  

Tony is an Alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP'10) and holds a Master of Management (Full Distinction) and an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts.  

Other Qualifications:

Graduate Diploma in Management Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Certificate IV Assessment and Workplace Training Certified Targeted Selection Interviewer Accredited Harthill Leadership Development Profile Facilitator (Stages of Social Consciousness) Accredited Immunity to Change Process Facilitator (trained directly by Lisa Lahey, faculty member of Harvard University and co-creator of the Immunity to Change process)
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17 September 2019 By Interview with Ring Mayar, 2019 Folio Participant, by Will Brodie

Is Ring Mayar a born leader? 

Ring says no, but some say he has leadership in his genes. After all, in primary school he was Head Boy… At a school of 1000 students! 

And as a refugee in Egypt, he was always captain of his basketball teams.

“I never knew I was doing bigger things as a leader. As a kid, I was just somebody who would step up for others.”

When Ring came to Yarraville in Melbourne’s west as a teenager he was “not intending” to lead. But he realises now that leadership is part of his life. 

“It’s been in everything I’ve done. It’s me.”

Little surprise that when strife dogged his community in 2018, Ring became chairperson of the South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria (SSCAV) Inc, returning from a job in Canberra. It is a challenging role leading a migrant community comprised of many ethnicities and conflicting opinions and enduring negative publicity.

“I thought I should stand up for my community. My own successes are nothing if my community is not growing and become successful. It was a wonderful opportunity to go to Victoria to help young people and educate our community about their privileges, obligations and their rights.”

It wasn’t only young people Ring wanted to educate. He took on the 2019 Leadership Victoria Alumni Scholarship for the Folio Leadership Program. The Scholarship was offered by the LV Foundation in partnership with 2017 Folio Program Alumni, targeting an aspiring leader seeking to impact their community.

That’s Ring’s mission.

“As the South Sudanese community grows, it grows with issues. There are young people with a lack of motivation to go to school and some contemplate suicide, there’s social injustice… It can be a win-win for mainstream society and my community if I can help.”

Ring has a vision of “intercultural fusion”. He wants his community to respect Australian laws and social norms and embrace its values while retaining its unique culture. He won office pushing an “inclusive, diverse” platform in which women and the young had equal representation. 

Ring needed new ideas to serve his vision of a transparent South Sudanese community.

“It is important for me to learn leadership skills, because this is a complex, beautiful, vibrant young community. Young people want to be somebody and need encouragement to engage.

“The Folio Program transformed the way I look at leadership and the way it is run in my community. It changed me. In my community, leadership is often quite rigid. Young people don’t play a role, women don’t play a role. I learnt that influencing people is more powerful than setting up rigid rules and saying, ‘take it or leave it’.”

Ring’s biggest takeaway from Folio was learning how to influence interactions positively. 

“Now I have a softer mind and heart; it’s not just ultimatums. So, the person I’m talking to have their story heard. I learned that everyone’s stories matter. Listening to them is vital.”

He now listens more closely to people who are dissatisfied with his leadership and learns more from their point of view. 

Ring has even modified the tone he uses when speaking, saying “speaking with authority” can put people off. 

“I’m learning that just being calm and how you articulate your words can be effective. It’s not just your words, it’s how you say them and the body language you use when you’re saying them. You can turn a negative into a positive.

“I understand now the benefits of discourse and how it shapes individuals.”

Ring now realises that leadership is dynamic, not static, and is always changing. 

“I’m seeing it, feeling it and living it.”

Folio took him out of his comfort zone, giving him the confidence to open himself up to the world. 

“It makes you willing to take the risks, risks you can manage because you have the leadership skills to mitigate the risks.”

This changed style of communication means he “sits back” and takes time to consult. These skills are immediately applicable to his community.

“There is so much potential in my community, there are many well-educated young people looking to join the beautiful mainstream of Australian society, looking for opportunities in employment, in businesses, socially, culturally. I’m saying to them: integrate. And a lot of young people are listening. People over the age of 18 are emerging from the shadows…wanting to be part of the Australia’s bigger success story”

The other big benefit of the Folio course for Ring has been collaborating and networking with high-level leaders. 

“I’m so thankful to Leadership Victoria for that: I never used to have that network. People have got a huge interest in hearing the stories of my community.”

Even better was “building trust” with leaders who deal directly with his community, such as Victoria Police and the Department of Justice. 

Some of these contacts did more than talk. After beloved South Sudanese community icon Mama Abiol (Abiol Atem Manyang) died in May 2019, Ring found allies to provide accommodation for Mama’s five children. 

Leaders must connect to create such outcomes and Ring says it is crucial that more of his community engages with powerbrokers. 

“It’s about talking to people who make decisions. Nobody’s going to do it for us. We need to tell them our stories and show them what our contribution can be. If we don’t engage and get heard, we’ll be looked at badly.”

It’s as much about informing politicians and policy-makers as gaining power oneself

Ring’s future is not aimed at a specific position, but it is focused.

“I want to be a driver of change. I want to be part of a bigger Victorian story. I want to continue contributing and changing my community and the perception of mainstream Australia about my community.”

Ring was well-chosen for the Folio scholarship. Consider the title of his upcoming book. 

Transforming South Sudanese Community in Victoria: Social Disruptions and Humble Lessons Learned in a Deeply Polarised Community.

That’s written by someone who “stepped up”.

The Leadership Victoria Foundation in partnership with CALD2LEAD (Folio 2017 Alumni), are seeking your support to provide aspiring leaders from underrepresented communities scholarships to take part in Leadership Victoria’s programs, developing leadership capability across Victoria’s richly diverse communities. Click here to donate. 






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2 September 2019 By Golden Wattle Williamson Group

Every year, the Williamson Leadership Program travels to Canberra to explore politics, policy, leadership and influence in the national capital. In this article, a group of 2019 Williamson participants give us their bird’s eye perspective on this year’s experience, as they wearily travel home. 

All rise! 

Make yourself comfortable and hold a soft gaze before closing your eyes. Breathe in. Acknowledge the air as it gently fills your lungs. Pause. Let the weight fall from your shoulders as you breathe out. 

What’s behind you? What at first looks like a chair, is in fact your obligation. From this seat, you hold immense power and privilege; more than most, yet less than the powerful few. The art from here is to understand how you can harness this position.  

Please take your seat.

Across two action-packed days in Canberra, we were able to dive deeply into the essential question of “What needs to adapt for a thriving democratic Australia: Our system of democracy or the obligation we take for it?” 

Dr Andrea Carson, Associate Professor of Politics, Media and Philosophy, challenged us to consider how so many were able to read the federal election result so wrong. As we critique the notion of a ‘Canberra bubble’, how many of us are forced to consider the bubble that might surround each of us – masking and shaping our perspective on the genuine state of the nation? Regardless of whether this outcome is a success or failure of democracy, are we as the voting public fully appreciating and performing our role adequately? 

Next, we toured the various chambers and corridors of Old Parliament House, admiring the ornate Speaker’s Chair and considering the responsibility that comes with sitting in it as our presiding officer and governor of a fierce and just democratic debate. Down the hallway we passed the Prime Minister’s office, imagining if the walls could speak, what they might say while observing Australia’s most significant chair and the array of leadership styles - from command and control to dictatorial to absolute consensus-driving - bestowed by those who have graced it. 

Then to our lobbyists where we learned that this seat doesn’t simply mediate delicate diplomacy, but literally “open doors in this town.” The lobbyists cautioned us to not miss the mood or mode of the Parliament; encouraged us to crystallise the message; don’t threaten, don’t waffle; ask for something; bring solutions; have a united clear message with a local focal point; and closed with a word of warning: “if you can’t say it in 10 pages, you don’t have a case.” The lobbyists also explained that this critical seat, quite simply, brings advocacy, translation and efficiency to the political ecosystem.

In the frantic world of the 24-hour news cycle, frequent polling and political impatience, two media specialists took us on a walk down the memory lane of media and the dramatic changes they’ve experienced in the Press Gallery over the past three decades. As a critical conduit between the voting public and Capital Hill, they described the view from their (sufficiently cynical) chair where specialisation is all but extinct among major mastheads and where “politics have become an inch wide and an inch deep” as critical issues are presented in black-and-white three-word-slogans when “genuine media interest really lies in the shades of grey.” Yet, amidst immense change, one thing has held true: “good policy makes great politics.”

This “CNN effect” was then reinforced by a Politics and International Relations Lecturer at the Australian National University, who offered an analytical perspective to the federal election and spoke to the impatient response times demanded in today’s political context and the blind faith in polling that fuelled media narratives and arguably, in-turn, public perceptions. As a counter perspective, they also presented historical data that suggested how challenging it is to shift the political preferences of a significant portion of the Australian public, reinforcing John Howard’s notion that “you can’t fatten the pig on market day.”

What better way to close out the day than to hear from National Press Club royalty over a meal with budding friends as Michelle Grattan educated us on the art of politics, the distraction of ‘strawberry-gate’, the errors of chasing big targets in political campaigning, and the distinctive difference between authority and leadership that she’s witnessed across her illustrious career. 

Day two gave us the chance to sit in the hot seat of a speaker from a national representative organisation and appreciate the multiple and competing forces facing them in their role. Wedged neatly between the government, the opposition, multiple industries and the public, the representative told us his leadership story in living out his personal passion, “fronting and facing-up” to the people he represents in a context where you simply “can’t please everyone all of the time.” 

An elected member for a Melbourne suburban seat, the next speaker spoke of the leadership challenge of authentically representing her local constituency. She spoke of her party on a national stage, gender in a patriarchal political arena, and her young family in a society still struggling to value genuine work-life balance and stay-at-home men. While feeling counter-intuitive, she warned against principle-compelled leadership, proving the next generation of politicians may just well have the patience and sensibility to play the long-game in Canberra. 

After parting ways to visit the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and explore Timor-Leste’s story of the struggle for independence and Australia's role in South East Asia, we finally convened at the Australian National University. We rounded out our Canberra immersion experience with an academic and personal reflection of the complex legal context surrounding the nation’s ability to positively recognise Indigenous Australian people in the Constitution. A powerful lesson in Australian history, understanding, equality, inclusiveness and justice, a professor at ANU graciously shone a light on the dissonance among today’s common law and the firmly-held views of many Australians to treaty and Indigenous recognition – a stark reminder that not all seats are currently equal and that recognition is not about providing identity, but in fact “begetting the wrongs of the past.” 

As we wearily claimed our seats on the plane home to Melbourne, we couldn’t help but consider our role “in this mess” and reflect on the question of this Canberra trip - what does need to adapt for a thriving democratic Australia?

Now it’s time for one last deep breath in. Feel the air pass through your nostrils and into your diaphragm. Hold. Give thanks for the wonderful people of Golden Wattle and when you’re ready, open your eyes. 
















Disclaimer: Leadership Victoria is politically neutral. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Leadership Victoria. 

Please note, this article has been updated and some names removed as the Williamson Leadership Program invokes 'The Chatham House Rule' at all times to provide anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information. 

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2 September 2019 By Mike Davis, 2019 Williamson Participant

When you communicate with most audiences, you are transmitting ideas to a collection of individuals, all of whom think differently. Some people prefer stories and derive more meaning from them; others prefer hard data and forecasts. 

This became apparent to me recently during a presentation at Leadership Victoria on the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion 2018 survey.  The presentation showed a number of slides on the findings from this survey and key data points from the results of this survey.

I was amongst a small minority of people who asked questions about the survey construction, design, potential biases, methodology and sampling method. For me - how we design and implement surveys is essential and inseparable from how we interpret results and place them in a balanced context. 

This was not the view of the majority of the room, who grew weary of my probing questions! When it comes to understanding social change, I’m a firm believer in compelling narratives supported by robust and transparent data. 

Data and Stories

What I was beginning to see was in that room and what I have seen over the years working in the for purpose sector is that it is always a combination of robust numbers and frameworks complementing good stories and narratives that influences hearts and minds. 

You have to assume that half the room wants data and structure and the other half wants good stories. This is why I think the Theory of Change is such an important tool. 

It has the potential to bridge the divide between numbers and visual thinkers. Lovers of non-fiction and fiction - data and narrative. 

Theories of Change

A theory of change is a great way to explain how your program or organisation is able to take certain inputs or resources and convert them into positive social outcomes and impact over time. 

The reason a theory of change can be such a valuable tool is that it shows the connection between volume of activity and degree of change within a system. This connects with the move in funder preferences from a volumetric or quantity equals success to a % improvement or quality equals success lens. 

At a recent Gather event, I was on a panel on social impact measurement and tried to explain the theory of change as “understanding how the sausage machine works”. For the purposes of this example, imagine the new “healthy sausage machine” operates at a foodbank that is serving hungry communities in need. 

Click here to read the PDF version of this article including images and diagrams. 

I’ve outlined the key questions to ask above in dark blue required to populate these boxes. In particular, think of inputs and outputs as quite tangible or physical and you should be able to count them as numbers of dollars. Outputs are similar and should be in unit form. 

The output is a tangible good or a program or service and equally can be counted. Outcomes measure the change that you’ve realised in both the short and longer term from producing those outputs. 

Impact is really asking - what is the long-lasting change that you’ve made in the community as a result of your program or outputs. Outcomes and impact you’ll more likely be looking for %’s or degrees of change rather than units. 

Youth Hub Workshop

Earlier in the month at TaskForce Community Agency, we ran a theory of change workshop with our clinicians and management to make sure what we were designing was a good fit for how the Youth Hub was running and was intended to run. 

At this workshop I had already done a draft theory of change which I took to the workshop to further refine with colleagues. This was a good option at TaskForce given how busy our staff are with heavy client loads. 










However, you may wish to run a theory of change workshop from scratch to frame your theory of change from the start. You could do this based on following the basic table above and leaving the connecting up the elements until the workshop. 

Here are the key stages of the workshop that I think worked well that I would suggest emulating in any of your own workshops-

1. What makes a good story? (Ice-Breaker)

Generally From the perspective of a funder Compare and contrast

2. What is a theory of change? (Intro)

Why What Who How

3. Outputs and Outcomes (Complexity)

What is the difference? Why does it matter? How do we measure it? Who does it matter to?

4. What is Impact (Exploration)

Why does it matter? How do we measure it? Who does it matter to?

5. Connecting the elements (Applied)

What is the causal chain between the elements? (outputs, outcomes, impact) Which chains are the most important for impact? How are they interacting with each other?


For step 5 and for any theory of change workshop I recommend SVA’s golden thread methodology and this article as great pre-reading. 

An improvement we will make for next time will be to include some of our clients in the workshop. Although we capture feedback and data from our clients through our system, there is nothing like having client voices in the room to inform the process.


Key Messages 

A theory of change is a powerful tool in explaining how your program creates impact It combines the data and visual process flow well to make sense to a range of audiences These are best created or refined using workshops consisting of staff and clients/users They should be updated regularly to ensure they still reflect how a program works in practice



This article was first published in Pro Bono News, to view the original article please click here.

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16 August 2019 By Dr Brenda Holt (FCLP'14)

Brenda Holt
Brenda Holt

Dr Brenda Holt (FCLP'14), Principal, St Hilda’s College, The University of Melbourne

I have now been in senior leadership roles for over 20 years, and in that time I have learnt that authenticity goes a really long way — your leadership emanates from the depths of who you are. It is important to bring the best of who you are and play to those strengths well. 

Be Authentic

Authenticity — being true to yourself, and allowing others to know who you really are — goes a long way. Your leadership emanates from the depths of who you are, not from who you would like to be. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was a young leader at University, I was invited to give an important speech on leadership to a large gathering of student leaders. The feedback was extraordinary and I left feeling as though I had done an incredible job. I told captivating stories and included quotes from the latest books on leadership. Afterwards, an older mentor caught up with me. ‘Oh, Brenda,’ she said, ‘a lot of people really admire you.’  I did my best to look humble. Then she continued, ‘Of course, no one actually knows you. I have just listened to you speak for 20 minutes and I know nothing about who you really are.’ She didn’t stop. ‘If you have any plans to truly influence people,’ she said, ‘you need to let people know you. Admired leaders sit on pedestals but have no lasting impact on others. It is leaders who are known that make others want to follow them and be better people.’

After I picked myself up and licked my wounds, I realised how right she was. Think first about a leader that you have always admired from a distance, but never known personally. Has their life had any real impact on the way that you live your life every day? Then think about a person who has really influenced you — your ways of being, your values, your life goals — and I would bet it is someone that you know well, someone that has let you know them as a flawed but real human being. Real leaders influence others, and influence only happens when you are known. Being placed on a pedestal and admired by others from afar makes you feel great in the moment. The truth is, it makes no real difference in people's lives. 

True North

Some of my peers read voraciously about leadership. They are constantly trying on different styles of leadership they have read about. You can be a strategic leader, an innovative leader, a consultative leader, a networked leader. The list of possibilities is endless. What I have found really helpful is Bill George’s concept of True North. True North is your orientation point, your fixed point in a spinning world that helps you stay on track as a leader. It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, values and the principles you lead by. True North is your internal compass, unique to you, representing who you are at your deepest level. 

I have discovered that if I bring my True North, my most authentic self, to my role, I will be the best leader I can be. It’s true, you can always learn new skills in leadership, however who you are, is set in place. Work out your strengths and stop beating yourself up for what you’re not good at. I will never be dispassionate and reserved. Believe me, I’ve tried. It is not in my DNA. I will never be the sort of leader who can be bureaucratic and transactional. My True North is a deep love for people, a commitment to their development and care and a dedication to help every person in my wake get to where they need to go. My strengths help me be that sort of leader and I have stopped trying to be anyone else. 

Bringing my authentic self to everything I do, means that I am completely present wherever I am and with whoever I’m with. It also means that I always have a larger picture in mind. I am constantly thinking about culture, structures and resources that will help everyone in my care be their best selves.

I will leave you with some key questions to help you discover your own authentic self:

What one word do you want people to use to describe you? What word would they currently use? If you were to donate everything you have to a cause or charity, which cause would it be? If you accomplish one thing by the end of the year, what would make the biggest impact on your happiness? What do you think are the most important values to live by? Are you living your life accordingly?


Dr Brenda Holt (FCLP’14)

Brenda's work as an educator over the last twenty years has focused around equity and access for underrepresented young people. Starting her career at an outer suburban high school in Melbourne as an English teacher, Brenda moved to the higher education sector in 1993. She has worked as an academic advisor, counsellor, teacher, Head of College, researcher and administrator during this time. 

Although she grew up in rural Texas in the USA, she has been a happy migrant in Australia, mainly Melbourne, since 1989. Frustrated with seeing young rural Australians represented mainly in educational statistical data, Brenda decided to undertake a PhD in order to demonstrate some of the complexities of inequality in education that are hard to measure. Her thesis, 'Global Routes/Rural Roots: Identity, Rural Women and Higher Education', was completed at the end of 2007 and won the 2009 Chancellor's Prize (Social Sciences).  Brenda is currently Principal of St Hilda’s College, University of Melbourne, a residential college at the university.














Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Leadership Victoria.

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16 August 2019 By By Professor Emeritus Barbara Van Ernst AM (EBLP’06), LV Program Speaker

Barbara Van Ernst
Barbara Van Ernst

Choosing the members of a Board of a Not for Profit (NFP) organisation is as important as it is fraught. Many small NFPs have begun around someone’s kitchen table, with a few passionate people with a common cause, working together to make a difference or to support each other. Before long there is a need to raise funds and then the realisation that some more formality is required. Many organisations move to become an Incorporated Association and others to a Company Limited by Guarantee. Suddenly there are external compliance and legal requirements, in particular because they are dealing with other people’s money. This transition I often describe as a move from a “cottage industry” to a “small business”. It is important to remember that the Board members are, in fact, Directors of the organisation, with a range of legal responsibilities. You may find that the “founder” of the organisation wants to remain in charge. Sometimes this makes it difficult to manage change, and needs to be addressed, possibly though upper limits on the term of office as a director.

With more formality needed, it is important to build a strong Board - a team which has the ability to plan ahead (strategic thinking), to manage and account for the money (financial responsibility), is able to engage stakeholders (communication skills) and can work through issues together (team work). So when making decisions on Board membership, it is wise to keep these ideas in mind. There is a need to understand the legal and compliance environment in which you work, but that does not mean you must have a lawyer on the Board. In the event that you need legal advice, you may be able to find assistance pro bono, or otherwise pay for the service.  However, I do think it is a good idea to have a skilled accountant as Treasurer to manage the finances and risk if possible. If not, it is advisable to engage an external expert to assist.  This is particularly important to ensure that you follow the new accounting standards for NFP reporting. 

When seeking new Board members, it is essential that the current Board discuss the sorts of people you would like. Are there any particular roles or skills you need to include? It is inappropriate for the chair or a board member to just invite a friend. This often results in people who do not bring sufficient diversity to the Board. It also may lead to the perception that there is an inner circle. 

The Board also needs to be comfortable with the recruiting process involved. Will you place an advertisement in the local paper? If so what is the wording? You may decide to use a free service such as the Institute of Company Directors Australia or Our Community. 

When you receive applications, you need to consider carefully as you select. In my view transparency is one of the most important qualities of a good Board As informed decision-making is essential, it is important to develop processes for preparing good information so that everyone has the same information. You are aiming for a team which is open, collaborative, respectful and prepared to work. It is also a good idea to ask a prospective member to attend a meeting as an observer, just to make sure you have found the right new team member. 


Professor Emeritus Barbara Van Ernst Am (EBLP’06), LV Program Speaker and Education Consultant

Barbara has had extensive experience in leadership roles, in universities and the community. She was Head of School at Deakin University and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Swinburne University, where her role included responsibility for learning and teaching and community engagement. She was a councillor in local government for nine years and mayor for two, chairing the council and several standing committees. She has also been a member two University Councils, and also a member of boards and government committees, mainly in arts and education. 

More recently she has been an education consultant, working with Universities, TAFE colleges and quality agencies both locally and internationally. She has also worked pro bono for a number of Boards in Victoria. This has given her the opportunity to assist organisations to address good governance, including inter alia, board membership, strategic planning, policy development, risk management, financial overview and conduct of meetings. 
























Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Leadership Victoria.

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16 August 2019 By Hugh Wareham (FCLP'17)

Hugh Wareham
Hugh Wareham

As National Science Week comes to a close, LV alumnus and sustainability leader Hugh Wareham (FCLP’17) looks at the adaptive leadership challenges of translating scientific evidence into economic, social and political action on climate change. Addressing adaptive leadership challenges is central LV’s approach – they are the hard-to-understand, hard-to-tackle and multifaceted leadership challenges we all get stuck on.

Where Are Our Australian Climate Crisis Leaders? By Hugh Wareham (FCLP’17)

In National Science Week we know that we have overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and yet we still face an adaptive leadership challenge in Australia to shift the economy to one dominated by sustainable low carbon emissions.  It is a fact that carbon dioxide levels are increasing and this in turn leads to increases in temperature.  As Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth we are going to be at the forefront of the impacts of a warming climate and the devastation that will have on the environment, economy and society.  Politicians, media and community leaders are not treating it as a priority or giving the science-based evidence the action it deserves.

What will it take? Perhaps a climate emergency – well we are already in one.  Although depressingly we still have more arguments in Australia about what is actually happening, in Europe it is largely accepted that climate change is causing much of the extreme and record-breaking weather and action is being taken to slow down the process of climate change.  When it comes to human induced climate change, the science is as close to a consensus as science can be but some public figures still cast doubt and their arguments (without the backing of science and evidence) are given equal time and value by much of the media.

As a country we are starting to invest more heavily in renewables (albeit from a pretty low base) and we have many geographic advantages over other developed countries. We could be playing a leadership role in areas such as carbon storage through trees, and yet in Australia we are still cutting down more trees than we are planting.

A shift in leadership to adaptive leadership, and a concerted approach from across the community is needed.  And on the positive side we do see some important shifts happening:

Farmers are at the front line and they are increasingly making their voices heard through organisations such as Farmers for Climate Action More communities such as Hepburn are calling for action or taking actions themselves Banks are refusing finance to carbon polluting industries due to risk Insurance companies are factoring the reality of climate change into their premiums creating a real world economic impact

It increasingly makes economic sense and creates opportunities for vast new industries to be created, generating the long term jobs of the future economy. But we are still doing nowhere near enough. Leadership is needed, leadership from the front, middle and back. Leadership from individuals, communities, businesses and governments.  

We need changes across our society, some straight forward and others less so.  We also need to recognise that there are great opportunities for Australia in investing in the future economy but also some pretty dire consequences for us all if we do not grasp the opportunities for change as time is running out.

If we can lead we have the opportunity to shift Australia from a laggard to leader and reap the benefits.


Hugh Wareham (FCLP’17)

Hugh has spent 25 years in the environment and sustainability sector within government and not for profits in the United Kingdom and Australia, the last 15 years being in senior executive roles including most recently that of Chief Executive Officer with ECO-Buy Limited, Interim CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions and CEO of Greening Australia Capital Region. Hugh is currently the Head of Government Relations with Greening Australia, one of the country’s largest environmental non-government organisatiions.

Hugh is also a former non-executive Director of Environment Victoria and is a Co-Founder of CALD2LEAD which aims to assist members of CALD communities to secure quality leadership training and development of industry leading programs via. Scholarships including with Leadership Victoria.


















Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Leadership Victoria.

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15 August 2019 By Associate Professor Stella Clark (WCLP'97), written by Will Brodie

Curiosity has taken Associate Professor Stella Clark AM a long way.

Her achievements in science and administration were recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Yet Stella says her career has been “totally unplanned”.

“I had no idea I’d do most of the things I’ve done. 

“Neither parent was scientific. I had a love of nature, birds and wildflowers, and I enjoyed science subjects at school. I just drifted in to it.”

Stella says she’s been “opportunistic…I’ve taken things as they appeared.”

As an undergraduate in Australia, Stella’s career changed course when she worked on a diabetes project.

“I just sort of became interested in that side of things.”

Following that interest led to medical research. But Stella didn’t like the idea of spending her entire career in hospitals or laboratories.

“Routine and me don’t get along together!” 

Studying for her PhD, “the bigger picture of science” appealed and she found her niche at the Australian Society for Medical Research.

“I ended up as President, so I had two years to see the broad operations of health and research organisations. Lobbying, politics, conferences, marketing.” That Presidential experience exposed Stella to leadership and management practices. Then a colleague sent her an internal email about the Leadership Victoria’s 1997 Williamson Leadership Program, “it was a terrific experience.” After the completing the program, Stella become a chair of Skillsbank, which then led her to the LV board, where she served for eight years. 

She’s involved to this day, mentoring and working on selection panels. 

“LV provides a fantastic environment to develop leadership at whatever level you’re at – for example, the emerging leaders program for young people…Leadership Victoria helps graduates make a real change in the community.”

An advocate for women in science, Stella says things have dramatically improved in recent years. “There’s more women involved in biomedical science to PhD level... then the number of women drops off. There’s high demands and to balance career and family as a female researcher is extraordinarily difficult.”

Stella says there are now scholarships to assist. And many institutions are subject to SAGE (Science In Australia Gender Equity) protocols.

However, Stella is concerned by the decline in kids taking up maths and science and the lack of qualified teachers. 

“There’s geography and history teachers teaching maths and science. The world is very technologically driven and if you don’t understand the basics it’s hard to have a career in that high-level type of area.”

She finds hope in young and emerging leaders she’s encountered at LV.

“I encourage them to have courage and belief in their visions for the future. The older people in the room are very encouraged that leadership is in good hands in the younger generation.

“Maybe we’re going back to a community level village-type model.”

Dealing with issues such as climate change and wealth disparity, Stella doesn’t see an “overarching solution”, but believes fresh approaches offer hope.

“Take your grassroots work in one community, make it work, and spread the ideas.”

This is where she sees a big role for Leadership Victoria and its participants. 

“There’s fantastic opportunities for the organisation in the community and not-for-profit sectors.

“It involves people with the issues of the day and you get speakers’ insights into areas you would never have experienced. You meet fantastic people and get great networking opportunities.”

Stella maintains a broad network of contacts in the health medical research sector but through Williamson, she was exposed to people with “completely different backgrounds”.

Their feedback is valuable these days as Stella runs her business Stella Connect. She also works with Therapeutic Innovation Australia as their Scientific Advisor and with the Doherty Institute and is on the boards of The Bionics Institute, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function and The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation.

She’d get bored doing one thing. 


Associate Professor Stella Clark AM PhD, GAICD

Stella runs own business Stella Connect P/L, helping people, organisations and their ideas connect to maximise productive outcomes. She is currently working with Therapeutic Innovation Australia as their Scientific Advisor and with the Doherty Institute. Previously she was CEO of Obesity Australia and for nine years before that was CEO of the Bio21 Cluster, Victoria’s leading health sciences/biotechnology research cluster. This was preceded by senior management roles at the School of Graduate Studies, University of Melbourne and the Baker Heart Research Institute.

After gaining a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1984, Stella spent three years as a CJ Martin Fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London before returning to a research career in Australia. Her career as a biomedical research scientist in the area of diabetes was recognised in 2014 when she was listed on the NHMRC website “High Achievers in Australian Health and Medical Research”. In 1994, Stella helped establish the Premier’s Award for Medical Research in Victoria, which recognises outstanding talent amongst young Victorian medical researchers.

Stella is currently on the Boards of The Bionics Institute the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function and The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation. Since2012 Stella has been an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 2013 she was awarded a Certificate of Merit upon graduation from the AICD Company Director’s Course and in 2018 became an Honorary Life Member of the BioMelbourne Network. Stella was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.









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