2017 Folio Valedictorian Address

23 November 2017 By Dennis Banfield (FCLP'17)

"We could never, in a million years, have imagined
would test us and gift us so much.

Denis Banfield, FCLP'17At the opening retreat it was put to us ‘comfort really does end in failure’ and ‘success is hard work’.

On our very first evening together, our hearts began to beat faster, and blood pumped through many of us to boiling point, when we heard from an impassioned speaker whose message was as strong as his physical delivery – it was visceral stuff.

Here is where it probably began - the tipping point - when courage would, at some stage appear before us.

Leadership is a choice, and we were on the cusp of being presented with opportunies to choose, to let courage dive deep into our hearts and minds.

Coming away from the retreat we knew Folio would be a challenge.  So we leant in to seize the opportunity!

Engaging with a remarkable cross section of leaders we gained a greater awareness for the complexity of community issues in the areas of;

  • Aged care for the homeless
  • Early childhood development
  • Employment for people with different abilities
  • Community housing
  • Education for disadvantaged youth.

We were profoundly impacted by the many people we met and sat with in these groups and in the blink of an eye they became our teachers.

Our minds had started switching gear and reflection wanted to make way for action, but not to solution…not yet…wait, pause, gather, steel yourselves and go for the Big Ideas.

To become exceptional leaders, to make the world a better place, you need heart, empathy and passion as much as strategy and skill.

This is the feeling and the thinking. Through Folio we amplified both.

But, our secret ingredient, the difference between failure and success is that we are a very tight bunch, and, from this, we have seen, care, compassion and heart wrenching honesty emerge.

Mixed with our mindful listening and opposing views this has made our biases more conscious, our actions more purposeful.

Without this, our Big Ideas would be just – ideas.

We are the 2017 Folio Community Leadership team – committed to developing ourselves as exceptional leaders and making the world a better place through bringing our Big Ideas to life.

Thank You".

Dennis Banfield (FCLP'17)