Igniting Leadership Program: Day One by Sophie Holdenson

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.

We had a theme of crucible moments in people's careers and lives. Hmmm I thought, has anything that interesting happened to me, that can compare to young offenders barricading themselves in a peaceful protest or being the first female and Western engineer to work in a Japanese plant? Probably not (possibly yet), but on reflection there have been key challenging periods for me that I have learnt and developed from.

After a short lunch we experienced the eternal optimist Janenne Willis. As a fellow optimist I drew a lot of energy from her session, but I did wonder around the room how some of the introverts or perhaps some cynics were coping with her effervescent personality. The session was very interesting focusing on how we identify our strengths and use them to our advantage, same with how as leaders we do this with our teams.

This was an active, participatory session (hence why the extroverts like me loved it), with role plays and moving around the groups. It really reminded us of the importance of having people with different mindsets and strengths in a high performing and innovative team.

Cynthia was our facilitator for the day with her calm, supportive presence getting us through to 5 o'clock after a big day. It was in our final session that Adolf Hitler came in, with a picture of an old man and how our perceptions can form our beliefs.

So I travel in for Day 2 looking forward to hearing more stories from my fellow participants and guest speakers and wondering what the day will bring.

Sophie Holdenson is the manager of the Return to Work claims teams at the Transport Accident Commission. Sophie has been working in the Claims Division of  TAC for the past 6 years and has a passion for achieving client outcomes within a compensation environment and finding better ways for schemes to measure those outcomes.Sophie has a background in Occupational Therapy where as a clinician she specialised in palliative and aged care.