Expand your view: watching real leadership in action

20 February 2018 By Leadership Victoria

Meet Deb Cailes. Deb has a big job with oversight and accountability for the Capital Works stream at the City of Melbourne.

In this context, Professional Development often seems like something that you push to the side or wait until you have that ‘quiet period."


So for Deb it’s not surprising that at first, taking part in the Folio Program felt like an additional 'thing to do' on top of existing workload. Plus the experience was quite intense: unlike many corporate leadership programs LV's Folio program is actually asking you to open your eyes and look at your role and work in new ways.

For Deb - the experience was one of expanded awareness and understanding: “it was about leadership but on a much grander scale, not just leadership within the corporate context.” Developing a deep sense and understanding of complex social issues and meeting leaders working within these contexts was a major part of the experience.

"The deep dives and site visits make this all the more compelling – seeing real leadership in action."

Working then on a collaborative challenge with a group of people Deb barely knew was also really worthwhile – it gave me a sense of the diversity of leadership experience and learning from others was invaluable – this is where the wisdom lies.

“I walked away realising that the willingness to unlearn, to not be the expert – was often the most useful mindset to adopt when working in complexity.”

If you are wondering whether you are ready – well in Deb’s words, - it’s not about what you have achieved so far, or how far up the hierarchy you sit…it’s about your willingness, openness and capacity to learn.

“At the end it did feel a bit like we’d been through a washing machine. Shaken up and challenged, yet coming out of it with insights that made everything clearer and sharper.” And in the process she developed some incredible friendships and networks. 

To sum up: “City of Melbourne were incredibly supportive – the time investment was great – but the rewards were greater.”