12 February 2018 By Rebecca Lovitt

Dennis Banfield chat's with LV's Rebecca Lovitt on Life, purpose and living more simply.

“I would never in my wildest dreams have predicted the journey this program would take me on,” reflects Dennis early in our conversation. A grand statement about a development program’s impact  - most would agree. So how did this come about?

Dennis is a General Manager with International firm Tech Rentals. As with many of our program participants, it started with a CEO that really valued investing in the professional development of the team. He completed Leadership Victoria’s Folio program in 2017.

There is a wide variety of options for leadership development, but there are some things that really make a program stand out amidst the crowd – so why or how did you end up as part of Folio?

“My wife had done the Williamson program in 2012, so I had a sense that this could be a pretty impactful experience – but I really didn’t understand until taking part just how transformative this type of learning could be.”

“Never in a million years would I have expected to be in a work context or setting that would allow me to explore my own life experience or self in such a way.” For some this might sound daunting – do we really want experiences this deep within the realm of work, and do we want to share these experiences with people we barely know?

What sets programs like Folio apart is that a great deal of time and energy goes into setting the scene, and creating the environmental conditions or the holding space to support the group’s learning in program’s like Folio.  This is central to the vertical learning experience that Stephen Duns, describes is core to the LV Way.

I’ve never felt more comfortable, more welcome, more willing to be open and share than I did with this cohort.”

Like the Williamson content, learning as part of the Folio program is experiential, based on deep dives into particular social contexts – with the intent of broadening the perspective of participants. Building on the formal learning, and the experts in the room, participants learn more from each other– which combines to form a key part of the collective experience – and it is this shared experiential learning that allows it to be (for many) quite a profound experience.

 “It is hard to describe, it was extraordinary, call it spiritual maybe even magical… finding my true North…it’s just really hard to find a word or a phrase that adequately describes this experience.”

Dennis reflects: “I actually had the chance to really explore more about myself and uncover my purpose….and this for me is about working to help even keep just one child under the age of 5 avoid the experience of trauma of domestic violence.”

Daily life is really different for Dennis post Folio, “Everything feels much simpler. I still love my work, but it no longer solely defines me…if it ended tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of me and who I am.

In the professional setting I am able to apply the learnings mindfully, often my team won’t even know but I am able to step back more, not trying to control as much and I have a much greater sense of self-awareness…So I have a set of practical tools but also the confidence to lead the change.”

Actually it seems there has been an overall values alignment for Dennis, “Life is much simpler, I am less effected by material things, my diet has changed. Actually my family’s diet has changed.”

So what is the one experience you will always remember? “It’s meeting the people. Meeting homeless people. Looking people in the eye. Being human. Learning not to give money give, but give food and conversation.”

Nothing much separates us all after all.



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23 November 2017 By Dennis Banfield (FCLP'17)

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

At 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)


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28 November 2016 By Natasha Toohey (FCLP 2016), Western Health

Valedictorian Speech: Folio Community Leadership Program 2016 Natasha Toohey (FCLP 2016)                                      

"The Folio Community Leadership Program (FCLP) is described as a ‘deep dive’ experience into all aspects of self-awareness and community leadership. To give you some insight as to what it is like to be a FCLP participant, I have been reflecting on what was the key defining moment in the program for me.

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