2 July 2019 By Joan Hegedus (WCLP'99

The Williamson Community Leadership Program 1999 alumni are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our program year, with two reunion gatherings held so far and more planned.  The reunions have allowed us to revisit and rekindle the memories of our program year and to discuss its ongoing influence.

In February, 1999, the 32 new program inductees headed to the opening retreat at Marysville to discuss the issues to be addressed over the coming year.  Some of our major concerns included the environment, social justice, the future of the working environment, the economy, science and technology and Australia’s role in the world.  

Our chosen topics often found their way regularly into the headlines of the day during that year.  We witnessed East Timor gain independence, the unsuccessful attempt via a referendum for both Australia to become a republic and the inclusion of a preamble in the Constitution to recognise Aboriginals as Australia’s first people.  The GST bill was passed in the Upper House in Canberra for introduction 12 months later. Telstra shares reached a high of $7.60, billions of dollars were spent in preparation for Y2K and Albert Einstein was named Time magazine’s Person of the Century.

At this year’s catch ups, we looked back at the year and then discussed the impact of some of the major events that have affected us both professionally and personally since and how we managed the consequences.  At each of the events we had a key note speaker from within the group.  From Bunty Avieson, editor of New Idea in 1999, and then Mary Waldron, a partner at Arthur Anderson that year, we heard of their challenges and accomplishments including 3 successful career changes for Bunty and Mary’s journey to her current role as PricewaterhouseCooper’s Global Chief Risk Officer. 

Then, in true Williamson style, everybody had a timed opportunity to share many extraordinary experiences since our graduation. Whilst everyone had some very positive news either in a professional or personal sense, it was the challenges or how they were handled that had us sitting on the edge of our seats.  

The difficult professional situations included dealing with redundancy - both as the recipient and the initiator, having the courage to review and adapt core business practices to deal with the ever-increasing speed of change and keeping abreast of new technologies - all whilst attempting to maintain a healthy work/life balance.   

The key strengths that most of us embraced that seemed to be constant in many of these situations were resilience, an ability to seek guidance, and maintaining courage in our convictions once they were established. Interestingly, all these attributes were continually exhibited by speakers in our 1999 program year including Greg Bourne, then MD of BP Australia, Michael Carr-Gregg, Rob Hunt, then GM Bendigo Bank, Janet Holmes a Court, and Doug Shears, Executive Chairman ICM Australia.

The flame that led us to apply to be part of the Williamson program all those years ago still burns brightly.  Many of the group continue to lend their skills to not-for-profit organisation.  Pro bono work remains an accepted responsibility.

On the lighter side, the group were invited to provide a significant photo of an event in their life since 1999.  The photos were displayed at both events.  Tony Bartlett sent a photo of him meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony to launch the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which fosters collaboration on forest restoration and collaboration, for supporting an Australian forestry project in Papua New Guinea.  David Ali provided one with him meeting HRH the Princess Royal, Princess Anne at a function in Glasgow in his role as a Director of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations.  The rest of us were content to provide images with the likes of Nic Cave, Julia Gillard, Linda Dessau and Martin Sheen, with one of the group (who wishes to remain anonymous) producing a pic with Donald Trump. 

Overall, the coming together in the group’s 20th anniversary year has been a wonderfully uplifting experience.  The opportunity to revive and relive the camaraderie and trust developed long ago has been appreciated by everyone who attended and contributed. As a group we will be forever grateful for initially the foresight and generosity of Hugh Williamson and subsequently the contribution of the Leadership Victoria team.  Their efforts have provided us with the guidance to make a positive impact through the leadership roles we have embraced in both our professional lives and within our communities.

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25 March 2019

The 2019 Williamson program is underway. Now in its 30th year, Williamson (WCLP) officially launched with the three-day residential Welcome Retreat in Marysville which was opened with a Welcome to Country performed by Anthony Cavanagh (WCLP ’15) on behalf of the Taungurung people. Anthony is the CEO of Ganbina, a charity organisation based in Shepparton Victoria which provides programs that help gain economic and social equality for Indigenous people within a time frame of two generations. Anthony was kind enough to share his Welcome to Country:


Welcome to Country – Taungurung (pronounced Toonn gu rung)

Wa Wa – Hello in my language - My name is Anthony Cavanagh and I am the CEO of Ganbina.

Ganbina is a charity organisation based in Shepparton Victoria which provides programs that helps gain economic and social equality for Indigenous people within a time frame of two generations

We are taking action to break the common cycle of Indigenous generational welfare dependency by:

Implementing programmes which enable Indigenous children and youth in the Goulburn Valley to explore and realise their full individual potential.

It is my pleasure as an Alumni of the 2015 Williamson program mob, and a proud descendant of the Taungurung people to see you all here this morning.

Welcome to our land …….. The land of the Rivers and Mountains of my People, the Taungurung People.

On behalf of my Family, the Franklin family from Yea in Victoria, and Elders Past, Present and Future, of the Taungurung peoples, I welcome you on country today.

With respect to those who have gone before us, Australians from all walks of life… I say thank you…. Thank you for caring for our Land….our Fauna….our Rivers, and Mountains… and for allowing us to take up our responsibilities of nurturing this land through our time on country.


Why Welcome to Country;

Welcome to country is an important ceremony for the Taungurung people, as traditional owners and ongoing guardians of this land we meet today.

It is a ceremony grounded in traditional law and provides an opportunity for non-indigenous people to recognize and pay respect to Aboriginal culture and history.  The ceremony is a cultural practice performed by Indigenous Elders or Traditional owners of the land we meet, where visitors are greeted and welcomed, and traditionally offered safe passage through their lands.


Where We Live;

The Taungurung people occupy much of Central Victoria. This land encompasses the area between the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and it tributaries north of the dividing range. From the Campaspe River to Kilmore in the West, Eastwards to Mount Beauty, Benalla in the north and south to the top of the dividing range.

Townships such as Wallan, Kilmore, Broadford, Seymour, Yea, and Marysville are on Taungurung Country…

Traditionally, our people lived a hunter/gatherer existence. The various clan groups migrated on seasonal basis through their territory dependent upon the seasonal variations of weather and the availability of food.

The Taungurung people are closely affiliated with the neighbouring tribes, through language, ceremonies and kinship ties. We are part of an alliance with the five adjoining tribes to form the Kulin Nation.

Other members of the Kulin Nation are the Woiwurrung – Wurundjeri (Melbourne) Boonwurrung – (Port Phillip bay area), Wathaurung – Geelong area, and Djadjawrung – Bendigo area.

The Kulin Nation group also shares common dreamtime ancestors and creation stories, religious beliefs and economic and social relationships.

Womenjika – Welcome to Taungurung country, and on behalf of my people we hope you enjoy your time here.

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21 November 2017 By

Leadership Victoria is delighted to welcome the following participants to the 2018 Williamson Leadership Program:

Aaron Gay Department of Environment and Water Alys Boase Ermha Ltd Amy McKimm Alfred Health Andreea Georgiana Spoiala-Lagocki Forest and Wood Products Australia Andrew Parsons Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria) Anthony Privitelli DuluxGroup (Parchem) Bernadene Voss City of Port Phillip Bernadette Comitti Monash Health Carolyn Nikoloski beyondblue Daniel Stubbs Inner Melbourne Community Legal Danny Childs Environmental Protection Authority Dr Evan Newnham Eastern Health Elias Lebbos Travellers Aid, Australia  Emma Olivier Lochard Energy Gemma Meagher Environment Protection Authority, Victoria Guy Pritchard Sustainability Victoria Heather Walker Cancer Council Victoria Jacqueline Hanna Department of Health and Human Services Jane Young North East Catchment Management Authority Jerome Carslake ARRB Group John Mina SG Group / JBWere Justine Tiller ANZ Bank Kate Broun Cancer Council Victoria Kate Dundas City of Melbourne Laura Thompson Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Laurelle Atkinson Law Library of Victoria Linda Timothy WorkSafe Victoria Lisa Jones Emergency Management Victoria Mariela Diaz Department of Health and Human Services Mark Langhorn Victoria Police  Mary Sayers Victorian Council of Social Service Matthew Low ARUP  Melissa Barnes Medibank Michael Georgiou Ambulance Victoria Mikaela Stafrace Kidney Health Australia Mithra Villanelo KPMG Narelle Capp Ambulance Victoria Nathalie Webb Monash Health Nicholas Gray Goulburn Murray Water Nicole Batagol Non-Executive Director, Various Nicole Brady Department of Health and Human Services Niloo Amendra Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust Peter Peterson Tennis Australia Peter Quigley Westernport Water Phoebe Dunn Amy Gillett Foundation Rajiv Singh Honeywell Robert Considine Melbourne Water Sarah McPherson VMIA Sarah Thomson Goulburn Valley Water Skye Haldane City of Melbourne Stephanie Woollard Seven Women Stewart MacLeod State Trustees Sudeep Saraf Alfred Health Suzy Redston Austin Health Tessa Dehring Nous Group Tom Moloney HESTA Tom Stewart Victorian Funds Management Corporation Vildana Praljak Vision Australia  Wayne Box William Angliss Institute Zeynep Sertel Islamic Council of Victoria
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1 May 2017 By Michelle Shepherd

Day two of weekend three and the WCLP 17 cohort was ready for a day of Leadership Identity work, True North presentations and the opportunity to decide which CLAN (Community Leadership in Action Networks) we will commit to for the duration of the program.

As the duty syndicate, Pink Heath had the pleasure of hosting, and we knew by the buzz and chatter in the room that we were in for a great session.

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1 May 2017 By Nicola Hodgson

Last week, WCLP 2017 participants gathered at CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick East. The topic was 'Leadership and the Environment'......the park is a unique non-profit centre offering a café, grocery store, nursery and environmental education centre, making it the perfect location for our topic.

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31 March 2017 By Peace and Prosperity

It seemed appropriate that Peace and Prosperity should be the duty syndicate for our first day on Australia's economic prosperity. We chose to start at the macro (what does it all mean) and then focus on the micro with a live example (penalty rates).

The entire 2017 cohort were asked to participate in the conversation, starting with a pre-workshop survey monkey, polls throughout the white paper, and the chance to reflect and consolidate on pre-survey responses at the end of the day.

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27 November 2016 By Sally Hines (WCLP 2016), National Manager, The Big Issue

Sally Hines's full speech 

"Thank you for having me here tonight. I am humbled and delighted to be able to give this speech on behalf of the Williamson 2016 group. I’d like to acknowledge Mr Chris Eccles, Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Geoff Cosgriff,  Chair and LV Council members, representatives from LV Partner Organisations, WCLP Graduates and guests, FCLP Graduates and guests, members of the 2017 WCLP cohort, LV Alumni and Staff.

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27 November 2016 By Leadership Victoria

Leadership Victoria is delighted to welcome the following participants to the 2017 Williamson Community Leadership Program:

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