Making Australia a Better Place
Constantine Oscuchukwa doesn’t lack leadership. He’s the Anglican priest at St Paul’s Bakery Hill Ballarat. But Constantine valued mentorship through the New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program (NECLP) because he says leaders “never stop learning”. Specifically, he wanted to improve his business skills. Leadership Victoria paired him with volunteer mentor and Ballarat businessman Mike McCaw, and the local connection proved crucial to the establishment of the One Humanity Shower Bus.
The bus offers homeless people a secure, comfortable place to wash themselves and their clothes. The resulting sense of dignity is vital, says Constantine. From dignity comes opportunity and connections with people and services. “That’s why we called it One Humanity. If one person is homeless in Ballarat everyone is diminished. We need to encounter people as human beings, not as ‘homeless’.” Constantine says Mike helped “translate the dream into a reality”.
“He broke the project down into a five-step process. Mike made the process clear, he set timelines, he explained and he encouraged me. We became a team then we became friends.”
Mike, Chairman of Five Pillars Consulting, a professional management business, has expertise in all the areas project required: planning, setting goals, determining required actions and maximising resource allocation. Mike sees the bus as a classic case of “a hand up, not a hand out”.
With Mike’s guidance, Constantine leveraged local businesses, who donated their time and expertise. He says the costs would have been ten times as high without local input.
Constantine urges anyone considering the New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program to “go for it”. “It wasn’t just the good content of the program, it’s the people I met from all over the world, the stories of resilience… the generosity. The people of vision and influence with a commitment to making Australia a better place.”
With some help from a business savvy mentor, Constantine is certainly doing that in Ballarat.