Introducing Leadership Victoria CEO, Sally Hines

We are thrilled that Sally Hines is starting as Leadership Victoria’s new CEO this week. Of course with COVID restrictions still in place in Melbourne, we aren’t able to meet in person just yet, so we asked Sally to say a few words and do a quick Q&A so you can get to know her.

Q: You are a Williamson alumna. What has stuck with you the most from your Williamson experience?

A: During my lockdown 1.0 Marie Kondo moment, I found the letter we had to write to ourselves at the start of Williamson. Amongst the many hopes and aspirations I had for myself included the desire to “think bigger, and without limits” and that is definitely what I hope to bring to LV.

Q: What do you see as your biggest leadership challenge?

A: I think my current challenge is about reimagining how I lead when I can’t rely on my standard toolkit. COVID has meant, that the way we do business, connect with others and achieve outcomes will be forever changed. Part of the challenge is getting beyond the disruption and seeing the opportunities that we can create together. For me as a leader, it means standing still is not an option- I need to be adaptable, flexible and continually innovating in order create meaningful impact and achieve my goals. This isn’t just in relation to COVID. Leadership always involves being able to see the bigger picture, the system, and finding ways to listen to others and bring them with you.

Q: Who – or what – inspires you?

A: Leaders who are brave and authentic- who are lead naturally and without pretence. It is not really the big names that I tend to gain inspiration from, but rather the quiet achievers, the people leading from within.

I’m reading Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Women and Leadership at the moment and there is a chapter that talks about the power of role-modelling and working with mentors and coaches- for me, an inspirational leader is someone that is willing to continue to learn, to accept when they are wrong, to be open to alternate points of view and committed to devoting time to developing others.

Q: What are three things you are personally looking forward to post-lockdown?

A: Spending time with friends and family in places more than 5km from my house

Eating fancy food in a restaurant!

Take my daughter to school 😉 Homeschooling has been quite the experience…..

Amanda Brook, Chair of Leadership Victoria, announces new CEO

The Leadership Victoria board and team are delighted to introduce Sally Hines as our new CEO.

Sally will be taking up her role from 1 September.

As a Williamson alumna (WCLP2016), program speaker and peer mentor, Sally is already part of the LV community.

Sally’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for LV, as we continue to evolve and adapt our mission of purposeful leadership for a better world.

She brings rich experience to LV from the social enterprise, not-for-profit and social service sectors, working at the forefront of cross-sectoral engagement to drive positive change.

Most recently Sally has been Chief Operating Officer at The Big Issue and Homes for Homes, leading these social enterprises to diversify and create partnerships across business, philanthropy, government and the social sector to achieve innovative solutions addressing homelessness.

Sally also has a depth of executive experience in the health, mental health and employment sectors, leading strategic decision-making and bringing together diverse teams, partnerships and stakeholders to support adaptation, sustainability and meaningful social and economic outcomes.

She also applies her purposeful leadership as a not-for-profit board member; currently Deputy Chair of Wallara and a non-executive director of Portsea Camp.

Over the coming months, the LV team will be in touch with opportunities to connect with Sally as we continue to adapt and adjust to new ways of engaging with our communities and our stakeholders.

I’m excited to have Sally leading our next phase and I hope that you will join me in extending her a very warm welcome!

Please stay safe and well.

Amanda Brook, Board Chair, Leadership Victoria.

How might we face society’s biggest challenges in a global pandemic?

In 6 different Clan* groups, current Williamson participants are delving into some of the biggest challenges facing our society in 2020:

Clan Group 1: Equity

How might we be active allies to Aboriginal communities to achieve greater equity?

Clan Group 2: Mental Health

How might we create space for mental health and wellbeing?

Clan Group 3: Climate Change

How might we influence LV and the 2020 WLCP cohort (then past and future cohorts) to take on a Climate Change challenge (big or small)?

Clan Group 4: Family Violence

“To stop duck shooting, you don’t go to the ducks” – How might we include the perspective of the male perpetrator of family violence to instigate change?

Clan Group 5: Opportunity

How might we gather people’s stories of the unusual events of 2020 to capture hope and resilience?

Clan Group 6: Gender Equality

How might we intervene and impact on critical moments, through empowerment, and make them count?

And these Clan groups need your help!

Join our free virtual #togetherweclan session which kicks off 6:30 pm Wednesday, 2 September.

It’s going to be fun, colorful and a great opportunity to connect with others in the Leadership Victoria community. You don’t need expertise in the topic areas. You do need enthusiasm, curiosity & an open mind.

 *CLANs (Collaborative Leadership in Action Network) are an opportunity to engage the different mindsets, skills, talents, and resources of the group on a societal challenge that requires exceptional leadership. The CLAN method puts into practice the adaptive leadership principles and competencies explored throughout the Williamson experience, to a broader lens of leadership challenges in our society.

Williamson 2021 Information Sessions

Williamson is a unique, immersive year-long program designed to transform the way you think about your leadership purpose.

The program is built on the premise of experimentation. It will push you to continually challenge how and why you lead. It will expand the way you see the world and change the way you exercise leadership. You will engage unusual voices and learn to mobilise and empower others to do extraordinary things in your organisation and community.

Want to know more about Williamson? Join one of our free info sessions, where you’ll learn more about the program structure and its impact straight from our amazing Alumni and facilitators.

Morning session – Tue, 28 July 2020 | 7:30am – 8:30am

Evening session – Thu, 6 August 2020 | 5:30pm – 6:30am

We’re excited to announce…we’ve gone virtual!

Like everyone, we are moving quickly to adapt our business to the rapidly evolving circumstances in which we find ourselves. It’s certainly challenging however, we are excited about the many opportunities opening up for all of us to think, work and collaborate in radically differently ways. It is a positive choice we can all make to explore, learn and innovate not only to work through the present challenges, but to create valuable new ways of working and connecting for the future.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to move our programs to a virtual delivery; this naturally involves rethinking and redesigning components to maintain the depth and richness of the development experience, and the high quality of outcomes for our program participants. We are thrilled to have received really positive and enthusiastic feedback from our clients and participants, and we’re grateful for the wonderful generosity of spirit that has been shown as we explore new ways of working together. With so many people working remotely we are hearing that our programs are providing invaluable opportunities for people to stay connected, engaged and positive about the future.

We are now living through what is likely the greatest adaptive leadership challenge facing the world; this is not a mere blip, many things have already changed and will be changed forever. Our work in supporting leaders to develop the mindsets, skills and resilience needed to look forward positively and courageously and to lead the creation of a better future, has never been more important.

Be the leader you want to be

Don’t let physical distancing stop you from being the leader you want to be. In fact, it’s now more important than ever to take that next step and develop the skills that will set you up to lead through the current situation and into the future. Our excellent programs are running virtually. Same great leadership tools and insights, and a network of other leaders like you to share the journey – all with an extra focus on those tools that leaders need right now, like resilience and leading through disruption. See more about the programs here.

An Open Letter to LV Alumni and Participants

By Chris Kotur (WCLP’94), LV’s Leader in Residence

Don’t stop learning about good leadership during crises…we need to draw on all we know to offer confidence and hope right now and afterwards…

Many thousands of Victorians have come through successive waves of trauma and crises, serial natural disasters and years of adapting to consequences of far too many compounding bad surprises. Victorians already know a lot about unwelcome events that permanently change lives and force people to attempt recovery afterwards…

The pandemic is another one of those events and it’s a major opportunity to share some of what Victorians can teach us about resilience.

Many in the Leadership Victoria community are at the forefront of leading the major adaptive changes we’re going through and I want to acknowledge and thank each one of you for working so hard to help us through really difficult change.

I also want to acknowledge and share the sadness of those who have lost jobs and I hope that doesn’t mean we’ve lost confidence in the future.

In crises it’s easy to forget what we as leaders already know and are able to do.

If you think its valuable I can share some of the insights I’ve gained from facilitating thousands of conversations and reviewing advice, ideas and suggestions from the many government inquiries, three Royal Commissions and countless consultations that I’ve been part of – learning so much from those who experienced crises, lost so much and yet came through the other side – so we can keep learning together.

Firstly, I predict we’ll be better at getting through this awful time than it seems right now as we try in real time, to understand and readjust to the consequences of a pandemic.

“After a while I learned that I had to give myself permission to pause, take in what had happened and readjust” (Black Saturday)

For Leadership Victoria participants and alumni its time to pause, get on the balcony and draw down every lesson, experience, story, idea and good advice you heard probably thinking you’d ‘come back to that later’. Come back to that knowledge now.

We’re all adapting, unwillingly, awkwardly, too quickly and with little control so remember all you know about adaptive leadership – the theory and practice is solid and it works. (If new to or need to refresh Adaptive Leadership check out the many resources by Marty Linsky, Ron Heifetz whose research and practice advice were developed for just these extraordinarily difficult times).

Reflect on every bit of inspiration and wisdom you’ve heard from presenters and from across your LV network. Every LV encounter is a miniature case study of what to do now and afterwards, when this awful time seems less awful.

We’ve got this. Afterwards people will need us more than ever and that means we can’t stop learning.

Secondly, consider what many Victorians said about maintaining resilience after Black Saturday and the Hazelwood Mine disaster.

“I learned to watch for signs of when I’d had enough and just couldn’t go on. It learned when to say no and just leave for a while, rest, eat, get a hug”

 “It was a really emotional time, we were overwhelmed by what we’d lost and grief stopped us from planning for later…It was so tough but I wish we’d been less sentimental and started to get ready for the future more quickly”

It’s not selfish to put yourself first under current circumstances. It’s essential. You won’t be able to hold others in distress if you’re not ok. You’ll need the energy, physical and mental strength that requires down time.

Thirdly, while events are changing quickly we listen (and then only selectively) to leaders whom we trust and who deliver information clearly, consistently, empathetically and with authority.

The amount of information we can take in reduces. We hear what we want to, misinterpret even simple messages and easily fall prey to speculation, scams and conspiracies. A message clear to you can sound like gibberish to someone else.

“I could only hear what people like me and who knew me were saying…(Heazlewood Mine disaster)

Its time to review style and content of communication especially while there’s an information glut and social media, while keeping us connected, adds confusion and noise.

Updates must be frequent, quick, clear and decisive.

Fourthly, nostalgia isn’t your friend.

“After Black Saturday I just wanted Friday back”

 “I simply decided to care for people I didn’t know and that meant being gentle with people who did stupid things”

 “I wanted my old life back but I had to change the way I think.” (Family Violence)

Your work, workplace culture and relationships with colleagues have already changed even if you don’t know it yet. Current strategic, corporate, business or council plans are now probably irrelevant. Plans for managing risk or emergencies may prove woefully inadequate.

Services, business models and policies are reshaping right now, by forces beyond our control.

The next term of political leadership has already begun because the aftermath of this crisis will continue for a long time. Small NFP’s without deep reserves have already become insolvent.

“After 15 years of daily violence at home I realised I had to stop hoping things would return to the way we were at the beginning and it was time to run…” (Family Violence)

There’s a danger that in dealing with the short, sharp daily emergencies we won’t make time to reflect and learn and plan properly for what comes later.

Try to reserve enough energy and clear thinking to apply foresight right now or ‘afterwards’.

There are so many more lessons, smart, practical ways to lead through to the other side of this crisis and I’ll help you do that if I can.


Chris Kotur (WCLP’94)

LV Leader In Residence

Leadership Victoria’s COVID-19 Update

We’d like to update you on the changes Leadership Victoria is putting in place to help keep our participants, clients, staff and broader community safe as we face COVID-19.

While we are all dealing with the immediate disruption at the moment, LV is positive about the future. We will get through this as a community and we will learn more about our leadership and what we are capable of.

Like all Australians, we are closely monitoring the unfolding impacts of COVID-19 and are following advice and government directions as they evolve so that we do all we can to keep our community safe.

We are all having to adapt to a rapidly changing situation, and in order to protect the health and safety of our community, LV is changing its program delivery model to minimise face to face interactions over the next three months until 30 June 2020. With the situation evolving rapidly, please be assured that we will keep you updated of any changes.

This as an opportunity for us all to develop and refine the leadership skills required to meet very real life challenge of leading virtual, dispersed teams!

Programs currently in progress: face to face facilitation and events will be suspended until 30 June 2020 at least, to comply with government guidelines and to keep us all safe. We are working closely with our clients to ensure continued delivery of our leadership development programs through a combination of the following:

  • Rescheduling experiential components to a later date
  • Delivering programs in a virtual format over the next three months at least, and possibly longer depending on advice and how the situation evolves.

The Williamson Leadership Program is continuing in a virtual format until at least 30 June 2020 with experiential components being rescheduled to the latter half of this year. All participants have been provided details of the revised arrangements. Last Friday we were delighted to successfully deliver the belonging theme day virtually to the 2020 Williamson cohort where we heard from an array of wonderful guest speakers. Thank you everyone for your flexibility, pulling together and showing the strength of our connectivity.

Open enrolment programs: We are working to enable virtual delivery of our open enrolment programs scheduled to take place in April, May and June. We are aiming, as far as possible, to retain the scheduled dates and will notify all registered participants in the following programs, should this change:

  • LeaderEvolution Series 1 scheduled dates 28 April – 5 May 2020
  • Developing Self, Leading Others Series 1 scheduled dates 4 May – 17 June
  • Igniting Leadership Program Series 1 scheduled dates 7 May – 4 June 2020

Please note these programs, and the programs scheduled for later in the year, remain open for expressions of interest and we will continue to provide updates on scheduling and delivery format as the situation progresses. To enquire about LV programs, contact

LV team operating virtually:  Team members will continue to be available via their individual email and mobile phone numbers, and for teleconference meetings.

Looking towards the future: We intend to keep the conversation going with you – especially as we face new challenges of social distancing and working in different ways. This is a time to support each other and to truly lead anytime and anywhere. We will keep in touch with you via our social media channels, newsletter and website.

Williamson Welcome Immersive

The LV team put together this storytelling piece from the 2020 Williamson Welcome Immersive. Following this, the 2020 Williamson peer groups will take over the storytelling duties and we will be sharing these reflections from the program from time to time over the year. This storytelling piece is accompanied by a Spotify playlist – a ha moments from Williamson 2020. 


“Belonging is an integral part of life,” says Taungurung man and LV alumnus, Anthony Cavanagh (WCLP’15) as the group stands in a wide circle with the land beneath our feet and the cockatoos screeching their own welcome from the majestic gums above.

You are at this moment on the cusp of belonging to something new.

Something that, as Anthony tells us, is not just for the next 12 months, it is for the rest of your life.

Welcome indeed.

How does belonging happen? It starts like this.

A generous welcome that helps us all belong to the ancient land and the cultures that have shaped it.

A pair of socks – you will see a few of these – that symbolise your new belonging. Continuing (alumni, the Leadership Victoria community) and new (you lot) joined by a small gift, a symbol of all the things that will come to link you.

Let me introduce myself. I’m your narrator for this first part of the journey. Unreliable. Biased. Selective. Not of you, but observing you. None of you will have the benefit of my distance as you undertake this storytelling task over coming months – although you will be expected to climb up to the balcony. I will not have the benefit of your belonging in this special group – although I love a good session on the dancefloor.

Belonging and not belonging. Let’s talk about the monsters that lurk in the room on this first morning. Imposter syndrome. And for some of you perhaps, its opposite. What shall we call it? Ego? Hubris? Privilege?

Or maybe it is one of these monsters masking itself as another. Or a mix of both. We are complex beasts, us and our monsters.

Let’s call them and then let them go – for now.

You are here. You are here through an honest, fair (well, as fair as our world is) and trustworthy process. So you deserve to be here. So does everyone around you.

Think back to that question in your interview – why you when someone else will miss out? I could add, when some people in our world, our communities, will never even be in a position to take control of their own lives, let alone lead others.

Use that.

Use it to make the most of this opportunity. You are not here just for you. Leadership, by its very nature is about yourself and others.

So step up and in. Make the space for this in your life. Really live every moment of it. You will never have this again. Most people will never have it.

But don’t waste time thinking you are the odd one out in exalted company. Or, alternatively, that you are the exalted one in odd company.

You are here. So really, be here.

Maybe this expectation of presence is not what you were expecting. Even when the people who had come before you down this path shook their heads and with that mix of pride, ruefulness and knowing said, ‘You should do this. But it’ll be hard. It will test you.’

What might you need to give up, for a time, to be truly present? How might you need to recalibrate – the way you see the world, the way you move in it, the assumptions you make, how you use your time and the value you place on it?

What might you give up, set aside … but what richness will you gain?

So much to take in on these first few days. So many points where presence is required, already, that the head spins and aches with it all.

But let me settle on one point: Questions. Specifically, the questions you ask of the people who give their time and that little part of themselves that is their story.

What are they, these questions? A way to extract information. Sure. But so much more – they can be vehicles of your curiosity, your imagination, your empathy, your anger, your desire for change. Your learning.

Williamson is such a big program, all those days, all those trips and experiences and speakers … and yet, already here we are on Day One and it feels like there isn’t enough time.

It’s fleeting. And all of a sudden, that person who could hold the key to a revelation that could change you, change your world, is heading for the door, a pair of socks in hand.

So your presence is not just a sort of mindfulness on the day. It is practical and preparatory and reflective. It is before and after. I’m talking about research and pondering and careful, thoughtful selection.

These questions, they are about you as much as they are about the one being questioned and the wider world.

So here on Day One, as an example, some of you have before you a journalist who:

(a) asks questions for a living – hmm, might have some insights for your own question posing, especially as a Williamson alumnus.

(b) has lived through (is living through) the most massive disruption to public engagement with news and information in at least a hundred years – gosh I wonder what he sees as the future of media; I wonder how that transformation has affected him and his colleagues – what does his experience tell us about people and change?

(c) specialises in business and finance – gee, he’d have some insights into changes in corporate culture and leadership and the state of the economy and why, despite things like the banking royal commission, corporate leaders seem to be showing more direction on big issues than politicians.

But you only have – what, half an hour to ask questions? And there’s 30 of you. So it means team work and compromise too. Choice. Decision. Depth or breadth. What is the best use of our limited time and access?

This is starting to look a lot like leadership.

What do you really want to know from and about this person? Don’t waste your, their and everyone else’s time by not knowing about them beforehand; their experiences, what they might have said in the past, what they can speak knowledgeably about.

Don’t refrain from asking them the burning questions. Don’t be ignorant of what those questions might be.

And don’t take what they say at face value – respectfully, but still, with purpose and a curious mind. I was upfront with you, back up there at the start. I told you I was a biased and unreliable narrator. Everyone is of their own story. But most won’t tell you – or to be fair, they don’t realise it.

Real insights are rarely handed to us on a platter. We must earn them. Deserve them. Ponder them awhile.

Remember. You are here and so many others are not. Belonging is a privilege and a commitment.

Be thoughtful. Be present. Belong.

Welcome to Williamson.

2019 Graduation and Celebration Dinner

On Wednesday 20 November, we held the 2019 Graduation at State Library Victoria to celebrate Williamson and Folio graduates alongside their partners and supporters, and the wider LV team. Elaine Montegriffo, LV CEO and Chris Kotur, LV Leader in Residence, opened the event by extending their congratulations to the 2019 cohort and reflecting on the year that was.

In the evening we held the Leadership Victoria 2019 Celebration December at Zinc, Federation Square. Our 2019 Williamson and Folio Community Leadership Program Graduates came together with friends, family, LV partners and supporters in celebration of their completion of the programs. The energy in the room was palpable as our MC Kylie Belling (WCLP’17) led us through the evening of speakers including Keynote speaker Chin Tan (WCLP’98), Race Discrimination Commissioner and Jacinda Richards, 2019 Igniting Leadership Program Scholarship Recipient and L2R Dance Founder followed by the announcement of the 2020 Williamson cohort and 2020 scholarship recipients. Thank you to all those who made it to the event and to those who couldn’t.

To see highlights of the evening, check out this great video.

We’ve put lots of photos on our Facebook page, so feel free to tag yourself and share.

You can also read about our 2019 graduates in our 2019 Yearbook – Leading with Purpose, which is now available on our website.

Interested in taking your leadership to the next level in 2020? Check out our new 2020 Leadership Programs brochure here.


Together we CLAN

Williamson participants, LV alumni and guests showed their “CLAN-do” attitude on Wednesday 30 October at our first ever #togetherweCLAN event which was a huge success. Around 120 people came along to hear the 2019 Williamson Leadership Program CLAN groups pitch their big challenges and offer their unique points of view through a group consultation process.

CLANs – community leadership action networks – are a feature of the Williamson and other LV programs and challenge participants to take a deep dive into complex issues that need smart, purposeful and collaborative leadership to address.

Popular pitches on the night asked ‘how might we …’ address issues including women’s financial disadvantage, Indigenous recognition, consumption and waste, trauma and access to housing. The room was abuzz with lively conversation as the audience joined the consultation process to explore the underlying challenges of these issues.

For LV alumni and friends, and anyone interested in sharing discussion on society’s big challenges, keep an eye out for our next CLAN event which will be taking place in March 2020…Watch this space!