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A deep dive on purpose driven leadership

Scott Ko is the Acting CEO at Leadership Victoria. He possesses a diverse portfolio career from consulting to public and private sectors on strategy, innovation, and technology, through to launching successful social enterprises and startups. He is also a speaker and a writer, with a particular passion for purpose-driven community leadership, social enterprise and social impact, systems thinking, and human-centred design. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or drop him an email on

The concept of ‘purpose driven leadership’ is one that has grown in importance over the past few years, accelerated in part by the global disruption that is Covid. From young people who are seeking greater purpose in the places they work through to established executives reflecting on the leadership impact they’d like to create, it’s a concept that is increasingly shaping the way we think about what we do.

However, notions around ‘purpose’ and ‘leadership purpose’ have also become quite buzzy, so in this article, let’s spend a bit of time dissecting what ‘purpose driven leadership’ means. Let’s break down the definition, why it’s important, and what it is you can do to reflect on your own leadership purpose.

I should caveat that this is an article very firmly rooted in the realm of philosophy, meaning the aim is not to tell you what is right or wrong, but to share a perspective for you to consider and reflect on.


What is the purpose of ‘leadership’?

Before we get into ‘purpose driven leadership’, it’s important to consider what the purpose of leadership itself is. It should come as no surprise that multiple interpretations can exist; what is perceived as effective leadership will depend heavily on the context in which leadership is required. For example, during a crisis, a ‘command and control’ type of leadership is often considered the most effective. Within the context of community leadership – the domain of Leadership Victoria – the activity of leadership involves bringing different people together and engaging them to make progress on key issues relevant to that community.

It’s important to frame the activity of leadership this way because it allows us to consider ‘purpose driven leadership’ as a subset of overall leadership activity. That is, before you think about what it means to be a purpose driven leader, it’s important to possess an understanding of the context in which leadership is required. At minimum, this means an understanding of the community you serve – which applies equally to a work or a social community – and the issues or outcomes that the community seeks to address.


How then should we define ‘purpose’?

Like leadership, ‘purpose’ is a concept that has been explored and debated across many different disciplines, from Simon Sinek to Ariana Huffington. There are functional interpretations (i.e. the purpose of a door lock is to… well… lock doors) through to more social interpretations (i.e. the purpose of a door lock is to provide people with a sense of security).

Within the context of community leadership, I’m going to lean on the following description: Purpose is an overarching aim or goal towards which activities can be directed.

The benefits of having a clear purpose almost goes without saying; a clear purpose provides everyone with a consistent sense of direction, it helps create focus and an understanding of how activities are prioritised, and it serves as a source of motivation for the collective.

Conversely, think of any group or team you’ve been a part of where the purpose is unclear.  Things move slowly (if at all), people don’t understand how their work contributes to a larger goal, and the perceived lack of purpose can be debilitating and demoralising.


What is ‘Purpose Driven Leadership’?

Bringing these two concepts together, it thus follows that a purpose driven leader is one who demonstrates leadership behaviours that bring people together in a way that drives progress towards a common purpose.

At this point, some of you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about social impact, corporate social responsibility, or United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). All of these themes are commonly associated with notions of purpose or being purpose driven but the reason I haven’t touched on them yet is because I think there’s an important distinction to make between your personal purpose and that of a community or organisation.

It can be all too easy to get caught up in the idea of ‘finding your purpose’ and using that as a basis for leadership. However the challenge this can present is that our personal purpose may not always be compatible or appropriate for the community we service. As an example, consider any situation where you have seen a leader join a community and begin to work towards their own goals in a way that is contrary to the group’s.

Equally, if we’re unclear about your personal purpose, we may find ourselves adopting the purpose of our community or organisation as our own. To be clear, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the risk is that as a leader, we can lose our own sense of purpose and identity. Not only can we ‘lose our way’, we may become less effective leaders and the community can stagnate as a result. This is why some communities change their leaders over time, bringing in different people with different ideas and perspectives that can breathe new life into a community.

I posit that if we are clear about our personal purpose and we have a deep understanding of the communities we serve and its collective purpose, finding overlap between the two is where we achieve effective purpose driven leadership.



The purpose driven leadership ‘equation’

Looking at purpose driven leadership through this equation gives us some interesting insights on how to become a purpose driven leader.

The first part of the equation is understanding our own personal purpose, as distinct from the various communities and organisations we will serve over our lifetime. What is it we want to achieve? What leadership impact do we want to create? What drives and nourishes us as individuals? What values as a leader are important to us?

Preserving space around our personal purpose also gives us space to evolve and adapt over time, as we embrace new experiences or our personal situations change. As we become clearer about our personal leadership purpose, it helps us understand how we can show up to serve others in different capacities.

The second part of the equation is understanding the purpose of the communities or organisations we serve. What are their needs? What unique challenges do they face? What outcomes are they working towards? And how has this changed or evolved over time? This is where the aforementioned outcomes such as corporate social responsibility, social impact, or contributing towards the UNSDGs come into play.

By keeping the community’s purpose at arm’s length, it allows us to better engage the people around us, to really listen to their stories, and better understand motivations and aspirations. Or for those familiar with adaptive leadership principles, it allows us to ‘get on the balcony’ and to better diagnose the problem more objectively.


How to become an effective purpose driven leader?

When we look at both parts of this equation clearly, we can start to ask ourselves some really interesting questions:

  • If I had to write it down, what is my leadership statement of purpose?
  • Is there a clear overlap between my leadership purpose and the community’s purpose?
  • How long does this overlap last for?
  • Is there a time when my purpose is achieved for this community?
  • Is there a time where the community no longer needs my purpose?
  • Are there other communities that align to my leadership purpose?
  • Do I need to adjust or evolve my purpose in order to serve this community better?
  • And finally, by understanding both sides of the equation: Can I articulate what my leadership purpose is for the community I currently serve?

Answering these questions honestly is good both for ourselves and all the various communities we serve, and helps us become more effective purpose driven leaders.


In conclusion

Purpose driven leadership is a powerful and effective way to lead, both for ourselves and the communities we serve. By understanding our own personal purpose, as distinct from the collective purpose of our community or organisation, we can become more effective as purpose driven leaders.

As we round out the year, it’s a great opportunity to take some time for reflection, and to determine how we can best show up for a meaningful 2023.

If you’re seeking to cultivate your personal sense of leadership purpose, check out Leadership Victoria’s range of programs here, or simply reach out to me if you’d like to continue the conversation.

Thanks for reading!

Williamson Community Leadership Program Participants for 2023

We are excited to announce the 64 leaders who have been selected for the 2023 Williamson Community Leadership Program. Over the next year, the group will dive deep into themselves, the nature of leadership and explore vital issues facing our society.

Participant Employer
Adam Murdoch Energy Safe Victoria
Allison Howell Quinton University of Melbourne
Amanda Lawrie-Jones Accessible Action
Amanda Handley Medicines Development for Global Health
Amelia Condi Summer Foundation
Amy Robinson Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project
Angela Sormaz Transport Accident Commission
Angela Erwin Barwon Health
Anna Stephenson MCCC GP Training
Annette Davis Monash Health
Ariana Kurzeme Alannah & Madeline Foundation
Brydie Quinn Able Australia
Caitlin Oliver Department of Families, Fairness & Housing
Charlie McMullin Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP)
Christina Earls DuluxGroup
Christine Leahy Corval Group
Debbie Shiell Austin Health
Fatima Everitt Dreamtime Art Creative Consultancy
Fiona Schutt WorkSafe
Georgi Fairley FPPV Architecture
Georgie Dwyer Berry Street
Georgie Birch City of Stonnington
Gillian Denison Future Fund
Greg Christison Fire Rescue Victoria
Hisney Nowfal Middleton Group
James Seow Monash University and City of Port Phillip
Jay Mueller Australian Football League
Jessica Bartik Department of Premier and Cabinet
Jithma Beneragama Amazon Web Services
Jo Curtin Community Broadcasting Foundation
Joe Murfet Department of Transport
Joe Youssef Department of Justice and Community Safety
Julia Oxley Monash Health
Kelly-Ann McKinnis ANZ
Kevin Kapeke VicHealth
Kieran Lenehan Fire Rescue Victoria
Kiran Khan Annecto
Leigh Saunders Aborigines Advancement League
Lisa Cox Northern Health
Liza Raynes ANZ
Mark Cochrane-Holley City of Melbourne
Martina Murray Melbourne Theatre Company
Melanie Cook Cook Beattie & Associates
Natalie Boston Vicinity Centres
Natalie Donohoe Premium Health
Nina Klein Ambulance Victoria
Paul Davies Leisure Networks
Peta Owen Ambulance Victoria
Prue Humber Bendigo Kangan Institute
Rachel Elliott Australian Football League
Rachna Madaan-Bowman South East Community Links
Ranya Shahwan Worksafe Victoria
Ross Connor Department of Transport Victoria
Sally Baker EBM RentCover
Sam Read Sexual Health Victoria
Sarah Naarden Initiatives of Change Australia
Steve Coldham City of Casey
Sue Anderson Co Squared
Susanne Newton Darebin City Council
Tanya Wolkenberg City of Melbourne
Tighearnan Corcoran Department of Family Fairness and Housing
Timothy Binks Department of Education & Training
Tish Tambakau Beyond Blue
Tom Connell The Royal Children’s Hospital

Diverse perspective has always been an integral part of the Williamson experience. As well as their personal experience and knowledge, the 2023 cohort represents a range of different sectors, including:

  • Not-for-profit and charity
  • Emergency services
  • State and local government
  • Education
  • Infrastructure, engineering and construction
  • Banking, finance and consultancy
  • Technology
  • Self-employed
  • Social services
  • Law and justice
  • Sustainability and environment
  • Retail/social enterprise
  • Health and healthcare
  • Sport

*Employer as at time of Williamson 2023 recruitment (November, 2022) Please note that employments may change over time and will not be reflected here.

Leadership reads: Fostering Culturally Diverse Leadership in Organisations

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and absorb the book Fostering Culturally Diverse Leadership in Organisations by Karen Loon. As someone with an Asian background (I immigrated to Australia from China when I was 6), I’m always excited to see greater research and discussion on this topic, especially from those approaching the topic with an Asian-Australian lens.

Karen is an Asia-Capable Non-Executive Director, Audit Committee Chair and former Financial Services Partner (Assurance) at PwC with over 30 years of deep, international experience with preeminent financial services firms across Asia-Pacific, particularly in Singapore & Australia.

Motivated by her own experiences and observations on the lack of Asian-Australian leaders in Australian firms, Karen’s book examines how successful culturally diverse leaders at work resolve the contradictions and tensions of their personal identities within organisations. She interviewed dozens of successful Asian-Australian leaders to listen to their experiences, research what factors hold organisational change back, and share what we can learn from leaders who have thrived and smashed the ‘bamboo ceiling’.

I found Karen’s book to be a thought-provoking, well-researched, and nuanced approach to culturally diverse leadership. As someone fascinated by systems-thinking, I really appreciate how she explores the different contributing factors experienced by different Asian-Australian leaders, from the influence of our family and cultural systems, the interplay with Australian cultural contexts, the dynamics of organisational systems, and the impact this subsequently has on Asian-Australian leaders.

However, what I particularly resonate with is Karen’s choice to focus on the individual journey at the start of the book. She starts by exploring the familial roots of Asian-Australian leaders, the role that family plays in their identities, how these experiences influence the way people show up at work, and their subsequent career trajectories. Importantly, Karen also examines and acknowledges the distinctions between the different Asian cultures (such as community-centric vs individualistic differences) and how these might influence different approaches taken by Asian-Australian leaders.

In the second half of her book, Karen then flips this around to explore how organisational systems influence the identities of Asian-Australian leaders. Here, Karen is particularly nuanced in exploring the pitfalls of capital D ‘Diversity’ initiatives and is unafraid to explore the complexity and hard work that drive genuine diversity in organisations. She identifies many of the paradoxes at play that both help and hinder progress, as well as provide practical examples for what organisations can do.

I thoroughly enjoyed Karen’s book, the effort put into the research, the depth of thought and examination, and recommend her book for both emerging culturally diverse leaders as well as those seeking to foster long term change.

You can order a copy of Karen’s book here.

Written by Scott Ko (COO for Leadership Victoria) 

Disclaimer: With thanks to Karen, who provided me a copy of her book for review.

Joan Kirner Emerging Leaders Program Participants for 2022

We are excited to announce the 19 emerging leaders who have participated in the 2022 Joan Kirner Emerging Leaders Program.  Over 6 weeks, the group delved into interactive learning development workshops, collaborative group work, structured networking and mentoring activities to empower them to examine the structural, cultural and organisational barriers in their workplaces and realise their leadership potential. 

At the graduation, the group were asked to individually present their leadership promise; a commitment to how they will forge their leadership journey. Some promised to be a role models for other women. Others promised to lead ambitious projects. However, all of them acknowledged the realisation that they were in fact leaders and an excitement for what might come next.

The Joan Kirner Emerging Leaders Program honours the legacy of the late Joan Kirner AC. As Victoria’s first woman premier, she blazed a trail for women in public life and public office. The program is run in partnership with the Victorian Government and is supporting future generations of young Victorian women following in the footsteps of the late Joan Kirner.

Participant Local Government Area
Abbey Dalton Melbourne City Council
Apsara Senanayake Wyndham City Council
Ash Youkyoung Lee Yarra City Council
Caroline Kell Yarra City Council
Cassandra Metuisela Hobsons Bay City Council
Chloe Wegener Greater Geelong City Council
Diana McGowan Moreland City Council
Elisha Whyley Banyule City Council
Emily Harris Bass Coast Shire Council
Emma Gray Melton City Council
Evelyn Kai Afotey Wyndham City Council
Jessica Au Melton City Council
Kathleen Brack Bass Coast Shire Council
Lucinda O’Brien Moreland City Council
Megan O’Donnell Mount Alexander Shire Council
Nikhi Wagstaff Yarra City Council
Sabrina Krzywdzinski Greater Geelong City Council
Shamitha Kathurusinghe Stonnington City Council
Sinead Redmond Greater Geelong City Council
Thea Jones Nillumbik Shire Council

As well as their personal knowledge, the 2022 group is made up of diverse women from across Victoria, with different backgrounds and experiences. We’re excited to see the program participants spread their knowledge and experiences far and wide into their communities.

Christine Nixon appointed Chair of Leadership Victoria

Former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Christine Nixon AO, APM has been appointed Chair of Leadership Victoria, marking a significant milestone for the not-for-profit social enterprise at a time when strong leadership has never been more vital.

As the first female Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, leading 14,000 staff between 2001 and 2009, and leading the Victorian Bushfire Recovery after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, Christine is uniquely positioned to understand the challenges and opportunities of leadership in today’s society.

“Right now, we’re facing unprecedented challenges, from climate change to gender inequality to the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic. In order to tackle these issues, we need leaders who are visionaries, who can bring people together to create lasting change,” she says.

“A great leader is someone who is able to draw on the strength of those they lead, and as Chair of Leadership Victoria, I’m looking forward to working with the board, management, and alumni to foster leadership that helps to solve some of the big issues, and greatest opportunities, within our community.”

Ms Nixon’s appointment comes at a time when Leadership Victoria is entering a strong new chapter, focusing on helping individuals, workplaces and communities to exercise the leadership required to tackle some of society’s more complex challenges, in order to create a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable society.

With an impressive list of alumni that includes Dr Bronwyn King AO, who is a world leader in the fight against big tobacco investment; Justin Hanney, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Melbourne; Vivienne Nguyen, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission; and Dr Sonja Hood, President of the North Melbourne Football Club; the organisation is excited to work with Christine to inspire current and emerging leaders to create the collective action required to bring about change.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Christine to the role of Chair. Her experience and vision as a leader will be an asset to our organisation, as we aim to enable leadership that inspires, connects and transforms,” says Sally Hines, CEO of Leadership Victoria.

“Now more than ever, we need people who want to mobilise others to tackle tough societal challenges, and with Christine’s guidance, we’ve never been better placed to advance this type of adaptive leadership,” she adds.

Christine is also currently Chair of the Board of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Deputy Chair of the Board of Castlemaine State Festival. In 2017, she co-authored “Women Leading” with Amanda Sinclair.

About Leadership Victoria

Leadership Victoria is a not-for-profit, certified social enterprise that specialises in leadership development. For over thirty years, the organisation has been connecting and empowering leaders across business, government and community sectors, enabling them to exercise the leadership required to address complex challenges and contribute to positive social, environmental and economic outcomes.  Leadership Victoria’s programs purposefully connect leaders with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to challenge and enable fresh thinking.  We facilitate powerful networks that endure beyond our programs, enabling leaders to amplify their leadership impact in their organisations, sectors and communities.  Find out more at

For media enquiries, please contact:
Tamara Jenkins
Esencia Communications
Ph: 0400 525 996

What Does It Mean To Belong?

To celebrate Harmony Week and the 2022 theme, ‘everyone belongs’, we dive into how belonging manifests for Leadership Victoria and speak to some of our program participants to understand what belonging means to them.

Belonging is a human need to be connected and accepted by others and a way of making sense of the world around us by gaining and giving attention to others. So, when looking at belonging through the context of leadership, creating a sense of belonging is integral to mobilising others to achieve important outcomes.

Belonging doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to all of us, so what might this look like for community leadership?

We reached out to a handful of participants from our Active Citizenship Leadership Program, delivered in partnership with the Victorian Electoral Commission. Fifty emerging leaders from Victoria’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities have come together to develop their leadership skills, capabilities, and confidence to champion active participation in the democratic process within their communities.

We asked the question; what does it mean to belong? And what does it look like within the context of active citizenship?

“This is [a] question [that] will trigger millions of questions on every migrant’s mind [on] do I really belong here? Am I accepted to be part of the host Community? Do I get equal treatment, rights and opportunities like those who were born in this country? These are few of [the] hundreds of questions that pops up on many, myself included but when it comes to personal perspective of what it means and expectations, belonging means to be accepted or judged not by my appearance but attitudes and deeds because we are humans and we should be colour blinded and be connected by humanity not a race, colour or believes and be given equal Rights and opportunities.” – Yai Marach

“Belonging to me is a sense of safe and peace [of] mind. Knowing yourself is accepted, acknowledged and being approved. We feel secured when we belong to the community so that we can help each other in times of difficulties. Belonging makes me identify a place as home I might miss and be missed by people when I am away. This is exactly what I experienced in Australia. I never worried about the sense of belonging in the past back Taiwan, but it became so real when I moved here 2 years ago. At first, this place was foreign to me, and I was always able to leave for good without a second thought since I was just an isolated individual here. Now by making an effort to know my surroundings, the culture and people, I understand the beauty of the place and find myself a spot in this community. This shows how much belonging changes my life and makes me reconnected.

To me, when one side makes an effort to look not only at themselves but try to take everyone with her/ him to move forward defines an active citizenship. Active citizenship also shows when the other side attempts to reach out and participate as well. This evolving circle creates better interaction and connection among the community. Active citizenship makes the whole community to a better place” – Jo Kuan-Chieh Chen

“In Australia, belonging is a major issue for many migrants from different backgrounds. A sense of belonging could be related to a place, a group of people or events. Belonging means that you feel accepted, included, being part of something else. People can feel like they belong to a certain community, a group of friends, a sporting group, a specific place they feel comfortable in…etc. It is the warm feeling of safety and contentment, that you are not excluded or secluded.

Six years ago I migrated from the Middle East to Australia. I have spent the first few years wondering if I fit in! It wasn’t until I started to contribute to my local community, when I finally felt like I actually do belong. Being an active citizen means to me to get involved in the community, display values such as respect, inclusion and helping other people in that community. It means taking a positive step forward in practicing my leadership skills to help others in my community, empower them and motivate them to be active citizens themselves.” – Sarah Hussein

*A photo taken from the Hume City Council Women’s Leadership Program

Agatha Ioannou is a participant of the Hume City Council Women’s Leadership Program. We are running the program in partnership with Hume City Council and NORTH Link, empowering business and community leaders within the region to reach for self-challenging roles, expand their leadership skills to support others in their networks, and drive change and positive local outcomes.

Agatha was asked, what does it mean to belong? And what might it look like within the context of community leadership?

“We all as individuals deserve and need to feel part of a group or community. Having come to Australia as a refugee back in 1976 from Cyprus as a young child, I always had a strong desire to feel like I belonged, knowing that my Greek-Cypriot background was different from many other children I grow up with. Being accepted in school and in our community lead to strong relationship building and therefore lead to confidence building as an individual. Thus forming a strong foundation to develop and aspire to grow into a confident woman I am today.

Community Leadership is where a group of individuals strive to achieve a common goal with a vision or purpose. Many great achievements can be made through the dedication of community groups leading the way to change, shift our mind set and challenge the status quo. Community groups are the driving force behind some outstanding initiatives, they are the backbone to successful businesses and it is very important that we help support to maintain these groups. Brite in Broadmeadows started out this way as a group of parents coming together to solve a problem for the future of their children. As our society continues to change and evolve, we must not underestimate the power of communities and the influence they have on us all as individuals.” – Agatha Ioannou

So, what does belonging mean to you? If you have a story about belonging, please reach share it with us via email:

Happy Harmony Week!

Bounce Back Leadership

Last month, 7 young leaders courageously took to the front of the room, making a promise to apply their new learnings and skills to their lives and to the broader community. These promises marked the end of the Bounce Back Leadership Program for 2021.

The significance of the graduation was strengthened by those in the room. Alongside the 7 young leaders we’re key supporters of the program, including:

  • Viv Nguyen and Bwe Thay,Chair and Deputy
    Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission
  • Anthea Hancocks, CEO of the
    Scanlon Foundation
  • Archangelo Nyuol Madut – Centre for Multicultural Youth
  • Stephen Sibanda – City of Melbourne
  • Charmaine Hunzwi – Incubate Foundation
  • Monica Forson – Human Rights Commission
  • Monica Deng and Deng Yong; the founders of South Sudanese Australian Youth United
The program was founded by the South Sudanese Australian Youth United in partnership with Leadership Victoria to improve the leadership capacity of young South Sudanese Australians and better position them to give back to their communities. For these young folk, the promises marked the beginning of their leadership journey.
A theme throughout the promises was the realisation within the young folk about their ability and capacity to lead both themselves, and their respective communities. That they can be the agents and influencers of the positive social change they want to see. This speaks strongly to one of our central principles of leadership at Leadership Victoria: Anyone can lead, anywhere, at any time. And that leadership is not a position but an activity.
This leadership runs all the way through to the creation of the Bounce Back Leadership Program. Before Co-founding South Sudanese Australian Youth United, Deng Yong would dedicate his time after work to mentoring and playing basketball with young people in the South Sudanese community.
Deng, alongside Co-founder of South Sudanese Australian Youth United, Monica Deng, were later selected to participate in the African Community Leadership Program, a program run by Leadership Victoria which helped empower them to develop the Bounce Back Leadership Program.
So as we come full circle, we look forward to being a part of the impact these young leaders are creating in their community. If you would like to find out what these newly minted Leadership Victoria alumni are up to, or you’d like to reach and support SSAYU in some way, please get in touch at

Williamson Leadership Program Participants for 2022

We are excited to announce the 64 leaders who have been selected for the 2022 Williamson Leadership Program. Over the next year, the group will dive deep into themselves, the nature of leadership and explore vital issues facing our society.

LV 2022 Williamson Leadership Program Full group Blog Image

Participant Employer*
Adam McSwain Bayside City Council
Alecia Rathbone Summer Foundation
Alma Raheem Stryker
Andrea Rindt Monash Health
Andreia Marques The University of Melbourne
Andrew Costa Acutus
Andrew Thorp Beyond Blue
Anton Leschen The Smith Family
Belinda Bennett ANZ
Belinda Gabbe Monash University
Ben Gullquist Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
Ben Rodgers Inner North Community Foundation
Brontë Spiteri Department of Premier and Cabinet
Caley Geary Ambulance Victoria
Carol Kmon Department of Justice and Community Safety
Carolyn Finis Summer Foundation
Chandi Piefke Able Australia
Chrissie Maus Chapel Street Precinct Association
Cilla Haywood Austin Health & Northern Health
Daniela Mazzone City of Stonnington
Emma Jansons 7 Eleven
Fiona Ward City of Melbourne
Geraldine Christou Greater Shepparton City Council
Hayley Conway CARE Australia
Hemant Kokularupan Bendigo Kangan Institute
Jaklin Trajkovski Department of Justice and Community Safety
Jason Plant Western Health
Jessica McGowan Ambulance Victoria
Jo Davies NEC
Joel Dare Fire Rescue Victoria
Jonathan Beavers Eastern Health
Kasper Maat Essential Services Commission
Kate Maheras Victorian Workcover Authority
Kate Noble
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Kristine Gatt Victorian Workcover Authority
Lachlan Crisp Arup
Lara Freidin Federation of Community Legal Centres
Latarnie McDonald ABC
Lauren Bialkower City of Port Phillip
Lucy Duncan Johnson & Johnson
Maree Bennett Barwon Health
Marlon Giuliani City FM
Melanie Oke Sustainability Victoria
Meredith Prain Able Australia
Michael Faneco Baptcare
Michael Smith Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
Michelle McCorkell Energy Safe Victoria
Michelle Pinheiro ANZ
Noosheen Mogadam ASRC
Olivia Rofe Eastern Health
Pamela Warwick Melton City Council
Phillip Doorgachurn Y Safeguarding
Rachael Parker Ocean Mind
Sally Green Monash University
Samuel Webb Fire Rescue Victoria
Sarah Barker Our Community
Scott Gordon Alannah & Madeline Foundation
Sharon Brindley Jala Jala Treats
Sharon Redmond Homes Victoria
Simone Steel Department of Justice and Community Safety
Stephane Shepherd Swinburne University and Afri-Auscare
Tess McCarthy Office of the Public Advocate
Tiffany Quick Transport Accident Commision
Tim Esmonde Court Services Victoria
Wendy Roberts Department of Education and Training

Diverse perspective has always been an integral part of the Williamson experience. As well as their personal experience and knowledge, the 2022 cohort represents a range of different sectors, including:

  • Health and healthcare
  • Not-for-profit and charity
  • Emergency services
  • State and local government
  • Education
  • Infrastructure, engineering and construction
  • Banking, finance and consultancy
  • Technology
  • Self-employed
  • Social services
  • Law and justice
  • Sustainability and environment
  • Retail/social enterprise

*Employer as at time of Williamson 2022 recruitment (November, 2021) Please note that employments may change over time and will not be reflected here.

3 Tips For Leading In An Ongoing Crisis

We recently caught up with Chris Kotur, Leader in Residence for Leadership Victoria, who shares some great tips for leading in this ongoing crisis and how we might reframe the way we engage with these challenging times.


1. Looking after you

It may sound simple but it’s incredibly important. Vicarious trauma is a very real thing, even if you are not directly affected by these challenging times, it’s the long build-up of negative experiences which can take its toll on your resilience.


2. Adapting to the never-ending uncertainty

We are dealing with the raw and honest reality of never returning to ‘normal’. Adapting to that uncertainty is going to be challenging but incredibly important.


3. Make small, easy and observable steps

Due to the scale of change that we are facing, we need to make small, easy, and observable steps. One theme is to continue investing in strategic planning. Hold those plans loosely and increase the frequency of checking in, so that you have the infrastructure in place to adapt rather than enduring and waiting for that return to normality.


Chris is a well known and trusted adviser to chief executives, directors, board members and senior leaders. She is a specialist facilitator for board induction and strategic planning and has many years experience in strengthening community leadership.

The gift that keeps on giving

An LV leadership scholarship is a powerful thing.  

It takes a person with potential and purpose and opens the doors to a whole new level of understanding and capability, as well as a life-long network of others to share it with.  

Through them, it can impact their organisations and communities.   

It also makes the program experience richer for everyone by contributing to the diversity of voices, experiences and points of view in the conversations that are at the heart of LV’s programs. 

“I was aware of myself as a leader, but I was a leader for people who were the same as myself – the same outlook, the same motivation levels. Williamson gives you the skills to lead all people, not just the handpicked people,” says occupational therapist, business owner and Paralympian Dr Lisa Chaffey.  

Engineer turned community development leader Rushda Halith is also ‘doing’ her leadership differently. 

“Williamson gave me the skills to have open discussions, even when it’s not easy. I seek out people with views that challenge me and listen to understand where they are coming from.”   

For professional speaker, resilience coach and competitive golfer Mike Rolls, it was the opportunity to connect with others.  

“When you go through this intense experience, you create a leadership community. People bring this back to any organisation they work for and build capacity for everyone. It’s a multipronged and long-lasting impact.”   

Read more about our inspiring scholarship awardees in our first LV Leadership Scholarships Report 2020/21. 

You can help us to support more lifelong leaders by donating to the LV Scholarship Fund or talk to us about establishing a new scholarship through your company, foundation, alumni group or giving circle.