Williamson Community Leadership program

A program for senior level leaders to transform their leadership, create lasting connections and gain a new set of skills to drive meaningful impact on society's complex issues.

Program Overview

The Williamson Community Leadership Program is a unique, immersive, 10-month long program for experienced leaders.

 For 35 years, the program has brought together a diverse group of leaders from business, government, not-for-profit, academia and philanthropy.

Often described as life-changing, the Williamson Community Leadership Program expands the way leaders see the world and transforms the way they exercise leadership. It pushes them to experiment – continually challenging how and why they lead – while building a trusted, life-long network. Program graduates, or Williamson Fellows, join our Alumni community of almost 7,000 leaders from across sectors, industries, backgrounds, identities and life experiences.

Applications will open Thursday, 6 June 2024.

Transform the way you think about leadership

Purpose-driven leadership is crucial for strengthening organisations and communities, and tackling society’s complex and systemic problems. It is essential for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable world.

Leadership Victoria works with leaders from a diversity of backgrounds, sectors, organisations, identities and experiences, drawing on leadership approaches that equip them to bring meaningful change to the organisations and communities in which they work and volunteer. Our flagship program, the Williamson Community Leadership Program, is the epitome of this philosophy.

Our face-to-face format, complemented by seasoned speakers, field trips and peer-to-peer learning, creates an environment which challenges preconceived notions of leadership and the limitations of leading within formal or authoritative positions. As a result, the program will push you to experiment – continually considering how and why you lead, while building a trusted, life-long network.

Through the Williamson Community Leadership Program you will:

  • Become adept at situational analysis, systems thinking and sense making.
  • Critically examine the challenges and opportunities facing organisations and society.
  • Learn to achieve impact in complex, uncertain and rapidly changing environments, and support your organisation and community to adapt and thrive in today’s world.
  • Build an enduring network with other leaders across sectors, locations, backgrounds and life experience.
  • Zeynep Sertel (WCLP ‘18)
    The journey I have taken with Williamson Leadership Program has increased my skills as a leader to a new level. The opportunities provided to look into different community issues, and have discussions with community leaders with varying expertise, allowed me to understand the needs of my community from different perspectives.
    Zeynep Sertel (WCLP ‘18)
    Principal, Ilim College
  • The Williamson program is a leadership opportunity that will open your eyes to different ways of thinking rather than providing more of the same. Williamson provided me with a better way of engaging with issues and seeing other options and broadening my way of thinking. The program has made me a more effective leader, achieving better outcomes for my clients.
  • Williamson has allowed me to reassess and reframe my leadership journey to ensure that I am able to lead and motivate people in complex and volatile environments. I recognise that I sometimes need to be gentler on myself and step back on the balcony and enjoy the view. I have found a wonderful network of confidantes who will live in my consciousness and help me navigate my ongoing leadership journey.
  • For me, Williamson has highlighted the importance of people and communication in leadership. A common thread through the program was the importance of articulating your vision and understanding other people's motivations in order to bring them along with you. This has led me to be more conscious in how I communicate with others.
  • Hearing from a range of leaders on some of the complex issues we are grappling with in our society has been inspiring. The willingness of the speakers to be so open with what they have learnt, their core beliefs and their leadership journeys, has been extremely thought-provoking and shaped and changed my own leadership style and approach.
  • There are important benefits to my organisation from participating in the Williamson Leadership Program. By Broadening our awareness and perspectives beyond our immediate workplace and comfort zones, we are far more able to challenge ourselves to be stronger leaders, and in doing this, offer far more to our clients and the community.

Who Should Apply?

Participants in the Williamson Community Leadership Program are selected on merit, encompassing both professional and lived experience. The program is designed for leaders who:

  • Have 10+ years leadership experience in the workplace and/or other areas of life.
  • Are seeking a meaningful, transformative experience in their leadership journey.
  • Will bring valuable and diverse professional and life experiences to enrich the peer group.
  • Are curious about how to have more impact in their organisation and the broader community.
  • Have a sense of their ethical self and want to contribute to a better world.
  • Are seeking an experiential learning experience, a practical, activity-based approach.
  • Are willing to be challenged, and able to commit time, effort and an open mind.

Applications are encouraged from leaders with diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities and identities, and from communities that face marginalisation. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available.

Strengthen Your Leadership

From insightful leadership assessments and leadership development tools that help you examine the strengths and limitations of your current worldview, to a diverse range of experiences, dynamic guest speakers, field trips, and experienced group of peers in the room, you will explore:

Adaptive Leadership

Examine your beliefs, values and assumptions about leadership, and identify areas for development, so that you can become a more impactful leader. Hear from seasoned leaders and learn from their experiences.

Collaboration

Collaborate with other leaders with diverse views, experiences and insights to identify and investigate complex, tough social and community issues on which to make progress.

Networks & connection

Understand the value of building strategic personal and professional networks, and forge deep connections with peers from across all sectors.

Community

Explore the social, economic and environmental issues facing the Victorian community. How are these challenges being addressed? Where are the gaps? What can be learnt about leadership from others’ experiences, successes and challenges? How can these leadership insights be applied in your role, organisation and sector?

Values, Ethics & Beliefs

Reflect on your experiences, values and assumptions to understand: the choices you make and the “right thing to do”, influences on yours and others’ attitudes and behaviours and frameworks for common purpose and strategic thinking.

What it Involves

The Williamson Community Leadership Program runs over 10 months, and comprises 23 program days (including four residential immersives), 6 special events, assessment tools, and peer based group activity. It is designed and facilitated by Leadership Victoria’s highly qualified faculty who have deep expertise in creating powerful adult learning experiences. We also provide a Williamson Plus option, which includes additional one:one coaching and assessment tool debriefs.

Program Outcomes

For Participants

  • A deep understanding of adaptive approaches to leadership.
  • The ability and mindset to better navigate complex environments, issues and themes at the heart of organisational and societal challenges.
  • Increased confidence in exercising leadership and mobilising others to create impact and change.
  • A greater sense of purpose and the contribution you can make to your team, organisation, community and beyond.
  • Positive impact in the spaces you work and volunteer, and also with your family, colleagues and community.
  • A new, life-long, personal and professional peer group.

For Employers

Leaders inspired and equipped with:

  • The insights, mindsets and approaches needed to achieve change and productivity in complex and uncertain environments.
  • A new understanding and language re leadership frameworks, behaviours, and activities across your organisation.
  • A broader view, with an understanding of the impact of their organisation in a wider societal context.
  • A collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision-making to make progress on complex challenges facing your organisation.

Representation for your organisation in a cross-sectoral leadership arena, where leaders are making connections and building relationships for impact on complex and systemic issues.

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2025 Williamson Community Leadership Program Pricing

  • NFP or Self-Funded | $19,700 + GST
  • Standard | $22,500 + GST
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2025 Williamson Plus Pricing

Includes the full Williamson Community Leadership Program

Also includes 3 x One:One Coaching sessions and an Additional Assessment Tool Debrief
  • NFP or Self-Funded | $22,700 + GST
  • Standard | $25,500 + GST

Trusted By

Scholarships

Leadership scholarships enable people from under-represented communities and organisations to undertake Leadership Victoria’s programs, developing leadership capability across Victoria’s richly diverse communities. We are pleased to offer a number of scholarships. Click the links to access scholarship criteria:

Leadership Victoria Foundation offers a limited amount of partial scholarships for those who demonstrate a financial need and who meet one of the criteria below:
  • people living with a disability
  • members of Victorian culturally and linguistically diverse community
  • people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • applicants whose personal or work efforts are focus on supporting individuals and communities experiencing disadvantage.
The Eastern Health Foundation Scholarship
Victorian Government Office for Disability Scholarship
Brian M Davis Scholarship for a Child/Youth Sector Leader

How to Apply

Entry for Williamson is competitive, and participants must submit an online application through our website. Applications will open Thursday, 6 June 2024. Some organisations undertake an internal selection process to choose leaders to nominate into the formal selection process. Based on merit (including professional and lived experience), selected applicants will be invited for an interview.

*Is your organisation paying for your Williamson place? If so, they will be invoiced for the bulk of the fee. You will be invoiced for a $2,200 portion of this total fee as your personal contribution to your development experience. NFP rate applies to individuals employed in an organisation registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission.

Program details are correct at time of publishing and are subject to change without notice. Please view our terms and conditions which includes information about our cancellation policy. Please check with your manager or relevant person in your organisation for approval before applying.

Express Interest for 2025 Program