Author: Rita Holt, Regional Leadership Volunteer
I was recently invited by Kat Baddeley CEO - Regional Leadership to attend the Community Leaders – Stepping Out and Up program day on 9 September 2019 so I could meet some of the amazing alumni she’s been talking about. I’ve been volunteering at Regional Leadership, located in Ballarat for a short while now, having recently retired to Ballarat after a long and varied career in Canberra and overseas (see my earlier blog Travel, Values & Leadership on this website).
It was a chilly day in early springtime Melbourne but after some excellent strong coffee, the program commenced with a welcome and overview from Kat Baddeley (CEO Regional Leadership) and our facilitator, Andrew Huffer, who asked us to consider how as regional thought leaders, we can step out (small steps!) and up and think beyond our own backyard to broaden our leadership capacity.
We listened to a great keynote from Alex Tullio, Chief Evolution Officer, who’s direct, unaffected, chatty style and content resonated with many of us, as the lively Q & A session proved. Wasn’t it such a relief to hear from someone who said it as it was, explaining that as leaders, we can’t sustain being chief of everything, that we needed to look after ourselves first, to ensure we didn’t get stuck (frozen) when we didn’t have all the answers. Alex encouraged us to be curious, to be a good listener and to recruit the best and smartest people around you – to have a growth mindset. It’s all about trust and courage!
This was followed by a panel session involving RCLP Alumni Amanda McClaren (FF11), Mandy McCracken (RRCLP17) and Indi Clarke (NML15). Andrew led the session on key challenges, insights and opportunities they had had since completing their program. The panel had very different experiences and we thank them for their candid responses and honesty.
After lunch, some innovative technology allowed us to join our colleagues from GCLP in Canberra who were on a three day program. The interactive session, led by Dr Kim Houghton, Co CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, asked us to consider whether we are ready for regional population growth, discussing two scenarios which could mean more than doubling the regional population in some areas over 40 years. How do we advocate for vibrant thriving regional communities? Some suggestions included Governments, regional and local communities really working together to understand each other’s perspective, investing in soft infrastructure – i.e. beyond roads, ensuring regions are diverse and ‘cool’ and looking at ways of ‘growing our own’ through excellent regional education.
The final workshop led by Andrew and continuing with the Canberra cohort, provided a great opportunity to discuss Wave analysis (involving Dying Practices, Business as Usual, Emerging Trends and New Edges). After some lively group discussion, we focused on coming up with one small, doable idea that we could follow through now – drawing in the theme of the day – small steps – big impact.
The program day was a great way to gather together in person to learn and inspire each other. All the sessions gave us tools, and tactics that we could implement immediately. The day didn’t disappoint.