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Diversity in the board room


At our Leadership Great South Coast program day “Governance in Community”, we heard about the importance of boards being more adaptive, responsive and diverse to ensure strong community representation.

Morgana Ryan, Facilitator, Author and Business Leader and Karen Foster, Moyne Shire Councillor and Chair of Leadership Great South Coast, spoke about governance structures in our community. We heard about the important role boards play in the strategic direction of organisations.

The discussion throughout the day raised some interesting questions including are our current board members representative of the community?

Ad hoc evidence suggests most board members in our community are men in their late forties or older.

The challenge for our current boards is to consider diversity.  How can boards attract younger community members to participate more? How can we encourage additional First Nations people to participate on boards? Females make up half our community, what can we do to promote females as board members? We also need to consider ways to incorporate representation from minority groups such as LGBTQIA+, migrant and disability communities.

With diversity comes broad perspectives and opinion, which can lead to healthy debate and improved decision making.

As a community, what are some proactive steps we can take to change the makeup of our boards?

Our speakers revealed the appetite of boards to be more diverse. They spoke about the “Observership Program”, which facilitates the involvement of young, talented, and energetic individuals in a structured experience on non-profit Boards. In this instance, an ‘Observer’ (a non-voting member) is paired with an organisation for a 12-month period, where they can observe the board, its processes and structures. By exposing young people to boards, it is hoped they will apply to be a voting board member at the end of their tenure.

Board selection base on quota is another option. In this method the specific percentage of board members are selected based on their gender, age or community.

It also comes down to the individual. If you are passionate about an area of a board and you can add your values and diversity to the board and its community, please do not hesitate to apply.

Thank you to all our speakers, Morgana Ryan, Karen Foster and David Sprigg from Infoxchange for their flexibility and quick response to our changing circumstances

For more information about joining the boards you can use the below links

Matine Tondkar, 2022 LGSC Participant


It works! I want to! I can! – “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”


At our Leadership Great South Coast program day “Understanding our Place in Climate Mitigation and Adaption” our speakers Mark Wootton and Eve Kantor from Jigsaw Farms, Graeme Anderson from Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and Jason Thomas, LGSC Alumni encouraged us to explore how to live more sustainably and as community leaders challenge the status quo on carbon neutrality. As noted by Graeme, “We need to build communities that we want to work and live in and make decisions today that leave us better off in the future.”

Sounds simple, but is it?

It should be – we should be able to waste less, buy less, recycle, reuse, refit and regenerate, although how does this fit with Australian consumerism?

Consumerism is the theory that individuals who consume goods and services in large quantities will be better off. Some economists believe consumer spending stimulates production and economic growth. Our speakers discussed how consumerism is destroying our environment. As the demand for goods increases, the need to produce these goods also increases. This leads to more pollutant emissions, increased land-use and deforestation, and accelerated climate change. Rather than thinking bigger is better or that you must spend money to make money – why not focus on making your little patch the best it can be?

The cheap t-shirts that you need to replace every 6 months compared to the expensive merino wool ones that will last you for 10 years – what is the better option?

As community leaders we can make small steps to influence how we spend our money – which effects supply and demand – as well as spread awareness and educate how the actions of every individual impacts our environment. Our goal should be to make small changes today so in the future we can help others to make small changes. Theory states we all change our behaviour when ‘it works’ (proven difference), ‘I want to’ (better off) and ‘I can’ (easy and nothing is holding me back). “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Thank you to our hosts Mark Wootton and Eve Kantor from Jigsaw Farms for welcoming us to your farm and sharing your journey with Leadership Great South Coast for the past 11 years and allowing us to plant 601 trees to reduce a little bit of our carbon footprint; Graeme Anderson for sharing your passion and knowledge and the self-confessed lazy gardener with a spreadsheet Jason Thomas for inviting us to your home and encouraging us to live more sustainably by making small gradual changes.

Anna Sanderson 2022 LGSC Participant


Promoting Healthy Communities through Self-Care


The feeling of constant stress is often common in our endlessly busy lives.  We are already beyond capacity looking after our teams, our families, emotionally supporting the people around us that we barely have time to focus on our own wellbeing. The Healthy People – Healthy Communities Program Day allowed us to reflect on the importance of mindfulness and self-care and how it helps to promote healthy communities.

When we talk of self-care, there are many misconceptions that come to mind and one of such include taking long meditations, sitting crossed legged with one hand on the stomach and the other on the chest focusing on our breathing and following calm chants. Self-care comes in many forms. While meditations have proven to have many benefits and is one of the ways we can self-regulate and reduce stress, self-care is the little actions that we take consciously and consistently that lead us to happier and healthier lives.

Dr Jodie Fleming helped us to understand the psychology of wellbeing through the lens of the Happiness Pie. The pie is a 50/10/40 pie chart that reveals the factors that determines happiness.

The first piece is attributed to our Genetic Circumstances (50% of the pie). It is known as the set point, and it explains why some people are happier than others.

The second piece lies in our Life Circumstances (10% of the pie). These are all the situational events that happen around us. Our social and economic situations or the adversities we face. It is surprising to know that the job satisfaction that we achieve, the wealth we own or the misery we experience only attributes to about ten percent of our happiness.

The final piece of the pie is attributed to our Intentional Activities (40% of the pie). This refers to the conscious decisions we make, and activities we undertake to improve our happiness. This may include practicing daily meditations to improve emotional regulation, journaling to promote self-awareness, reaching out to someone to increase social connectedness, spending some time in nature, going for a jog or mindful walk in the garden or blocking some time to do NOTHING. The important thing here is trying to harness the 40% in the happiness pie through self-care.

As leaders, our actions set the standard for our people. Once we have determined the intentional actions that will improve our happiness, it is important to make it a consistent experiment and share it with others. If we are open about our investment into self-care, we will promote a healthy community around us, and our people will follow our lead.

A special thank you to our speakers Lisa McLeod – Populus Data, Rebecca Callahan – Barwon Southwest Homelessness Network, Emma Mahony – Women’s Health and Wellbeing, Michael Struth – Western Victoria Primary Mental Health Network, and Dr Jodie Fleming – The Psychology of it, who helped us to understand the data behind our community wellbeing and the local initiatives that promote the wellbeing of this great region.

Jennifer Thomas, 2022 LGSC Participant.


Industry demonstrates the importance of community collaboration


The importance of industry collaborating with community via community consultation and engagement was highlighted throughout our most recent Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC) program day, ‘Taking an Industry Perspective’. The benefits and challenges of industry within small communities was also examined.

The small South West Victorian town of Portland is a vibrant town with a population of 10,000 people. LGSC’s program day enabled participants to take a closer look at Industry in the Portland township.

Portland houses both the Port of Portland and Portland Aluminium, which directly employ 700 people between them.  Portland is also the home of other industries including fishing, forestry, freight, transport, food and hospitality.

Two of our guest speakers, Shannon Curran from Port of Portland and Mark Riley from Portland Aluminium both demonstrated genuine care and concern for their employees. They highlighted the importance of developing trust through careful community consultation and engagement, including honest and clear communication, particularly for big industries operating within small communities. Community collaboration also provides an opportunity to gain broader perspectives and ideas from the community resulting in increased innovation.

Both of Portland’s major industries are very visible when driving through Portland.  Industry representatives discussed that it is important to be visible and transparent within the local community.  Both stated that they welcome questions from the community and answer these questions honestly. They offer regular open days so that community can visit.  The community are also kept engaged and updated via social media posts.

Big industry plays an important role in the community, employing locals and providing some financial support to community groups.  However, there are some risks to industry in smaller communities which need to be carefully monitored and involving the community in consultation processes helps to keep the industry honest and accountable.

A special thank you to all the wonderful guest speakers who presented at this program day including, Mark Riley from Portland Aluminium, Loren Tuck from Deakin Hycel project, Shannon Curran from Port of Portland and Luke Thorpe from Yumbah Aquaculture. All our guest speakers talked about how much they valued their workplaces, fellow employees and the communities in which they live.

Sarah Irving, 2022 LGSC Participant

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