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WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING 

 

 

It’s very hard to condense 36,000+ years into a day!

 

When was the last time you spent time on Country, learning about first nations peoples and their land? Gunditjmara Country has a rich history and the Gunditjmara people can’t wait to share it!

Throughout the day we heard stories from local Gunditjmara people.  At the Heywood War Memorial Water Tower, which rises from the ground in a splash of colour and as we stood under it, LGSC alumni Troy Lovett, a Gunditjmara and Yorta-Yorta Man, told the story of the 5 Gunditjmara men depicted in the mural. Five men went to war for their country, who hoped to regain their stolen lands, who in the trenches were treated like equals but when they returned, the soldier settlement never came.

Braydon Saunders, a Gunditjmara Man and Tour Guide Coordinator with Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Tourism, took us back in time at Tae Rak (Lake Condah). Back to 2019, when the site was World Heritage listed, to the 1980s when the Gunditjmara people began their quest for native title, back to the 1940s and 50s when a European installed drain changed the landscape and damaged the ecosystem, and finally back to pre-European days when Tae Rak eels was an important food source.

Gunditjmara woman, Erin Rose the Budj Bim World Heritage Executive Officer at Gunditj Mirring, spoke to us about getting the world’s oldest aqua system inscribed as a World Heritage Site, the first in Australia to be listed purely on its cultural significance. A key element of this is the management and enhancement of the site, which is managed in partnership with other local groups and government organisations.

Although it is impossible to fit 36,000 years into a day, our speakers filled the day with stories that educated, humoured and challenged us. This showed me that good story telling is a very powerful leadership skill. Like our first nations peoples, we can use the art of storytelling to motivate, inspire, connect, build understanding, heal and unite.

I encourage you to hear the stories first-hand at the various sites across the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and the new Tae Rak Aquaculture Centre (opening later this year) is a great addition where you learn about the significance of the landscape and experience the most culturally inclusive building I have ever seen—another great example of what community consultation and storytelling can achieve.

Thank you to Troy, Braydon and Erin for your time and your stories—you are our bushfire and we will be your embers—starting spot fires of conversation.

Leesa ClausenBrown, 2022 LGSC Program Participant


 

To Communicate or Not Communicate? That Is the Question

 

Communicate with intention.  It sounds like such a simple concept – or so we might think.  Surely, we all communicate with intention?

Communicating with intention is precisely what the Leadership Great South Coast participants were implored to do by Ailiche Goddard-Clegg during her presentation on ‘Communication and Community Engagement’ at our recent Community Leadership in Action Program Day. Ailiche explained that intentional communication is critical to achieving success with our upcoming community projects, and it is this concept that has prompted self-reflection.

I’d like to think that I communicate with intention – whether it is via email, phone, or in person. However, it doesn’t take too long to recall plenty of occasions when my communication could be described as anything but intentional. In our current world, with the constant enticements of social media to tell your friends ‘what’s on your mind?’ or share your thoughts with the world (but only if it is in 280 characters or less) we realise that intentional communication may be easier said than done. I cringe to think of the Facebook posts I shared in the early days of using the social media platform – from commenting on the excitement of being on holidays, to how great my avocado on toast was on the weekend.  Yes, I wanted to share this information with others, but is this information really worth sharing?

Whilst social media platforms used to communicate with friends and family don’t need or require us to communicate with intention in the way Ailiche describes, it provides a frame of reference for the sort of environment we are currently in – one where we are frequently being encouraged to communicate without intention. Communication for the sake of communication.

How do we ensure that we are communicating with intent? Ailiche reminds us that news needs to be newsworthy. We need to think carefully about what our audience needs to know, and to consider the key elements of who, what, where, when and how? It is these concepts and this advice that will prepare our four project teams to achieve effective communication and likely project success.

Thank you to both our speakers Ailiche Goddard-Clegg and Bernadette Northeast for sharing their knowledge with us at our program day.

Claire Dagley, 2022 LGSC Program Participant


 

Are we there yet – a truly diverse and inclusive workplace?

 

So, we all want to be inclusive leaders, right? How do we combat and mitigate unconscious bias and turn good intentions into meaningful change?

At our Building Inclusive Communities program day on 25 March 2022 Bree Gorman challenged us with the following questions: Do we change the people, or do we change the system? Do we strongly encourage study, programs, and rewards for people so that when opportunities are presented, they are the best candidate for the position? Or do we focus less on merit and the fact that they may ‘hit the ground running’ and ask ourselves if we could gain a lot more by having differing opinions and being challenged to think outside the box?

We were asked to look at ourselves and others in a different way, reflecting on unconscious bias, privilege, following the status quo, and whether our actions may in fact be microaggressions, or excluding others.

Is it any wonder then that diversity and inclusion is a challenge facing many companies and industries as these kinds of conversations begin to emerge? Perhaps in doing so, there may be endless possibilities and advantages relating to the values of innovation, diverse opinions, gender equality, and human rights.

I reflected on Bree’s comments about ‘how things have always been.’ I asked myself; why do I wear ties to interviews? Will I ever wear a tie to the workplace? Or is this a relic of a time where the workplace was dominated by people wearing suits, ties, and blazers?

I guess the answer to ‘are we there yet?’ is no, we are not there yet. We all have a lot of learning and growth ahead of us, but we are progressing forward on the right path.

A huge thank you to all our presenters and the knowledge and thought-provoking discussions and inspiration they have brought to us:

  • Bree Gorman, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
  • Sparklez Hernan, SAFE in the South West, LGBTQIA+ Support and Connection, Brophy Family and Youth Services and Ethan Bloom
  • Kylie Thulborn, Co-Founder – Find Your Voice Choir and choir participants
  • Emily Falla (LGSC Alumni) Manager of Aboriginal Programs, Noongar/Wongi, South West Healthcare

Raymon Barber, 2022 LGSC Program Participant

 

 


 

Demystifying Project Management

 

Project management can seem mysterious, complicated and even at times too difficult to think about, particularly for those who have never done it before.

So when Kevin Bennet from KB Business Solutions, and a master of his craft, started our second program day entitled The Power of Project Management with statements such as “today is going to be full on”, “we’ve got a LOT to get through” and my favourite “I make no apologies for today” I once again thought, this is too difficult to think about.

With that running through my mind our day started, and it was full steam ahead.  We were suddenly immersed into our own simulated 6-month project, it was chaotic.  Phones were ringing, messages were left, demands were being made, we had to think quickly, make decisions, manage resources, deal with personalities, sort through information, manage risk and all the while stick to our deadline, budget and desired outcome or as I now call it the Project Scope Statement—we were project managing.  Thankfully Kevin was there, systematically guiding us through the whole process.

Kevin explained why being organised from the outset creates the most successful outcome for any project. He also showed us how and why using project management tools such as GANTT charts, critical pathways, risk profiles and a responsibility matrix (amongst others) keeps projects organised and moving successfully.  Kevin educated us about the importance of continually reviewing, whether it be the project, the plan or the team and he repeatedly highlighted that communication is a key factor and that we should always “trust the process”.

The day was fun and interactive, there was definitely a lot to get through and yes it was full on. At the end of the day our simulated project was complete and the Project Scope Statement was achieved.  I was (and I say this with a little trepidation because I still wouldn’t say project management is easy) pleasantly surprised.  I’m excited that I now know exactly what project management is, I have the tools and know how to do it successfully and I’m no longer mystified about the whole process, in fact I may even be looking forward to project managing for real in the coming months.

Thank you to Kevin Bennett, KB Business Solutions for a great day.

Kaye McDowall, 2022 LGSC Program Participant


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