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2020 Graduation – Meet Our Newest Alumni


Congratulations to our 2020 participants who graduated on 26 Nov, they now join a growing Alumni of community leaders building capacity across the Great South Coast Region of Victoria.

In a challenging year we achieved a 100% retention and graduation rate which is quiet an accomplishment – we congratulate all our graduates who have developed and gown as adaptive leaders throughout 2020. Introducing our newest Alumni:

  1. Billy Edis, Director, Southcoast Project Management
  2. Catherine Darkin, Advisor, Population Health and Community Wellbeing. Department of Health and Human Services
  3. Jason Van Der Heyden, Maintenance Electrician, Wannon Water
  4. Catherine Fitzgerald, Treasurer, Warrnambool Agricultural Society
    Sponsor – South West Community Foundation
  5. Craig Kelson, Financial Accountant, South West TAFE
  6. Dominic Conheady, Dairy Farmer, Self Employed
    Sponsor – Gardiner Foundation
  7. Joseph Sinnott, Human Resources Advisor, Warrnambool City Council
  8. Joy Coulson, Farm Services Advisor, Saputo Dairy Australia
    Sponsor – Gardiner Foundation
  9. Kara Winderlich, Risk Management Coordinator, Southern Grampians Shire Council
  10. Emily Falla, Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer, South West Healthcare
    Sponsor – Wannon Water
  11. Jerram Wurlod- Operations Manager – Keayang Maar Vineyard, Dixie
    Sponsor – Corangamite Shire
  12. Liam Arnott, Works Supervisor – Construction, Moyne Shire Council 
  13. Mandy Cohen, Area Manager Wimmera South West, MacKillop Family Services
  14. Troy Lovett- Wurreker Broker, Victorian Aboriginal Education Association
    Sponsor – Leadership Great South Coast
  1. Michelle Badenhorst, Owner Suffoir Winery and Brewery, Macarthur
    Sponsor – Women In Agriculture 
  2. Tim McPherson, Management Accountant, Wannon Water


Governance – The role you are meant to be in!


It turns out that if you have determination, passion, and a life-based skillset, you can get into governance and contribute to positive change. That is right, boards and committees are looking for people like you right now! I’m not suggesting that you call your nearest multi-national mining company and tell them to save you a place at the board room table (though this is achievable), but I am suggesting you can have an enormous positive impact on your community by sitting on one of your local committees and/or boards including CWA, kindergarten/schools boards, lions club as a few obvious choices. Here you can work with like-minded people to have your say, working with continued improvement in mind for these organisations and community groups.

You could also get really serious and consider applying for a seat on a government based not-for-profit board such as a hospital or TAFE board, though keep in mind there is generally more experience and accreditation required combined with an application and interview process. Here you can help to facilitate change on a larger scale within your community.

And then, if you happen to love it so much that you want to get reimbursed for your time, paid board positions do exist with larger private enterprises and organisations and generally require formal qualifications like the AICD Company Directors course to be completed along with extensive experience prior to application.

I can tell that you are already excited to make change and to help the community, but there are a few things that you need to bear in mind.

  1. Good governance is not easy, it takes work
  2. Be passionate about your cause
  3. Have an exit strategy before you get involved, and
  4. Governance is an evolving practice

Keeping this advice in mind, the final ingredient that creates high quality governance is diversity, which is why you should apply. You and your story could be what is needed in the board/committee you’re interested in.

Go and apply, make that positive change!

Jason Van Der Heyden, 2020 LGSC Participant


How to help others and get happy in the process!


Volunteers… they are the rock that our community groups and community fabric is built on. When you picture a volunteer you see meals-on-wheels drivers, coaches at the local sporting club or a cake stand at the school fete.

Have you ever considered how much volunteering you have done in your life? You may be quite surprised, as our 2020 LGSC participants were at our recent program day on the benefits of volunteering and the arts.

Numerous studies have proven that volunteering supports positive mental health – it is a great way to engage in your local community and increase your sense of social connection, provides internal satisfaction and can also be a great way to learn new skills that can be transferred into the paid workplace.

But what really speaks volumes is the 1996 study which found that volunteering is the second greatest source of joy, coming in only behind dancing! When all the benefits are considered it is a hard sell not to get involved and become a volunteer.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is may seem that a lot of volunteering opportunities are not currently available, but local organisation Volunteer Connect provides an easy platform to support you to find the right project or organisation where you can lend a hand.

So whilst some may decide that the foxtrot or the fandango may be for them, consider volunteering to not only help someone in need of a hand, but to help yourself towards happiness.

Liam Arnott, 2020 LGSC Participant


Combining Old with New – Our Parliament in Action During the Pandemic


Less than 12 months ago abrupt change was impossible, remote work unpopular. Kicking and screaming, have been forced into embracing change and technology that has long been readily available to us. As Andrew Wear, author of Solved said, “we need to prod and poke the accepted wisdom”. The answers were all there, we just couldn’t see them until we were forced to look for them.

Of course the elected members of the Victorian Parliament are no different. They have also had to find ways of converting homes into offices and classrooms. Numbers allowed in the Legislative Assembly have been reduced to 20 and barriers have been erected. The result, perhaps unintended, has made for a far more courteous question time. Regional members have been allowed to attend virtually. Now, more than ever, we are being forced to change and adapt in the blink of an eye. Many are taking the opportunity to consider permanent changes to the way they work, where they work and even where they live. Should the same considerations be made to the Victorian Parliaments Westminster system and legislation? Does it need to be adapted, modified and made safer for current and future Victorians? Should legislation on Aboriginal Treaty have been passed by now? Is question time still valuable in its current form in the digital age? Should electronic petitions be accepted and given more weight? Should elected members be allowed to vote on bills virtually?

Perhaps parallels can be made with the current challenge of refurbishing the heritage listed Parliament House building. For several years now, the long, complicated task of turning a 164 year old building into one that is safe, practical and future proof has been undertaken. As you walk the corridors (even virtually) the evidence of the struggle between old and new are everywhere. The design of the immaculate dome and it’s stained glass windows are abruptly interrupted by the sight of a smoke detector and wifi antenna. A beautifully tiled stone floor has been cut and demolished to make way for a set of elevators and fire escapes. An 1850’s building is suddenly being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, adapted, modernised and made safe. Shouldn’t this have all happened a long time ago?


Jerram Wurlod, 2020 Program Participant

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