Skip to Main Content >

News & Updates


LfG 18/19 Opening Residential Blog

Here we were.

Day one of the Opening Residential with the sun streaming across Corio Bay, at the Committee for Geelong's Annual Leadership Breakfast with guest speaker Richard Goyder AO.  Sitting amongst the "who's who" of Geelong, you could feel the anticipation of what might lie ahead for the 2018/19 LfG group. Following breakfast everyone hastily made their way out to Waurn Ponds Estate for the obligatory photo shoot and to officially commence our LfG journey.

Having suitably struck a pose and worked our way through some housekeeping, everyone wrote a letter of congratulations to themselves in regards to their personal and professional development journey ahead for the next two years. It will be very interesting to revisit these in two years when reflecting on what has been achieved. Particularly given the presentations that were to follow over the course of the day and the personal leadership insights that were shared.


The first round of "About Me's" helped bring the group closer together, with members of the group gaining insight into the personal and work lives of some of our colleagues, with reflection on childhood, families and careers. It certainly provoked some thinking and discussion about what people might present when it is their turn to deliver an "About Me".


Dan Simmonds then brought home the final session before lunch with an impassioned presentation about the Committee for Geelong, what it stands for, and their work towards Geelong being recognised as Victoria's second city. The key messages from his presentation was the need for strategic direction and a focus on coupling the identification of issues and opportunities with solutions.


After a quick debrief and re-fuelling over lunch it was straight into some positive psychology with Dr Paige Williams. This key message was simple. As leaders we must celebrate success. Our traditional negativity bias needs to shift from a focus on gaps and weaknesses to 80% positive reinforcement.  We even covered Einstein's theory of fish climbing trees.


The notion of celebrating success was quickly reinforced by Brad Clarke who asked the group to reflect on and share a personal achievement with colleagues. This did not seem to come easy for many, nor did the engineering skills required in the next activity to construct towers out of marshmallows and raw spaghetti. Let's just say success was mixed and the marshmallows were delicious.


The afternoon then concluded with either a session of relaxed nature based therapy or a vigorous group training session to free the mind and release any stress. The nature based therapy with Kit Kline not only covered re-connecting with nature but also the importance of plants in the office to help create mindfulness and wellbeing in the workplace.


The final session of the day, following some cheeky pre-dinner drinks, was business dining etiquette with Ana Retallack. Some would have considered this the highlight of the day, being schooled in such things as the proper way to approach deconstructing and buttering a dinner roll, whilst the improper approach was on full display as people shovelled in whole dinner rolls lathered in lashings of butter. Or the unease with which people approached their entrée of soup, unsure whether to start eating during the presentation and when they did, unsure as to from which direction they should approach their soup with the soup spoon. But everyone managed to make it through dinner without totally disgracing themselves with regard to etiquette. Day one then concluded with a few more cheeky drinks before everyone retired to reflect on an action packed day.


After a well-deserved rest, Day two began with energy and some introspection. With a sense of comradery in the room, the session commenced with taking the time to consider something that made us feel good in the last 30 days, before considering and sharing our own personal values, leadership behaviours and our current roles. Damien O'Malley quickly won over the room with his wit and energy, and guided us through the PRISM and ABC models on the way leaving us with a better understanding of ourselves, our behaviours and preferences, and more cognisant of how we can adapt those behaviours to be more effective in our relationships with others.


Our collective attention was then focussed on a different question: Why? This is a question we seldom ask ourselves (or give myself time to consider) in the cut and thrust of a busy home and professional life. But according to Jem Fuller, and backed by the number of nodding heads in the room, owning and understanding our professional purpose (beyond a salary) and connecting with the purpose of our employers/organisations, can make all the difference. This is something that we will certainly put more thought and focus into in the coming months.


Whilst the day opened with introspection, it closed with insight. Kylie Warne, charismatic and passionate Chair of the Barwon Regional Partnership shared with us the inner workings and focus of the Partnership, and what it means for Geelong. This was followed by a panel discussion and networking function with recent graduates and current members of the 2017/18 program.


Insight appears to be an emerging theme for this program, and we look forward to the insights - both into Geelong and ourselves as leaders - that the program will provide over the coming two years.



Upcoming Events

News & Updates

Activate #5 Session Six

Activate #5 - Session Six

Geelong Advertiser Opinion Piece - Geelong on track with planning for high-speed rail

Geelong on track with planning for high-speed rail

Activate #5 Session Three

Activate #5 Session Three

Current Projects

International Speaker Series: Winning from Second

Geelong provides a global stage

Winning from Second - International research paper

What Geelong Can Learn From International Second Cities


"Opened the doors for our business......"

Nick Stahl, General Manager, Boundary Bend Olives

"Putting local Geelong Businesses in front of key decision makers......"

Andy Mathers, General Manager, K-Rock/Bay FM

"The more united we are in business the more successful the transformation......"

Mathew Burns, Brewery Ambassador, Little Creatures