Seminar Reflection: Day 1 Leaders for Geelong Residential 2020/2021

The first day of the Geelong Residential was challenging and thought provoking, we had preconceived ideas challenged and learnt useful tools to take back to our workplaces and individual spheres of influence.

During the first half of the day, we heard from Dr. Paige Williams about Leadership Frameworks and Leading in Volatile Times. One of the key topics that was discussed was how to move away from a negative bias, which can prevent us from taking on challenges and progressing in our career. We learnt to instead focus on the positive and to encourage intelligent risk to build capability and capacity both personally and within our teams and organisations. Paige provided us with practical methodologies such as the learning loop to help implement strength-based performance management through an Act, Assess and Adjust framework.

Jennifer Cromarty, the CEO of the Committee for Geelong, talked to us about her leadership learnings. The themes she discussed tied into the morning session, for example, using collective wisdom. Some of the ways that Jennifer demonstrated this was by encouraging her employees to lean into their leadership.  She also talked extensively about her experience collaboratively working with different councils and stakeholders to build support for initiatives, which improves the likelihood of success. 

There was a panel discussion on Geelong’s Clever and Creative Vision. The panel included Dr Simone Boer, the manager of strategy and program delivery for the City of Greater Geelong, Kerri Erler, the Economic Development Manager at Regional Development Victoria, and Ben Flynn, CEO of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce. Discussion points included the difficulty of getting alignment between different stakeholders whether that be in policy objectives if applying for grants or in Geelong’s Clever and Creative Vision and the importance of developing collective ownership for the Vision to achieve effective buy-in from diverse stakeholders.  It was an eye opening and informative session and while each of the panelists were representing differing stakeholder viewpoints their passion for the Geelong community was evident and inspiring.

We also heard from Cr Stephanie Asher, Mayor of City of Greater Geelong. She talked about her time in the leadership program and her journey to becoming Mayor. Stephanie provided many examples of resilience and commitment during her election campaigns in the face of an uneven playing field.  She showed us how she could tackle the infinite game by her perseverance, her drive, and how she was able to navigate obstacles.  

Stephanie Backman, 2020/21 Leaders for Geelong Participant