Whether in business, government or not for profit organisations, our leadership styles are reflective of the values we hold. Community leadership requires collaboration which means self-interest takes a back seat and we step up as individuals and look to the greater good. As social researcher and author of ‘The Good Life’, Hugh Mackay AO says “leadership is the ultimate form of service to an organisation, community or society”.

Geelong has a strong history of community leadership which includes the decision almost 20 years ago to form the Committee for Geelong.

As an independent, membership organisation the Committee for Geelong has dedicated itself to community leadership and nurturing and supporting leaders.

As an example, the Leaders for Geelong program (partly funded by Regional Development Victoria) is now in its fifteenth year and has seen more than 350 people from a range of organisations graduate. These graduates are now part of the fabric of Geelong’s leadership community with Alumni including the Mayor of the City of Greater Geelong Cr Stephanie Asher and the CEO of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce Ben Flynn. 

The Committee for Geelong itself demonstrates leadership through advocacy for initiatives that help collaboratively design Geelong’s best future. We provide a voice on issues and long term strategic thinking outside of election cycles. 

At the Committee for Geelong’s AGM late last year the members endorsed a new Chair and a new Strategy & Policy Committee. Our Board and Committees include a range of members who have actively decided to volunteer and make a contribution to the work of the Committee for Geelong.

The Committee for Geelong also has a Leadership Award which recognises exemplary leadership and significant contributions made in the Geelong region. Previous recipients of the Award are Frank Costa AO, Michael Dowling AM, Barry Fagg, Michael Martinez, Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Father Kevin Dillon AM, Pat Murnane and Michael Betts. At our AGM last year, Brian Cook, the CEO of the Geelong Football Club and Chair of Barwon Health was endorsed as the 2019 recipient.

Brian is a values-driven leader. After decades of experience as CEO, Brian’s commitment to our community has been demonstrated through youth-focused initiatives, as an advocate for progress and growth in our region, and leveraging significant partnerships with and for the community.  One of the reasons the Leaders for Geelong program is so unique is because of the generous goodwill of Geelong’s leaders who recognise that community leadership must fundamentally be informed and engage at the grassroots level.

As CEO of the Committee for Geelong, I understand that achieving our strategic objectives requires strong, respectful relationships and is not achieved single-handedly but alongside business, government and community. Connecting and working with those who are committed to collectively stimulating economic and social prosperity is key to Geelong’s future.

On February 19, our Annual Leadership Breakfast will be held at GMHBA Stadium with a keynote from our Leadership Award recipient, Brian Cook. Tickets are available via www.committeeforgeelong.com.au

Jennifer Cromarty, CEO Committee for Geelong