Media Release: Innovative leadership program now open to for-purpose CEOs in Victoria and Tasmania

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Applications for the second cohort of the five-year Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) Program have launched today, with the aim of bringing together for-purpose leaders from Victoria and Tasmania over 10-months for a comprehensive and dedicated leadership and capacity-building program, starting in July 2022.

SILA is a $9.6 million collaboration between four of Australia’s major foundations: The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

Over five years, SILA will be offered to for-purpose leaders from all states and territories in Australia. Participants in the current Cohort One (2021) are based in NSW and the ACT and applications are now open for Cohort Two, for CEOs based in Victoria and Tasmania.

The evidence-based and fully-funded program, delivered by the Centre for Social Impact, is specifically designed to meet the needs of Australian for-purpose CEOs to help build the capacity of their organisations through leadership development, organisational capacity building and tailored executive coaching.

SILA aims to disrupt common ideas of leadership to create greater social impact across Australia.

Over 10-months, 24 selected leaders within each cohort participate in a series of immersive learning experiences, a sabbatical, one-on-one coaching and dedicated capacity-building support for their for-purpose organisatons.

Applications for Cohort Two are now open to social purpose CEOs from Victoria and Tasmania, who meet the eligibility criteria.

Funding of the program allows for participants to apply from across both states, including from regional and rural areas, with travel and associated costs covered.

Leonard Vary, CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, said that the idea for SILA stemmed from a collective desire among the funders to address underinvestment in capacity building across the sector, to support for-purpose leaders through building their leadership skills, positively influencing their organisations, and creating a strategic network of like-minded leaders across the country.

“Beyond the professional development and the network we are creating through this program, SILA is a powerful way to influence and develop the entire sector across Australia, and importantly ensure that our leaders are ready to lead for greater social impact.

“We’re excited to see the next cohort get underway as we expand the program throughout Victoria and Tasmania.”

Cohort One participant, Penny Dakin, CEO of the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY), based in Canberra, said that there is a lot of competition in the for-purpose sector for funds, skilled staff and opportunities, and praised the SILA program for disrupting that approach.

“The premise of SILA is that we’re much more powerful as a sector when we’re united and driven by what’s common between us, with shared skills and language. It’s about making us stronger,” Ms Dakin said.

A core feature of SILA is the fully-funded sabbatical which enables participants time to reflect and apply learnings from the program while their organisation receives capacity funding and executive support through an identified ‘Step-up Leader’.

CEO of Top Blokes Foundation and Cohort One participant, Melissa Abu Gazaleh, said that the sabbatical gave her the space to reflect on her learning and development, personal wellbeing and a strategic project.

“I was equally excited about giving the Top Blokes team an opportunity to grow and lead by the experience as well,” Ms Abu Gazaleh said.

Applications for Cohort Two close on 15 April. An online information session will be held on 9 March from 3:30pm AEDT.