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Media Release: Second cohort of Vic and Tas for-purpose CEOs selected for innovative leadership program

Monday, 25 July 2022

Twenty-four not-for-profit leaders have been announced today as participants in the second cohort of the Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) Program – a five-year $9.6 million capacity building and leadership program funded by four of Australia’s major philanthropic foundations.

Built from a collective desire to support NFP leaders to positively influence their organisations and create a strategic network of more than 100 social impact leaders across the country, The Myer Foundation, Sidney Myer Fund, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Paul Ramsay Foundation came together in 2020 to fund the SILA Program, which is being delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).

Cohort Two participants – made up of CEOs from Victoria and Tasmania within the climate, arts, agriculture, health and community services sectors – will experience a series of immersive learning experiences, one-on-one coaching, dedicated capacity-building support, and a fully funded three-month sabbatical over the 10-month program.

Arminé Nalbandian, CEO of CSI, said the SILA Program aims to strengthen the entire for-purpose sector through its innovative and immersive approach – an Australian-first and fully funded offering.

“SILA is a groundbreaking program that recognises the importance of investing in for-purpose leaders. Corporate leaders have long had opportunities for intensive professional support and SILA is a way for us to provide those same opportunities to for-purpose leaders,” she said.

“As Australia’s leader in social impact education we’re proud to be delivering this flagship for-purpose executive leadership program.”

Leonard Vary, CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, doubled-down on the importance of SILA to prop up the underinvestment in tailored executive professional development within the for-purpose sector.

“The for-purpose sector is crucial to communities all across the country and we must continue to drive best-practice leadership. We are proud to be supporting this second cohort of experienced leaders who are working to find solutions for climate action, community arts, family violence, and more,” he said.

“We know from Cohort One and the CEOs who have already experienced the program, that SILA will strengthen this new cohort’s professional networks and equip them with the latest leadership skills to manage complex organisational change and collaboration beyond completion of the program.”

On being selected as a SILA Cohort Two participant, Bill Mithen, CEO of the Give Where You Live Foundation in Geelong, Victoria celebrated the program for its disruptive and evidence-based approach to developing leadership capability.

“I think we all inherently know that we’re at our best and most creative as leaders when we stop to consider all the angles and possibilities, but too often the daily imperatives don’t allow that. Getting the time to slow down, think and imagine is an exciting prospect which can only lead to greater impact.

“Leadership in smaller organisations often rests with the CEO and SILA provides a rare opportunity for us to take a breath and develop a more diverse breadth of leadership capability.”

As part of SILA, participants will complete a tailored sabbatical enabling time to reflect and apply learnings from the program while their organisation receives capacity funding and executive support through an identified ‘Step-up Leader’.

Jo Flanagan, CEO of Women’s Health Tasmania and another Cohort Two participant, is looking forward to building her own capacity, but also her Deputy CEO’s:

“SILA is more than just a leadership program. It has an emphasis on organisational capability as well as individual leadership and is an amazing opportunity to develop my own skills and knowledge, and those of our Deputy CEO, who will be our SILA step-up leader. I’m hoping it will really help my organisation position itself strategically for the next 10 years.”

The SILA Program’s Cohort Two participants include:

NameOrganisation
Adrienne PiconeTasCOSS
Aileen AshfordKids First Australia
Alison LaiAlcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania
Andrea GoddardStars Foundation
Andrew DaviesB Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
Bill MithenGive Where You Live Foundation
Charlotte JonesMental Health Legal Centre
Chris PoveyJustice Connect
Daniel SantangeliFootscray Community Arts
Donna deZwartFitted for Work
Elisa BuggyWestern Region Centre Against Sexual Assault Inc (WestCASA)
Fiona DavisFarmers for Climate Action
Jaison HoernelGood Cycles Inc
James HattamTasmanian Land Conservancy
Jane HuntThe Front Project
Jo FlanaganWomen’s Health Tasmania
Kirsty AlbionCentre for Australian Progress
Melodie Potts RosevearTeach for Australia
Michael KellyRelationships Australia Tasmania
Natalie EgletonFoundation for Regional & Rural Renewal (FRRR)
Sam La RoccaThe Sunrise Project 
Sarah NealMalthouse Theatre
Simon RuthThorne Harbour Health (Victorian AIDS Council Inc)
Tania FarhaSafe and Equal

Participants in Cohort One (2021) were selected from NSW and the ACT, with SILA being offered to for-purpose leaders from all states and territories in Australia in a staggered roll-out. Nominations for the third intake will open in late 2023.

For interview requests, images or further media enquiries please contact:

Jasmine Turvey
Account Director
Reverb Media
E: jasmine@reverb-media.com.au
M: +61 437 762 320

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Media Release: CSI announce the first cohort of leaders selected to drive and amplify positive social change

Monday, 11 July 2021

Today, the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) officially announces the first of five Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) program cohorts – a diverse group of 24 leaders and organisations who will participate in a series of immersive and dedicated training and support opportunities over ten months.

The #SILA24 will focus on driving positive change for society through individual and organisational capacity building.

In 2020, CSI announced the SILA program, a five-year national capacity-building and leadership program for the Australian for-purpose sector.

Built from a collective desire to support for-purpose leaders to positively influence their organisations and the sector, four major Australian foundations – The Myer Foundation, the Sidney Myer Fund, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Paul Ramsay Foundation – have come together to fund the $9.6 million SILA program over five-years.

SILA is an evidence-based program specifically developed to meet the needs of Australian for-purpose CEOs and build the capacity of their organisations directly and indirectly. Crucially, SILA builds leadership cultures and capacity within the wider ecosystem of for-purpose organisations, as well as within individual leaders.

SILA’s first cohort of 24 leaders is drawn from NSW and the ACT (listed below). The cohort will participate in a series of immersive learning experiences, a tailored sabbatical – a unique offering in Australia – one-on-one coaching and dedicated organisational capacity building support. Crucially, the leaders will connect and learn from each other, creating a strategic network on which to build and amplify their social impact.

In 2022 SILA will be offered to for-purpose CEOs in Victoria and Tasmania. In following years SILA will be offered to for-purpose leaders and organisations across the breadth of the country.

SILA aims to improve economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes for individuals, each participant’s organisation and the broader for-purpose sector within Australia. It will be delivered by leading academics and practitioners, in a range of nurturing and conducive environments.

The first cohort has been selected through a rigorous and competitive process, with a focus on diversity and representation from both metropolitan and rural and regional areas in NSW and the ACT.

The selection committee comprised Jenny Wheatley, CEO of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, Robbie Macpherson, SILA Program Director, and Sarah Davies, CEO of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

Mrs Wheatley expressed her excitement at the calibre of the first SILA cohort saying the interview panel was required to make tough decisions to settle on the 24 participants from many strong applications:

“The cohort consists of experienced leaders with strong track records and great potential, not just for future leadership of themselves and their organisation, but for the sector and system more widely. SILA offers an opportunity for leaders to build a strong professional network that will support them well past the completion of the program, and this aspect is particularly important for those participants who work in rural and regional areas.

“The application process confirmed the need for targeted professional development opportunities for the really good people doing really good work in the sector. I am confident the return on investment for the four funding foundations will be high.”

Successful candidate, Penny Dakin, CEO of the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth, said she was excited by the potential of the program after being selected in the first cohort:

“The benefits to the for-purpose sector are enormous. For the first time in Australia a broad cohort of the for-purpose sector will have access to the highest quality professional leadership development as a group. It will strengthen relationships and collaboration, provide common language and common frames, help address silos and ensure that we’re all thinking with an ecosystems lens. This will enable us to adapt how we lead to embed these same things in the organisations we come from.”

Fellow participant, Melinda Phillips, CEO of BackTrack Youth Works, agrees: “I was particularly impressed that this program recognises the challenges CEOs traditionally face and allows leaders to continue learning, manage their personal wellbeing and collaborate with a network of social leaders to activate change and impact across the sector.”

A full list of the first SILA24 cohort can be found below.

SILA Cohort 2021/22 NSW/ACT Participants
Melissa Abu-GazalehTop Blokes Foundation
Kathi BoormanOne Door Mental Health
Nick ChapmanPolicy Cures Research
Janet CousensAct for Peace Ltd
Frances CrimminsYWCA Canberra
Penny DakinAustralian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY)
Annabelle DanielWomen’s Community Shelters
Jodie DargeProject Youth
Rory GallagherThe Behavioural Insights Team
Cassandra GoldieAustralian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Michele GoldmanAsthma Australia
Michelle HigelinActionAid Australia
David KeeganHOST International
Alice LansNoah’s Inclusion Services
Jordan O’ReillyHireup
Melinda PhillipsBackTrack Youth Works
Suzie RiddellSocial Ventures Australia (SVA)
Liz RitchieRegional Australia Institute
Antonia RuffellAustralian Philanthropic Services
Frances RushAsylum Seekers Centre
Fiona StrangHealthWISE
Leanne TownsendNational Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA)
Jarrod WheatleyProfessional Individualised Care
Jess WilsonGood Things Foundation Australia
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Media Release: SILA Launch

Friday, February 5, 2021

Sydney, Australia: Four major Australian foundations have announced they will be collaborating to create a national capacity-building and leadership program for current leaders in Australian for-purpose organisations.

The Social Impact Leadership Australia program is a five-year, $9 million program, and will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).

The Myer Foundation, the Sidney Myer Fund, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the Paul Ramsay Foundation have collaborated to fund Social Impact Leadership Australia and in doing so unlock leadership potential to improve the wellbeing of Australians.

The program was created by a collective desire to support not-for-profit and for-purpose leaders to enhance their capacity, positively influence their organisations, and create a strategic network of like-minded leaders across the country.

Leonard Vary, CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund, said that the idea stemmed from the recognition of a damaging and persistent lack of investment in the leadership of the for-purpose sector in Australia.

“We’re inspired by the success of programs in the United States, supported by foundations which see the value of investment in building the capacity of for-purpose leaders.” Mr Vary said.

“Beyond mere professional development, Social Impact Leadership Australia is a powerful way to influence whole organisations, while ensuring the next tier of leaders is ready to take the reins and lead for social impact.”

Jo Taylor, Chief Capability Officer of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said the investment in Social Impact Leadership Australia is a reflection of the Foundation’s long-term commitment to breaking cycles of disadvantage.

“The exacerbation of disadvantage we have seen in the wake of a cluster of once-in-a-generation disasters – the bushfire, drought and COVID-19 pandemic – have strengthened our collective resolve to build more effective offramps from the cycles that trap people in poverty.

“To break complex cycles of disadvantage, we have to enhance the capability of the for-purpose sector which plays an increasingly central role in developing new approaches and delivering support to those who need it most,” said Ms Taylor.

One third of participants for the program will be drawn from rural and regional areas, a focus that Jenny Wheatley, CEO of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation said was “exciting and important”.

“It is critical that we develop a truly national program. By broadening our reach in this way, we are ensuring we will be available to a diverse group of leaders and organisations from across Australia.” Ms Wheatley added.

The program will be delivered by the Centre for Social Impact, a leader in social impact education. Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of CSI described the program as “visionary” and applauded the collaboration.

“We know that people are an organisation’s most important asset, and we know that there is persistent underinvestment in the professional development of for-purpose leaders.” Professor Muir said.

“This program helps change that. We’re incredibly honoured that CSI has been selected to create and deliver this ground-breaking program and can’t wait to work with the first cohort of leaders.”

The cutting-edge program design is based on international best practice and covers leadership of the self, the organisation, and the system. SILA includes a series of immersive learning experiences, a tailored sabbatical, one-on-one coaching, and dedicated organisational capacity building support. The curriculum is delivered during three retreats by a faculty of leading academics and practitioners.