Each year, a selection of the Goulburn Murray region’s most promising leaders become Fellows of Fairley Leadership (Goulburn Murray Community Leadership). They participate in an intensive ten-month program to study key challenges facing the Goulburn Murray region.
The Fairley Leadership Program offers an unparalleled opportunity for in-depth learning about complex regional issues, and the partnerships and leadership skills needed to address them. Fairley Graduates (Fairley Fellows) make lifelong connections with diverse leaders – connections that help them advance professionally and in community leadership roles.
Over the 11 months of the annual program, participants attend a launch and graduation, two weekend retreats, 15 seminar days, several dinners and study tours to Canberra and Melbourne.
Participants are exposed to more than 150 leaders from all sectors including politics, business, industry, sport, not for profit and community. In doing so, they explore issues and opportunities for the region and consider leadership styles and attributes ethics and values.
The seminars are theme-based and include topics such as health, education, water, regional development, indigenous issues, small towns, the arts and agriculture. Program activities include field trips, case studies, panel discussions and presentations. Participants are also given some training in competencies such as board governance, public speaking, and media skills.
he program primarily covers the Shires of Campaspe, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, the Rural City of Benalla and Greater Shepparton but has accepted participants from Kerang, Wangaratta, Deniliquin, Tocumwal, Berrigan and Finley.
Participants are selected according to a comprehensive list of criteria including a demonstrated capacity for leadership, broad ranging interests and the potential to sustain positions of substantial responsibility in the community. Candidates should:
✓ Hold a decision-making role in employment or extensive community experience
✓ Have more than five years work or community experience with a still developing career
✓ Demonstrate a strong interest in community affairs and a commitment to the community
✓ Be ready to accept the time commitment and challenges of the program year and ongoing community involvement
People from rural and isolated communities, disadvantaged backgrounds and Aboriginal and ethnically diverse communities are actively encouraged to apply.
An independent evaluation of Fairley Leadership found that Fairley Fellows were:
- Nearly three times more likely than the average adult Australian to do volunteer work for community groups and organisations, and put in twice as many hours;
- Much more likely than the typical Australian volunteer to be involved in public speaking, lobbying, influencing and public relations on behalf of community groups; and
- More likely to have an increased understanding of the region and passion for community, combined with confidence and skills to lead, preparing them ‘to step up to the next level’.
Employers in the region support Fairley Leadership because they also notice that their staff come back:
- With ‘a much better understanding of how the groups they’re (professionally) involved with work and how they fit in to the wider community’;
- A ‘well-rounded person’ who is better placed to deal with the diverse demands of customers and stakeholders; and
- ‘With the confidence to step forward into areas where they’ve not worked before’.
The evaluation concluded that ‘Fairley Fellows have made a substantial contribution to the growth and maintenance of the very fabric of the Goulburn Murray community’.
Source: The Achievements of Fairley Leadership by Medistat (Melbourne), August 2007