New collaborative leadership program to lift the lid on black:white relations

26 MARCH 2014

enews_leadingtogether_1.jpgA unique new cross-cultural leadership program that brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people together with non-Indigenous Australians aims to open up new ways for black and white Australians to work together to achieve true equity for First Peoples in this country.

Leading Together, which is now open for applications, will be presented by Social Leadership Australia in partnership with Reconciliation Australia from May this year. 

Leading Together is targeted at bridging the gap that often emerges when Indigenous and other Australians try to work together on complex problems. The challenges will be familiar to Elders and community change agents; businesses rolling out Reconciliation Action Plans or Indigenous employment strategies; government departments and not-for-profits delivering programs that impact Indigenous communities in housing, health or education; lawyers, miners, tourism operators; people working in culture and the environment—anyone working to lead change in the cross-cultural space.  

“We see the difficulties black and white Australia have in talking and leading together as core to our challenge to reconcile, as a country,” said Geoff Aigner, Director of Social Leadership Australia

“We’ve made a lot of progress, but to really advance we need more than money, or policies or projects,” says Geoff Aigner.

“It’s not a lack of motivation, or will, or commitment to change. What we lack is a skill—a skill that is not innate, a skill that isn’t taught, but a skill that is essential to lead change across culture. And the only way to develop this skill is through practice. Leading Together will create an environment in which to do this work,” Geoff Aigner said. 

Leah Armstrong, the CEO of Reconciliation Australia, agrees. “Leading Together is a critical step towards achieving equity in partnerships and collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians,” she said. 

“We believe this program is a game-changer in terms of developing real confidence that both sides are bringing real value to a partnership. In fact we believe Leading Together is more than a leadership program but rather an opportunity to develop true and equitable engagement opportunities; two-way engagement where both sides benefit and both sides learn.” 

Leading Together has been designed for a mix of 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are already working to lead change through cross-cultural initiatives in government, business and the not-for-profit sector. The program will take place over five months and includes four retreats in Sydney, Brisbane and Alice Springs. 

Applications for Leading Together close on 4 April 2014