Close this search box.
News Charities Policy Leadership

Centre for Social Impact unveils first participants for capacity-building, leadership program

3 min read
Centre for Social Impact program

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has officially announced the first of five Social Impact Leadership Australia (SILA) program cohorts – a group of 24 leaders and organisations participating 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. 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 by the Centre for Social Impact 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.

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,” Wheatley said.

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,” Dakin said.

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.”

SILA Cohort 2021/22 NSW/ACT Participants  
  Melissa Abu-Gazaleh     Top Blokes Foundation  
  Kathi Boorman     One Door Mental Health  
  Nick Chapman     Policy Cure Research  
  Janet Cousens     Act for Peace Ltd  
  Frances Crimmins     YWCA Canberra  
  Penny Dakin     Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARCY) 
  Annabelle Daniel     Women’s Community Shelters  
  Jodie Darge     Project Youth  
  Rory Gallagher     The Behavioural Insights Team  
  Cassandra Goldie     Australian Council of Social Service  
  Michele Goldman     Asthma Australia  
  Michelle Higelin     ActionAid Australia  
  David Keegan     HOST International  
  Alice Lans     Noah’s Inclusion Services  
  Jordan O’Reilly     Hireup  
  Melinda Phillips     BackTrack Youth Works  
  Suzie Riddell     Social Ventures Australia  
  Liz Ritchie     Regional Australia Institute  
  Antonia Ruffell     Australian Philanthropic Services  
  Frances Rush     Asylum Seekers Centre  
  Fiona Strang     HealthWISE  
  Leanne Townsend     NASCA  
  Jarrod Wheatley     Professional Individualised Care  
  Jess Wilson     Good Things Foundation Australia  
+ posts

Paulo Rizal is a content producer for Third Sector news. He has working experience in journalism, SEO, and social media marketing.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Stories

Next Up