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Women of Colour Australia in partnership with Women’s Business launch first Executive Leadership Program

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leadership program

Women of Colour Australia in partnership with Women’s Business launches Australia’s first Executive Leadership Program, developed by and for Women of Colour.

Supported by the Victorian Government, WoC ELP is a 7-month program designed to build the capability and confidence of Women of Colour leaders to advance in their careers while improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in Australian institutions.

Australian not-for-profit organisation advocating for the advancement of Women of Colour through tailored education programs, community support initiatives, and advocacy work, Women of Colour Australia (WoCA) joins forces with Women’s Business, a First Nations-owned and led business amplifying Women of Colour in Leadership, to launch Australia’s first Executive Leadership Program.

Developed by and for Women of Colour including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is set to be delivered in person and online, over seven months from May to December 2023.

“While the rhetoric for the advancement of women in leadership positions is widespread, there is very little to no support for Women of Colour to break through that concrete ceiling,” said Brenda Gaddi, Founder and Managing Director of WoCA.

Backed by the Victorian Government, Office for Women, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), WoC ELP is specifically designed for Women of Colour, who currently hold or aspire to hold senior leadership roles in their workplaces.

The groundbreaking program, delivered by Women of Colour subject matter experts and thought leaders, offers a culturally and psychologically safe leadership program, including tailored workshops and modules that examine racial and gendered influences, explore adaptive challenges, and help design clear and executable strategies that have the potential to transform people and organisations.

“When Women of Colour participate in existing career development programs, they have to navigate White spaces, have to code switch and they don’t feel culturally and psychologically safe to bring their full, authentic self to the program.”

WoCA and Women’s Business sourced highly-respected subject expert matters and thought leaders, all Women of Colour, to contribute to the design of the program.

Related: Opinion: A ‘landmark’ Women’s Economic Opportunities Review that falls short

Some of the facilitators include Tasneem Chopra OAM, Cross-Cultural Consultant and DEI trainer, Winitha Bonney OAM, global DEI expert, and Abiola Ajetomobi, Founding Director of Leading Impact, an Australian-based Equity & Inclusion consulting agency.

Participants of the program will also have access to small group coaching, executive mentoring, and support to complete a group adaptive challenge project as well as pre and post-program assessments.

“Diverse women are ready to lead, they are capable and ambitious. This program presents a real opportunity for businesses to do more than just talk about supporting diversity and inclusion, it’s an opportunity to show it,” said Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Women.

WoC ELP is designed by Women’s Business Founder, Kat Henaway who is a descendant of the Mer and Mua peoples of the Torres Strait Islands and Director of Women’s Business.

With an extensive experience in contextualising leadership programs for Indigenous, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people Henaway highlighted that their partnership will bring a tried-and-tested approach to Women of Colour leadership programs.

“We understand the importance of having representation of Women of Colour in leadership positions and we want to empower Australian corporations to embrace cultural diversity at all levels of their organisations”, said Kat Henaway.

“Through WoC ELP we create an environment where Women of Colour can be fully invested in a program that is specifically designed and delivered by Women of Colour. We want to help Women of Colour step into their power as changemakers and transformational leaders,” added Gaddi.

WoC ELP is accepting applications throughout February. Women of Colour who hold senior management positions in the private, public and community sectors, with a, demonstrated and genuine commitment to advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and who reside in Victoria, are highly encouraged to apply.

Related: Victorian Government backs Women of Colour Australia to co-design and pilot the first Executive Leadership Program for Women of Colour

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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