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NEWS  |  Careers, Leadership

High Profile Professor Appointed to Lead Social Impact Centre

Monday, 21st December 2009 at 2:57 pm
Staff Reporter
Professor Ian Williamson has been selected from an international field of candidates to head the Asia-Pacific Centre for Leadership for Social Impact, at Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne.

Monday, 21st December 2009
at 2:57 pm
Staff Reporter



High Profile Professor Appointed to Lead Social Impact Centre
Monday, 21st December 2009 at 2:57 pm

 Starting January next year, Professor Williamson will hold the centre’s Helen Macpherson Smith Chair of Leadership for Social Impact. This is the first position of its kind at the University of Melbourne and one of a few only in the world.

Jennifer George, MBS dean says that with Professor Williamson at the helm, the leadership centre will become a focal point for research and leadership teaching that will have impact across the community.

George says this position enables research and leadership education in the third sector that otherwise might not have happened.
The new role is also an appointment to the Centre for Social Impact (CSI)—a business school collaboration of the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Western Australia.  

Professor Peter Shergold, the head of CSI says he’s delighted that Ian is going to join CSI. His interest in doing a comparative study of how to lead organisations that have a mission has the potential to provide significant insights.”

Frances Awcock AM, trustee of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust agrees saying the nature of Ian Williamson’s work and his achievements so far shows he has all the professional and personal characteristics required to break the barriers between the more rigid elements of academia and the less structured form of philanthropy and the community sector.

The centre seeks to be at the forefront of leadership education and social impact policy in Australia, throughout the region and globally. One of its aims is to help Not for Profits initiate or effectively participate in collaborative projects with businesses and governments.

Frances and her fellow trustees, Darvell Hutchinson AM and Keith Smith believe the $1.5 million gift from the Trust to MBS will provide greater access to leadership education and research relevant to the Not for Profit sector.  

Prof Willamson has had a longstanding personal and professional interest in the Not for Profit sector.  His work in recent years with organisations such as the Koorie Business Network has given him insight into the challenges that organizations grapple with in establishing social enterprises and encouraging diversity in employment practices.

Extensive work with the business community provides him with a strong platform to broker and develop cross-sector partnerships and collaborations and as a result of his contributions to the school’s executive education leadership program, he has the expertise to work across sectors with students and faculty to promote and support leadership for social impact.

He joined MBS in July 2006 as associate professor, and has since been active in teaching, researching and consulting on the international stage. He teaches human resources management and organizational behaviour. His research examines how organizations recruit, retain and derive value from human resources.  And he provides consulting services in strategic human resource management, succession planning, employee recruitment and retention, employer branding, executive coaching, executive assessment, and team development for such organizations as ANZ, McCormick & Company, Lockheed Martin, and The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Medical Program.

His work has been published in several leading academic journals including, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, MIT Sloan Management Review and Organization Science.

Prior to joining MBS, Prof Williamson was on the faculty of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where in 2004 he received the Robert H. Smith School of Business Krowe Teaching Award. He did his PhD in Organisational Behaviour at Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina.

The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust is one of Victoria’s leading Philanthropic Trusts and the personal legacy of the late Mrs Helen M Schutt who died in 1951. Since then, the Trust has provided over $70 million in grants to charities in Victoria.


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