Big Goals for Indigenous Leadership
22 July 2014 at 10:13 am
Since winning a Westpac Community Leaders Award, Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre Chief Executive Officer Rachelle Towart has firmly fixed her sights on the organisation reaching its goal of enrolling 1000 Indigenous leadership students by 2020.
Towart won the inaugural Westpac Community Leaders Award in 2013, in the Established Not for Profit Executive category.
In the seven months since the win, Towart says the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) has restructured to set the organisation up for a decade of growth.
“The Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) has done some great things since it was founded as a Not for Profit Indigenous education provider in 2001, but we remain the only national provider of accredited Indigenous leadership courses and there is a huge unmet need for leadership training,” Towart says.
“We need to be enrolling 1000 students by 2020 and if we can do that for five years, we will have reached one per cent of the Indigenous population.
“One per cent is not many, but if we can achieve that goal, we have a chance of building a sustainable leadership group that can support each other for the future.”
As part of its plan for growth, Towart says AILC launched its first accredited Indigenous governance program in Darwin.
“Get set to welcome the AILC in other states around Australia – we have to expand if we are to have a chance of helping close the gap,” she says.
Towart says the Westpac Community Leaders award win has really helped AILC share its successes and raise awareness about the importance of Indigenous leadership.
“Our courses offer a great return on investment and our 1400 alumni each have an amazing story to tell – we just need to spread the word,” she says.
“The award is really important in raising awareness about the importance of Indigenous leadership. We find people are really keen to hear about positive solutions developed by the Indigenous community, especially when they benefit all Australia, but we don’t devote a whole lot of resources to advertising, so the award is really important to help spread the message about our organisation.
“We want to hear from a whole lot more of our future partners this year.”
As part of winning a Westpac Community Leaders Award, Towart received a $5000 grant, which she plans on investing into developing a financial literacy component for AILC’s governance program and investigating e-learning opportunities for students.
Towart also received a Westpac Davidson Institute financial education training package.
“It’s always good to keep building your financial literacy,” she says.
“We teach students about the importance of governance, so there is nothing more important than to practice good governance in our own organisation. The additional training helps contribute to that.”
However despite AILC proving it’s gone from strength to strength, Towart says the biggest successes over the past seven months have been what is contained in the hundreds of letters from AILC graduates, who say AILC courses have changed their lives.
“The AILC is an Indigenous organisation created by Indigenous people for Indigenous people,” she says.
“Leadership courses have prompted our graduates to change careers, get promotion and take on new roles. But we are equally happy when graduates feel confident enough to speak up for the first time in a meeting, or to become a better parent.
“Indigenous leadership is all about identifying your full potential and then living it. Each time that happens it’s a triumph for the individuals – and we share their excitement.”
Nominations for the 2014 Westpac Community Leaders Awards, an initiative that recognises inspirational leaders across Australia who give generously of their time, capabilities and commitment to the Social Sector are now open.
This year, there are six award categories, including; Start-up Leader, Established Leader, Treasurer, Social Entrepreneurs, Board Members and Partnerships for Purpose, and each award recipient will receive financial and educational support valued at more than $12,000.
Finalists will be announced in October. For more information about the 2014 Westpac Community Leaders Awards or to nominate a leader from your community, visit: www.westpac.com.au/CLA2014
Pro Bono Australia and Westpac are partners in promoting the For Purpose Economy.