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Professional development out of your reach? This might be for you


Monday, 6th May 2019 at 8:18 am
Maggie Coggan
With professional development training a luxury many charities can’t afford, a program is promising to match charity leaders up to top corporate employers to develop their leadership skills for free.    


Monday, 6th May 2019
at 8:18 am
Maggie Coggan


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Professional development out of your reach? This might be for you
Monday, 6th May 2019 at 8:18 am

With professional development training a luxury many charities can’t afford, a program is promising to match charity leaders up to top corporate employers to develop their leadership skills for free.         

Ten charity leaders will be picked through an extensive application process to take part in the 12-month program and will be matched with corporate employers based on what they want to learn and what skills the corporates can offer them.

The program, which will be run out of Sydney, was developed by Plus One, a not for profit co-founded by members of the philanthropy and social capital team at Koda Capital, Chris Wilson, Farial Ameen, and David Knowles to close the gap on development opportunities between charity and corporate leaders.

Knowles told Pro Bono News that working for the corporate sector, as well as being involved in the charity sector, had shown him how profound the disparity of opportunities was between the two sectors.

“I remember going on courses at Perpetual on influencing and persuading and I know how much I got out of those courses,” Knowles said.  

“I know that those opportunities aren’t available to people in the charity sector because I’ve spent the last 15 years being an advisor to charities, and I’m also on three charity boards as a director myself, I’ve seen it firsthand.”

He said it was predominantly because charities didn’t have the resources or access to send leaders to professional development days, or they couldn’t justify spending money that’s come from government grants or donors on such activities.  

“This is a real disadvantage because it doesn’t help them be the best that they can be and make the biggest difference,” he said.

The leaders will be chosen by an expert panel including David Crosbie, Community Council for Australia CEO, Simon Mordant AM, executive co-chairman of Luminis Partners, and CEO of the Australian Scholarships Foundation, Samantha Sayers.

Crosbie said it was a fantastic opportunity for both sectors.

“Developing leaders in the charities sector is a real challenge – we can’t always afford to buy the best training. This program is a win-win,” Crosbie said.  

“It is wonderful to see a great concept becoming a real program that will benefit charities and the communities they serve.”  

Applicants will have to outline what their development needs are, and if they have certain needs that match up to areas identified by Plus One as knowledge that would be useful and beneficial to charity leaders.

Knowles said deciding what to focus on in the programs was informed by consulting community and corporate sector leaders, academic research and surveys.

“This was to make sure that we were going to go out and seek from companies the kind of courses and the kind of programs that would be relevant and translatable to the charity sector,” he said.

The corporate partners include the Commonwealth Bank, PwC Australia, MinterEllison, Westpac, Macquarie Group, Lendlease, Kaplan Professional, Allianz, Downer Group, Koda Capital and  Atlassian.

Charity leaders and leaders from the companies running the program will then attend the program together which Knowles said was to encourage collaboration and learning.  

“That’s a really important part of it because you are learning about something but you’re also learning in a different environment and exposed to different people in the corporate sector, and the people in the corporate sector are exposed to the world of a charity leader,” he said.  

“We want people to learn from each other.”

The program is suitable for permanent employees of registered charities who, if not already in an executive leadership position, have the potential to get there within three years.

Only 100 applications will be accepted. Applications open on 7 May.

Find out more information about the program here.   


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.


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