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Giving NFP leaders the tools to thrive in good times and bad

10 November 2020 at 7:00 am
The Australian Scholarships Foundation (ASF) has teamed up with the McKinsey Academy to offer 30 scholarships for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) in 2021.

Contributor | 10 November 2020 at 7:00 am


Giving NFP leaders the tools to thrive in good times and bad
10 November 2020 at 7:00 am

The Australian Scholarships Foundation (ASF) has teamed up with the McKinsey Academy to offer 30 scholarships for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) in 2021.

During this period of intense change and uncertainty, not-for-profit leaders are being called upon to do more and be more than ever before. This year has shown us that leaders need to be nurtured through inspiration, intervention, opportunity, and practice.

To enable that, the Australian Scholarships Foundation (ASF) is partnering again with the McKinsey Academy to offer 30 scholarships for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) in 2021. ELP is a hands-on leadership development program that develops self-aware leaders who have the capability and conviction to lead in the age of complexity and disruption. After 91 per cent of recent applicants reported they would not be able to attend a program of this calibre without a scholarship, ASF and McKinsey Academy joined forces to support NFP leaders when they need it most by giving them the tools to thrive in good times and bad.

With applications now open for the 2021 ELP scholarships, we spoke to some of our latest alumni to find out more about their experiences and life after ELP. 

Katherine Burchfield was one of the inaugural recipients of an ELP scholarship in 2018. As the health director of Royal Far West, Burchfield has felt the pressures of COVID-19 more than most. Having led Royal Far West’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, Burchfield told us that the frameworks and tools that she learnt about in the ELP have been invaluable, particularly around self-leadership and humanity as leaders. 

“But perhaps more importantly, having been through the ELP, I have the confidence to lead strongly in the complex environment in which we are operating,” she says.

Burchfield is not alone in this; 88 per cent of our 2020 cohort say they feel more confident in their roles following ELP. Burchfield also reflected that the benefit of the ELP is its diversity. 

“The fact that the program is not aimed specifically at NFPs but embraces all sectors… has added so much benefit and colour,” she says. “This diversity has given more insight into how to apply the various principles and frameworks that have been put up, more learnings and has also made it more fun.”

Since 2018, ASF and McKinsey Academy have supported 33 not-for-profit leaders to complete the ELP. Our scholars often work in high pressure environments, delivering essential services to communities all around Australia. They are already doing extraordinary things, but the ELP helps them to reach the next level. 

One year on from completing the ELP, recipient Ashley de Silva recalls that he enjoyed coming together on issues like leading through change, strategy development and personal growth, “as it shows there’s much we share across industries”. 

de Silva is the CEO of ReachOut Australia and leads his team to support young people through anything from everyday issues to tough times. Of ELP, he says the “leadership development is the immersive kind that takes you out of your regular environment”. “To participate in the course has been especially valuable,” he says.

During the program, executives have the opportunity to build their knowledge of technologies and trends and how to leverage them in their organisations, sharpen and expand their leadership skills and cultivate an exclusive global network of peers. 94 per cent of our 2020 cohort have estimated that they will apply these skills at least once a week, making ELP an invaluable experience.

Despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 scholars were still able to get the most out of this opportunity. One of this year’s scholars, Suzanne Toumbourou of Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, said even though this program is normally held off-site and in person the organisers did “a marvellous job of imparting knowledge, building relationships and delivering real value via web-conference”. 

“I’m grateful for their great ability to adapt, innovate and engage through the challenges of 2020,” she says. As executive director of ASBEC, Toumbourou will make good use of her new skills as her organisation continues to advance policies promoting a more sustainable, liveable and resilient built environment.

Another 30 high potential not-for-profit leaders will soon join the ranks of de Silva, Burchfield and Toumbourou as recipients of a 2021 ELP scholarship. ASF would like to encourage NFP leaders Australia-wide to apply for a learning opportunity of a lifetime. 

Click here to find out more. Applications close 26 November 2020 at 5pm AEDT.

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