The Peer Leaders Forums were established in direct response to the challenges we know leaders in small, community managed organisations face. We know that the role can often feel isolating, with few colleagues to fully confide in and with whom to face an ongoing range of challenges. The responsibility of managing organisations sustainably and effectively can at times feel overwhelming, particularly in the current uncertain and constantly changing environment that has recently been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Forums currently comprise three groups of up to 10 members who meet at bi-monthly breakfast sessions to discuss achievements, challenges, and best-practice in a confidential environment with peers. Marg Scott, who is an experienced executive consultant in the community sector with significant governance expertise, facilitates the sessions. Tailored to the specific needs of the group, sessions ensure a consistently safe, supportive environment that provides an invaluable professional development and peer networking opportunity.
Who we are
Forum members are from a diverse cross section of organisations including mental health, homelessness, health consumers, HIV/AIDS, child and family, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, disability, chronic disease, access to justice, prisons, youth, women’s health, advocacy and peak bodies. This provides a great depth and breadth of experience that enables rich discussion and shared learning. Flexible agendas are responsive to members’ emerging issues and priorities, with a strong focus on critical reflection and leadership development.
Aim and objectives
The overall aim of the Forums is to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of members, to foster strengthened leadership capacity and to promote the strength and sustainability of their organisations.
- Reduced isolation and enhanced connection with peers
- Increased leadership capacity and confidence
- Increased understanding and capacity in best practice governance, and organisational management/development
- Enhanced skills and knowledge, with access to relevant resources and tools
- Improved self-management and self-care
- Increased cross sector networks and collaboration
- Improved organisational effectiveness.
Discussion topics cover a breadth of issues for leaders across the community sector, including:
- Formulating strategy and risk
- Leadership learning and development
- Governance issues – CEO/Chair relationships, board management
- Self-care to avoid burnout
- Ethical dilemmas
- Organisational culture, management, and staff capacity
- Managing organisational change
- Responding to organisational crises and media scrutiny
- Staff management and leadership
- Improving service delivery
- Funding and financial sustainability
Evaluation of the Peer Leader Forums have confirmed that participants and, in turn, their organisations benefit from participation in numerous tangible ways.
Benefits for members
Significant improvement across various aspects of mental health and wellbeing and leadership and management capacity including:
- Connection – reduced isolation and increased connection with community sector peers, networking
- Mental health and wellbeing – improved self-care, increased confidence in leadership capacity
- Learning – sharing the knowledge and diverse experience of the group, different approaches to resolving issues
- Reflective practice enhanced – critical insights into leadership skills and styles
- Safety – opportunity to share challenges and complex issues in a confidential environment
- Knowledge – sector, programs, initiatives, resources, solutions, governance
- Solutions/problem solving – management, governance, stakeholder
- Professional mentoring and guidance
- Access to resources – articles, best practice, tools
Benefits for organisations
Improvements in leadership, overall management and handling complex issues, improved systems and sector networks including:
- Increased CEO leadership capacity and confidence
- Strengthened management
- Knowledge of more programs, initiatives
- Improved management of complex issues
- Improved governance
- Self-care introduced into management team
- Introduction of new approaches, procedures etc. into organisational systems
- New useful resources
- Modelling reflective practice across the organisation
- Increased sector connections and networks
- Access to opportunities for collaboration and joint working projects.
For further information and details for the 2020-2021 program contact:
Elizabeth Priestley, CEO WayAhead; Elizabeth.Priestley@wayahead.org.au; Mobile: 0410 278 779