Lo­cal pair is lead­ing the way

McIvor Times - - NEWS - By BRON­WYN LUMS­DEN

TWO district women have joined 25 dy­namic com­mu­nity lead­ers as part of the 2016 Lod­don Mur­ray Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Pro­gram.

Tracey Bowen and Fiona Brad­shaw were wel­comed to the pro­gram at a re­cent din­ner func­tion in New­bridge be­fore head­ing off on the week­end for the first pro­gram re­treat at Mal­don.

Ms Bowen said she fell into the role af­ter her em­ployer, Man­dalay Re­sources, asked her to seek out a com­mu­nity leader the com­pany could spon­sor for the pro­gram.

‘‘I was ask­ing around the com­mu­nity who peo­ple thought we could nom­i­nate and they kept say­ing that I was re­ally a leader in the com­mu­nity and per­haps I should think about join­ing the pro­gram my­self,’’ she said.

‘‘Af­ter com­ing back to the of­fice and dis­cussing it with (sus­tain­abil­ity man­ager) Adam, he agreed that I was a good choice as a can­di­date, so I de­cided to have a go.’’

Ms Bowen said she felt hon­oured to be cho­sen to take part in the pro­gram and rep­re­sent a com­mu­nity she feels blessed to be a part of.

‘‘My pas­sion is this com­mu­nity and hope­fully the pro­gram will give me the tools I need to help make a dif­fer­ence and help the com­mu­nity to em­brace change,’’ she said.

Change could be dif­fi­cult for com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als to ac­cept, but Ms Bowen said since change was un­avoid­able small com­mu­ni­ties had to look to what they could to en­sure those changes were pos­i­tive and for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity.

‘‘The com­mu­nity is very con­cerned about some is­sues in­clud­ing iso­la­tion, sub­stance abuse, men­tal health, keep­ing our kids in school and more op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially em­ploy­ment, for our kids, but we can­not keep re­ly­ing on the govern­ment to fix ev­ery­thing.

‘‘More peo­ple need to roll their sleeves up be­cause Heathcote has al­ready proven it can achieve re­mark­able things when ev­ery­one pitches in.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily re­alise what their skills are, but if we all pitch in just one per cent each, then we can make a huge dif­fer­ence.”

The 27 pro­gram par­tic­i­pants are all ages and come from a di­verse range of back­grounds, in­dus­tries, life ex­pe­ri­ences and world views.

What they have in com­mon is a com­mit­ment to build­ing their skills, in­sights and net­works to be more ef­fec­tive in their work, their in­dus­tries and com­mu­ni­ties.

The 10-month lead­er­ship pro­gram runs over 25 pro­gram days dur­ing which par­tic­i­pants travel around the re­gion and to Mel­bourne and Can­berra, hear­ing from com­mu­nity lead­ers, key or­gan­i­sa­tions, and learn­ing about the di­verse is­sues and op­por­tu­ni­ties fac­ing our re­gion, and how to make an ef­fec­tive con­tri­bu­tion and im­pact.

Wel­com­ing par­tic­i­pants at the din­ner func­tions was key­note speaker and well-known Bendigo lo­cal and com­mu­nity leader, Mar­got Spald­ing.

Mar­got shared sto­ries of her own lead­er­ship jour­ney from start­ing her now hugely suc­cess­ful fur­ni­ture busi­ness, Jimmy Pos­sum, out of her shed in Har­court, to win­ning Tel­stra Aus­tralian Busi­ness Woman of the year in 2016, to lead­ing Bendigo’s re­cent re­sponse to the anti-Mosque pro­test­ers through iBe­lieve Bendigo.

Mar­got is a down to earth, funny, prag­matic and wise pre­sen­ter and she in­spired the au­di­ence with her per­sonal story, her en­ergy and her words.

‘‘You can­not do life on your own,’’ she said.

‘‘Sur­round your­self with peo­ple – the right peo­ple – you are who you are be­cause of the peo­ple you are with and the choices you make.’’

Mar­got also re­ceived lots of nods from the room when she shared her be­lief that “you are ad­van­taged in life if you grow up in re­gional and ru­ral Aus­tralia.”

The an­nual lead­er­ship pro­gram, fa­cil­i­tated by Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Lod­don Mur­ray (CLLM), has been suc­cess­fully de­vel­op­ing lead­ers for vi­brant and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties across cen­tral and north-west Vic­to­ria since 1998, with more than 390 grad­u­ates across the re­gion un­der­tak- ing a range of com­mu­nity projects and lead­er­ship roles.

Par­tic­i­pants rep­re­sent­ing in­dus­tries such as agri­cul­ture, busi­ness, health, com­mu­nity, govern­ment, nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment, and education ap­ply for this op­por­tu­nity and are se­lected on the ba­sis of their com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity, their in­dus­try and the re­gion. There was a huge re­sponse to the call for ap­pli­cants late last year and the highly com­pet­i­tive process has re­sulted in an out­stand­ing group of in­di­vid­u­als ready to take their work and vol­un­teer­ing to the next level.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the pro­gram, and to fol­low their jour­ney, please see www.cllm.org.au

Over two dozen dy­namic com­mu­nity lead­ers in­clud­ing Heathcote’s Tracey Bowen and Fiona Brad­shaw were wel­comed into the Lod­don Mur­ray Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Pro­gram last week.

Photo: sub­mit­ted

There was a touch of Scot­land at Bar­fold Es­tate last month at the sixth an­nual Rob­bie Burns din­ner. Piper Ian Ste­wart helped din­ers get in the mood and com­mem­o­rate the much-loved Scot­tish bard.

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