Leadership WA hosts Eastern Wheatbelt Emerging Leaders program in Merredin

By Bree Swift
April 15 2022 - 10:00pm
Some of the participants of the Eastern Wheatbelt Emerging Leaders program, which was developed by the Wheatbelt Development Commission and the WA Police.

A LEADERSHIP development program designed to enhance participants' leadership knowledge and skills to support their local communities was recently completed in the Wheatbelt.

Delivered by Leadership WA facilitators, the five-month Eastern Wheatbelt Emerging Leaders program consisted of six online and four in-person sessions (based in Merredin), where course members completed learning modules based on contemporary leadership topics.

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Participants were required to submit an expression of interest application and 30 individuals across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors were selected, with 27 of those completing the course.

The Wheatbelt Development Commission (WDC) partnered with the WA Police to develop the program.

Wheatbelt Development Commission principal regional development officer Renee Manning said the program had been specifically designed for emerging leaders within the region.

"All participants are undertaking leadership roles across their communities, including representatives of grower groups, local agribusiness, trades, tourism and community organisations, and this program will further enhance their leadership roles into the future," Ms Manning said.

Ms Manning said leadership development was integral to providing community and regional leaders with the capabilities and skills to meet the current and future challenges and ensure the sustainability and liveability of regional communities.

"The WDC and WA Police both recognise that investing in our regional leaders (across the private, not for profit and public sectors) is critical to building vibrant and sustainable regional communities," Ms Manning said.

"Leadership WA is one of the premier leadership organisations in WA and was an ideal partner to design and implement a program specifically for emerging regional leaders."

Participants were given the opportunity to gain practical real-world insights into the leadership journeys of former Olympian and USA Women's National Basketball Association championship player, Merredin-born and raised Tully Bevilaqua, and Merredin Police Station's former officer-in-charge, superintendent Alyson Brett.

Chesney Maloney, who owns and operates Merredin's Two Dogs Home Hardware with husband Mark, said she successfully applied for the leadership program after hearing about it on Facebook.

"I thought the program would help give me the tools to discover who the leaders are within our own business and then help them along with that journey," Ms Maloney said.

With a goal to one day sit on Merredin's Shire council, Ms Maloney said she was grateful to the organisers for providing the opportunity to people living in the Wheatbelt to participate in the leadership program.

North Eastern Wheatbelt Travel Association tourism officer Linda Vernon said she first heard about the program through the WDC and she was keen to participate so that she could help create more positive changes within her town.

"Through the program I learnt a lot about my own preferred learning styles as well as how to identify those of the people that I work with, so it gave me some really great insight that I've been able to apply to my work," Ms Vernon said.

Based in Mukinbudin, Ms Vernon said the hybrid delivery model, which included both face-to-face and online sessions, had enabled her to participate in the program.

A review is currently underway into the success of the program to shape decisions on its future and any subsequent leadership programs.

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