La Trobe Business School

Month: May 2016

Donna Burnett reflects on the Women’s Leadership Program – 2016 (Leadership Victoria)

Donna Burnett

By Donna Burnett

Not another ‘training program’ on how to be an effective leader” I said to myself as I was reading the invitation to attend this this three-day residential intensive.

Having spent the past 10 years in the Tertiary sector, the past 8 in supervisory/Management roles, I was closed minded to the idea that I could actually learn anything from attending yet another one of these ‘soft skills’ programs.

With a ‘prisoner’ closed minded attitude, I reluctantly signed up and made the journey to Chateau Yering in the Yarra Valley. (I know – woe is me!)

The purpose of the program was to draw on the experience of expert facilitators, dynamic guest speakers and a diverse group of peers in the room, to explore self-awareness, empowerment, activation, profiling and networks.

Within 30 minutes of the program commencing, I was no longer a ‘prisoner’ but an active, captivated and energized ‘Woman in Leadership’.

Never before had a program been so personal in its approach and design, nor had I ever attended a program that would have a profound impact on everything I do and hold dear.

The program highlights included:

  • High-profile speakers – honest, inspiring, personal stories of leadership from industry trail-blazers, including:
  • Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Bronwyn King, Radiation Oncologist at The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Epworth Healthcare; Founder/CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios
  • Melissa Lewis, Founder / Personal Brand And Image Specialist, Style Confidante
  • Jacqui Cooper, Olympic Aerial Skier
  • Carmel Arthur, Victoria Police and Victorian Parole Board
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Psychometric assessment and debriefing
  • Harvard peer consultation method, focused on individual workplace challenges
  • Improvisation exercises and hands-on, scenario-based learning activities – assisting with overcoming the fear of improvising, building confidence and teaching how to listen actively, enabling reaction, adaptation and the ability to act gracefully with the unexpected.
  • Deep-dive into complex leadership issues
  • Focus on gender
  • Building networks with peers across sectors

At the conclusion of Day 1, I was an emotional wreck. I was exhausted by the mind blowing personal stories of success and failures and inspired by the resilience these amazing individuals have shown, not only in the face of adversity, but in their everyday world.

Mid-way through Day 2, I was lost for words – something that doesn’t happen to me all that often!

Through the experiential learning activities, psychometric profiling and feedback and coaching, I was beginning to develop an understanding of values, motivation and ethics; authentic leadership and identifying my authentic self. The concept of personal branding and building a courageous sense of self was something I had not considered as part of my daily life (although the understanding the need was more profound than ever expected)

Leadership and management as we know, are two very different things. The ability to develop skills in influencing, negotiation, positioning, effective communication, assertiveness and stepping up, power of intentional impact, and resilience or “bouncing forward” are not skills we are born with. They are not traits like so many people assume come naturally.

How much weight do we give to our circles of moral concern? Are we focusing too much on family, community, other? Perhaps the shift needs to be made to focus on our self and ‘doing our best better’ before we can truly lead others.

Being exposed to these real life scenarios and workplace challenges was an incredible way to expose these skills (or lack thereof) in a safe ‘falling softly’ environment and challenge the way in which we think, behave and act.

By the end of Day 3, I had a new found respect for not only the leaders I work with and for, but a new found respect for myself.

Building one’s capability in strategy, networking and connectedness, utilizing the power of collaboration and being able to design my own individual activation pathway has challenged me, forced me out of my comfort zone, made me rethink what is important (and what is not) but most of all, what I can do as a leader, and what I want to be doing moving forward.

Some points from my own action plan:

  • Ask for what you want if you think it is right
  • Ask for help
  • When people don’t agree with you – keep talking
  • Do your homework
  • Say yes to every opportunity
  • Be patient, bold and savvy
  • Empower others to make the decision
  • Have faith in yourself – believe in your capability
  • Get someone in your corner to support and champion you
  • Be consistent
  • Don’t let adversity define you – acknowledge it
  • Timing – get it right (don’t react), Stop – think – reflect
  • Own your own career – make connections
  • Be realistic – don’t try to obtain the unattainable
  • Biggest risk is not taking a risk
  • Engage with people you have an AUTHENTIC interest in
  • Be conscious of how you make others feel
  • Prepare for difficult conversations
  • Listen to the wisdom of others
  • Wear a ‘Shit Shield’ – to bounce off the negativity
  • Take your shoes off – You can’t walk a mile in someone else’s shoes if you still have yours on

As a woman in a leadership role, I do not need to be confident, I simply need to be brave.

To learn more about the Women’s Leadership Program, visit the Leadership Victoria website.

LBS Professor of Practice Profiles – Mark Morris: “I always wanted to teach.”

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice
From early 2015, La Trobe Business School has introduced a team of Professors of Practice, staff with extensive industry experience. As one of the first Business Schools in Australia to pioneer this concept, LBS’s goal is that the Professors of Practice will provide their students with professional and practical insights into the business world, and that they will form a connection between industry and LBS students, contributing to the students’ business knowledge and employability.

Appointed as one of the Department of Accounting’s Professors of Practice, Mark Morris’s extensive tax experience in industry is a considerable resource to LBS and to the university. “I think I have a very unusual career,” he says, “in that I have been exposed to most facets of tax in virtually all market segments since I joined the profession over 30 years ago.”

Starting out in the big four accounting firms, Mark moved on to be the Tax Manager for Foster’s Brewing Group Ltd. After this, he spent eight years as the Tax Counsel at Mobil Oil Australia Ltd and then worked as the Group Tax manager at GM Holden Ltd. Thereafter he was a Tax Principal with two mid-market chartered accounting firms before ending up as the Senior Tax Counsel at CPA Australia for more than nine years.

At CPA Australia, Mark’s role involved consulting with Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office on the design, interpretation and administration of all Federal taxation laws, including liaison with a diverse range of members over a wide array of issues. Mark was also heavily involved in providing media comment on pressing issues, through both traditional and new media, either as a direct commentator or by presenting the organisation’s views on tax developments.

Mark has also presented at numerous professional forums about contemporary issues impacting the tax profession and the broader community “I am fortunate that I have garnered a wide range of experience and knowledge across various environments which I can bring to the table to the La Trobe Business School,” Mark comments, “And I always wanted to teach. So, this seemed like a great opportunity to share my insights with students who I hope benefit from some of my professional experiences.”

Having worked with a number of LBS students, Mark recognises that students need an adaptive skillset in today’s job market more than ever. According to him, being able to bring practical examples of what happens in the real world into the classroom is one of the main tasks of a Professor of Practice. Mark comments: “I try to provide insights as to what they will find in the workplace wherever I can, because this is exactly the kind of knowledge that can give them an edge to stand out from the crowd. With the rise of Big Data, new technologies, outsourcing and a competitive market, graduates need to have a clear strategy when it comes to their skillset, their personal branding, and their industry connections.”

In Mark’s opinion, having the Professors of Practice in place adds further value to LBS and helps to build bridges between industry, students, and the broader community. “We create plenty of meaningful research at La Trobe Business School. If we can combine this intellectual resource with engaging teaching methods we can hopefully infuse our students with a greater commercial skill set as well as a strong theoretical foundation, which can make an enormous difference for graduates and future employers.” Mark says. “In that sense, being a Professor of Practice is a terrific role, because not only do we get to be very creative in our teaching, but we can also actively add value through our industry experience and connections. And when we create and reinforce strong relationships with several professional organisations – as La Trobe Business School has done – students will be able to get relevant work experience, while employers benefit from a pair of extra hands on deck. In this type of situation, everybody wins.”


LBS Professor of Practice Profiles – Dr Geraldine Kennett: Empowering leaders

GK with Terry and Andrew

Being one of the first Professors of Practice appointed at La Trobe Business School early in 2015, Geraldine Kennett has extensive high level industry experience. Having worked at Myer for more than twelve years, rising from an on floor supervisor to Human Resource Manager, Geraldine then moved on to the Central Metropolitan College of TAFE, before working at the Australian Human Resources Institute and the Australian Industry Group. Reflecting on this time, Geraldine comments: “I was always very conscious of how people interacted on the shop floor at Myer, and I was always involved in training staff members. So when I started teaching at TAFE, teaching came very natural to me.”

Working as a HR Manager at Myer, Geraldine implemented a new strategy that allowed teams to set up a self-sustaining process with rotating leadership: “We strived for tight-knit teams without a static supervisor,” Geraldine says, “so the limiting sense of hierarchy in teams was removed.” Geraldine then took her experience to the Australian Human Resources Institute, where she set up the AHRI accreditation framework, using the research for her Master’s thesis as a guide for the emerging capabilities of the profession.

But her real passion wasn’t awakened until she joined The Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA), where she initially worked as the Director of Programmes, organising large-scale events and running formal courses on working in the public sector, before being appointed as the institute’s CEO. “Through my role as director of programmes, I learned a lot about how event management worked at IPAA. When I started as a CEO, I really spotted the opportunity for growth and structural improvement; I expanded the staff from 8 to 26 members, and opened a number of regional offices,” Geraldine comments. “But what I was most passionate about as the IPAA CEO, was Indigenous participation in public administration.”

Together with La Trobe Business School, Geraldine initiated the Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants. Reflecting on this process, Geraldine notes: “This project was the first instance where I was exposed to La Trobe University and its values. We started this project to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Victorian Public Sector the chance to advance their careers. It’s often said that women experience the effects of a glass ceiling, but when you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander these disadvantages hit you twice as hard.” According to Geraldine, the issue for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the public sector is that they can’t progress professionally due to their limited access to education, and thus they have no way of competing with the broader community at the same level. “A lot of Indigenous communities were indirectly denied the leap in entrepreneurship, leadership, and education that other cultures experienced in a stronger way. By starting this programme, we hope that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria have a chance to sharpen these skills, so they can access a broader range of career opportunities or have the entrepreneurial skills to start a business of their own.”

When the Professor of Practice positions were announced at La Trobe University, Geraldine saw this as a stepping stone to make a difference in society. “My values when it comes to equity and diversity, sustainability, responsible leadership and the community, align strongly with those of La Trobe Business School. I had recognised this when I started working with LBS staff members through IPAA. So for me, the choice was clear. I didn’t even consider other universities.”

Currently, aside from being an LBS Professor of Practice, Geraldine Kennett is also working with the Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University, Professor John Dewar, and Paul Briggs, the Executive Chair of the Kaiela Institute, on an economic development plan for Aboriginal people in the Goulburn Murray region. A key outcome from this project is an agreement by local businesses and government agencies in the region to employ Aboriginal people. Says Geraldine, “This coming May, there will actually be an agreement signed in Shepparton, where local businesses, government and universities (including La Trobe University) agree to include 2% Aboriginal people among their employees. So we are currently creating the demand for Aboriginal employees, and are hoping to widen the supply by providing these communities with extensive training programmes.”

Through her projects and her teaching, Geraldine uses a philosophy of the Four E’s: Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage. She created this philosophy after seeing how leadership has changed: “There are more stakeholders than ever, and responsible leadership is crucial. Through the four E’s, I want to create an environment where people develop confidence, step out of their comfort zone and bring values in as core behaviour, while developing their own leadership model.” Geraldine says. “It’s also important to me that people step away from my courses feeling confident, and valued.”

Through her passion for Indigenous economic development, Geraldine Kennett is hoping to generate 140 Indigenous business owners before she retires. “If I can see 140 proud Aboriginal people empowered through this programme before I die, it would be the biggest honour to know I made a difference in these peoples’ lives.”

Students from Republic Polytechnic in Singapore visit La Trobe Business School


Recently, La Trobe Business School hosted thirty-five visiting students and two staff from Republic Polytechnic based in Singapore. On a whirlwind six day tour of Victoria, the students visited iconic tourist attractions including the Great Ocean Road, Healesville Sanctuary, Mornington Peninsula and the City of Melbourne. The students are currently studying a Diploma in Wellness, Lifestyle and Spa Management and visited LTU’s Melbourne campus for a tour of the campus facilities and gain first-hand knowledge of campus living if they continue their studies in the Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality) course at LTU. After a forty-five minutes campus tour accompanied by Daniel Hemsley, a second year student studying Event Management, a thirty minute presentation regarding the course was given by Paul Strickland and enthusiastically received. The trip was supported by the Singapore Government and Republic Polytechnic with the potential for students to continue their studies and achieve a higher qualification in the hope that graduates will apply their acquired knowledge back in Singapore. We look forward to welcoming articulating students into any of our programs.

LBS’ Dr Kate Grosser appointed as a 2016 Velux Fellow at Copenhagen Business School.

Dr Kate Grosser
LBS academic Dr Kate Grosser, who works in the Department of Management and Marketing, has been appointed a Velux Fellow, 2016, at Copenhagen Business School. These fellowships are granted to highly qualified scholars working in the area of corporate sustainability. The aim of the program is to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between Velux Chair researchers and Fellows.

Dr Kate Grosser has extensive expertise, and has committed herself to research and teaching, in the field of socially responsible business. She is particularly interested in gender and governance in a context where business is playing an increasing role in societal governance generally.

The Centre for Sport and Social Impact secured a $190,000 contract with the Australian Sports Commission


The Centre for Sport and Social Impact has secured a $190,000 contract with the Australian Sports Commission, to assess the efficacy of its Sporting Schools program. This program has been operating in primary schools and is now being extended in an Australia-wide pilot to secondary schools. The team at CSSI will be working with 8 national sport organisations and 80 secondary schools, investigating the barriers and facilitators to students engaging in greater sport participation, from now until the middle of 2017. In conjunction with the $800,000 contract that the CSSI holds with VicHealth to investigate State Sport Association programs that encourage inactive and somewhat active Victorians to participate in more sport and physical activity, this new project provides the CSSI with exposure to Australia’s peak sport agency and access to a diverse range of sport organisations working to develop and implement modified sport programs and products.

A multi-disciplinary and cross-College team will be leading this project: The team is comprised of Dr Matthew Nicholson, Dr Erica Randle, Dr Emma Sherry, Dr Paul O’Halloran, Dr Arthur Stukas and Ms Pam Kappelides – 4 staff from the La Trobe Business School and 2 staff from the School of Psychology and Public Health.

Congratulations to our amazing La Trobe Business School academics!

LBS Professor of Practice Catherine Ordway presents paper on Regulating Corruption in Sport


Recently, Professor of Practice Catherine Ordway participated in a joint Web-Ex lecture on anti-corruption which was jointly hosted by ROLAC (Centre for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption) and UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) .

Catherine Ordway presented her paper titled ‘Sports Corruption: Justice and Accountability through the Use of the UNCAC and the UNTOC’, which she co-wrote with Dr Nikos Passas from Northeastern University.

Paper abstract

The corruption scandal currently engulfing football’s international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the recent allegations of bribery in order to host the 2006 World Cup in Germany[1] raise a number of issues.  Allegations in recent years of bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation, money-laundering, vote rigging and other abuses of power within several international sports federations demand that this type of misconduct be investigated and prosecuted.  In the absence of a comparable international integrity oversight body similar to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), it is timely to examine the applicability and potential usefulness of existing international instruments.

Given that the United Nations Conventions against Corruption (UNCAC) and against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) represent the most comprehensive global standards and have the highest number of States Parties (177 and 185 respectively, as of October 2015), this paper examines in detail the applicability of these instruments to the most prominent and challenging sports corruption instances revealed in recent times.  The misconduct covered by these instruments and their mutual legal assistance frameworks, in addition to innovative provisions on dual criminality, asset recovery and the definition of an organized criminal group, can significantly enhance international cooperation and effective law enforcement.  In this way, justice, accountability and greater transparency will be boosted on a global scale.


Catherine Ordway is a Professor of Practice in La Trobe Business School, specialising in sport management. She has more than 20 years experience in the Sports Industry and continues to provide consultancy services to Olympic bidding cities, government agencies and sporting organisations on integrity and anti-doping issues. Catherine is a member of the SportAccord (GAISF), IBAF (baseball), ICC and West Indies (cricket) anti-doping tribunals, and is the IAAF (athletics) medical and anti-doping delegate for Australia.

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