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La Trobe Business School

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LBS in support of International Women’s Day

Last week, on the 8th of March, it was International Women’s Day. La Trobe Business School took part in several events that day.

ATEM Breakfast Series

The Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) organised an International Women’s Day Breakfast with guest speaker Freda Miriklis. Freda spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and specifically Women’s Empowerment Principles, which relates to SDG number 5: Achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls.

 

The Women’s Empowerment Principles are:

  1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
  2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
  3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
  4. Promote education, training and professional development for women
  5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
  6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
  7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

LBS staff members attending ATEM’s International Women’s Day Breakfast

IPAA International Women’s Day event

Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) organised an IWD Dinner to celebrate the contribution that women make to the public sector and to commit to the actions that will build greater gender equity in the sector. Special guest speaker was Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012-2017.

As head of the Australian Human Rights Commission, she led a number of high profile inquiries, including an examination of the impact of prolonged immigration detention on children, and consistently championed the need for a system of checks and balances to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Professor Gillian Triggs giving her keynote speech

Gillian was the keynote speaker to the event and talked about her time in the Human Rights Commission. Specifically, how she was able to be resilient in a male dominated environment whilst having the media constantly mocking her. The event also included a panel discussion on each Woman’s career and obstacles faced along with life lessons and the next generation of women entering the workforce.

The panel facilitator was Penny Burke, CEO of Essence Communication. Penny is an accomplished public speaker who has worked in the field of marketing and advertising for over 20 years and has worked on many inspiring and well-known advertising campaigns. Penny’s experience has led her to become a thought leader and an expert in Commitment.

Inala Cooper, Lifelong Fellowship Lead, Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, University of Melbourne, was a panellist. Inala is a Yawuru woman from Broome in The Kimberley, WA. Born in Victoria, she grew up in the South West on Gunditjmara land and has lived on the land of the Kulin Nations here in Melbourne for over 20 years. Inala has a Masters in Human Rights Law and is an advocate for Indigenous rights and social justice. She encourages young Indigenous people to connect with their culture and find strength in their identities.

Gill Callister, Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, hosted the event. Gill is directly responsible for management of the Department to deliver and improve early childhood, school education, and vocational and higher education services across Victoria. Gill is also President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria).

LBS staff members attending IPAA’s International Women’s day event

Geraldine Kennett on Australian Leadership: “Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage”

By Joseph Ghaly

Geraldine Kennett talks to Joseph Ghaly about Australian Leadership. Dr Geraldine Kennett is Professor of Practice in Management and Director of External Engagement at the La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the unique qualities and features of Australian Leadership?
Geraldine Kennett: A sense of openness. We are a little bit more relaxed and laid back. I think it’s a part of the Australian culture so our leadership emulates that.

I don’t believe we always draw on international leadership practices because we tend to be more parochial and domestically focussed, particularly our corporate leadership.

The other thing I notice about Australian Leadership is that it is heavily masculine. We still don’t have many women at the most senior leadership levels. This can put a hard edge on the way we lead our organisations and put emphasis on short-term results, from a political, corporate and even not-for-profit perspective. Those organisations led largely by males at the executive level tend to focus on operations, fiscal results and business outcomes.

So even though I suggest we are relaxed and open, the dichotomy is that we are very much driven by achieving outcomes for the organisation. My hypothesis would be that with increased female leadership we would be more focused on the long-term health of the organisation, the health of the economy and the health of society in general. And some of our outcomes would be more sustainable and environmentally driven.

I get a sense that the direction we have taken in our country is very short term outcomes focused.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are Australians seeking from our leaders?

Geraldine Kennett: Good question because Australia is in a fairly complex environment. Most of the issues that could be resolved for our society have been resolved. We know we have some social and economic issues as well as rapidly changing technology and several industry structural changes that are developing rapidly.

So, what Australians are looking for is leadership where we move from hero to host.

Australians have constantly looked for people who could be the hero and solve our problems. What we are looking for now is someone that is more of a host. That means having a more shared approach to leadership – the community gets involved, individuals wish to be involved. People want to be involved in decision making and that leads to a more collaborative society to what we have been experiencing in the past.

At the same time, Australians show a desire for integrity and authenticity. I bundle the two together because the public wants to leadership with genuine integrity. We expect our leaders to be authentic and walk the talk. We are educated so treat us with respect.

People are expecting to be led by leaders who can influence us to come along. Communities are wanting to be empowered and involved in the decisions of leaders. This means a strong envisaging leader.

The 4 ‘E’s as I refer to leadership here at the Latrobe Business School. Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage.

Simple principles which if we lead by these principles the community and all its stakeholders will be engaged and willing to contribute to the vision or venture. The ‘how’ within these simple principles of leadership are more complex. The how or the way we lead is with authenticity, integrity, ethics and sustainability. The data from our under 36-year-old demographics show what they are expecting from our leaders includes; values, ethics and sustainability.

Overall, Australians are seeking strong collaboration, integrity, authenticity, sustainability, and ethics in the way in which we lead.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the finest examples of Australian Leadership you have observed or delivered?

Geraldine Kennett: Thank you. I’m going to refer you locally to Professor John Dewar, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. Professor Dewar has had to make some tough decisions to ensure that the university is at the forefront of higher education for the future. He has had to be very mindful of doing this with limited resources. At the same time, John is not afraid to invest in opportunities that provide long-term benefits for the future. For instance, a new community access sports centre and new courses in cybersecurity and business analytics.

I have been fortunate to work alongside Professor John Dewar on a charity, The Australian Futures Project (AFP), that he supports out of his office. He has done this because he genuinely believes that the university has a leadership role in supporting start-up ideas that have a broader agenda for society. The AFP purpose is to create better decision making for a better Australian society. It leads forums for politicians, public servants and the community at large. It addresses how leaders beyond one’s own organisation make contributions to society.

Another example is from my former time with the Institute of Public Administration Australia. The Former CEO, Dr Kathy Laster,  would consistently act on decisions with three key criteria in mind:

  1. Did I do that with integrity;
  2. Is it a sustainable decision; and,
  3. What will be the impact on the people I’m leading, and people in the community beyond my organisation?

Reflecting on the broader impact is sustainable and ethical leadership in my view.

Finally, I work with and support Indigenous issues, in particular, the economic development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a leader I admire – Paul Briggs, a well-respected Yorta Yorta man. He has the tenacity and an enormous capacity to think strategically and gets people at the highest level engaged in his initiatives.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are our major challenges?

Geraldine Kennett: I think a major priority for Australia is to give our first nation’s people, economic independence and as a whole community support them in their development.

We need our leaders to enable and empower those communities and bring the rest of the country along in supporting them; that means all citizens and employers in the private, public and non-government sectors.

The other challenge is to move forward in driving our digital and experience-based economy rather than the former economy based on consumption. We need people to be really thinking about this agenda otherwise, the threat is high unemployment and a polarisation of society from displaced industries. We need to consider the jobs of the future and our education emphasis for future generations.

A sustainable planet is, of course, critical and should fair in our thinking beyond the challenges pertaining our own generation. I believe it our responsibility to develop leaders who lead responsibly and make long-term decisions that sustain future generations.

This post was originally published in the online Australian Leadership magazine.

Developing Future Public Sector Leaders – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

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August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, a day to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous populations. Last June, examples from schools across Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the work that they are doing to engage Indigenous students and promote Indigenous businesses were featured on the Prime Time Blog, including an Aboriginal EMBA at Beedie School of Business, a programme to support Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Gustavson School of Business, the Indigenous Programmes Unit at University of New South Wales, contextualizing the MBA with an Indigenous focus at the University of Waikato, promoting accounting as a career choice with Indigenous students at Deaken University and mentoring a new generation of Indigenous leaders at University of Wollongong. The Primetime blog is connected to the Principles of Responsible Management and Education and aims to share best practices on how to mainstream sustainability and responsible leadership into management education globally. The blog serves as a platform to share and discuss inspirational activities that promote the development of responsible leaders.

Recently, they featured La Trobe Business School’s innovative programme focused on developing future Indigenous business leaders in the Public sector. Gisselle Weybrecht spoke with Dr Suzanne Young Head of Department of Management and Marketing and Dr Geraldine Kennett, Professor of Practice, Department of Management & Marketing about their new programme.

 What is the programme for public servants?

La Trobe Business School developed a new Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (IPAA), and in consultation with the IPAA Indigenous Advisory Committee. Initially enrolling 32 Indigenous public servants, the course has now expanded to be a combination of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous public sector professionals learning together. The course takes 1.5 years full-time or 2 years part time.

This innovative course uses a partnership approach; the participants study leadership, entrepreneurial business planning, financial management and accounting with the University and public policy making with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia.  The students develop a plan for an entrepreneurial business or policy idea in their first subject and then build on this plan in subsequent subjects, cumulating in ‘A Pitch’ to senior public sector leaders.  This practical form of assessment builds their confidence to get strategic buy-in for their business and/or policy ideas. Many of the students have used their new learning and skills to achieve higher level positions in the public sector. Four students are also continuing their studies with the La Trobe University MBA programme in 2016.

As academics we have gained knowledge about Indigenous culture and how to integrate social identity into learning styles which has enabled us to develop supportive pedagogy for teaching.  Our course ensures that the learning outcomes support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the capacity to straddle their leadership obligations in the workplace as well as in the Indigenous community.

 How did it come about?

In 2010 the Australian government highlighted the social, political and economic gap between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the community. The Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2012) argues that improving higher education outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will contribute to nation building and reduce Indigenous disadvantage.

The need for a postgraduate qualification for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Servants was highlighted as important in a study IPAA Victoria commissioned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The study highlighted the barriers to, and enablers of, career advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders employed in the public sector including the need for professional development opportunities. Indigenous public servants experience a higher turnover rate than their non-indigenous peers. The 2012-13 Australian Public Service State of the Sector report found that 20.5% of indigenous employees left the APS after less than one year  — almost four times the rate of non-indigenous employees (5.9%). This is another part the challenge this programme aims to tackle.

IPAA approached La Trobe Business School to develop and conduct a post graduate course due to its expertise in providing higher education for Aboriginal people, its status as the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion Business school in Australia and the ability for regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Servants to continue their higher education at La Trobe University’s regional campuses across our region.

 What have been some of the successes?

From the feedback loop it is clear that the project produces measurable impact for Indigenous peoples (including students and community), La Trobe University (including staff), IPAA, and the higher education sector.

Achievements to date include:

  • Initial enrolment of 32 students into the course
  • Strong retention rate with 22 students continuing into their 3rd subject
  • Employers contributing to student fees
  • Orientation programme and guidelines for delivery of Indigenous education
  • Second cohort of programme began in late 2015 consisting of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students
  • Students’ management skills enhanced in entrepreneurship and innovation, accounting and leadership
  • Students’ leadership skills enhanced in communication and team work
  • Peer and collaborative learning enhancing cross cultural learning between students and staff and in the future between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students.
  • Four students progressing through to enrolment in the MBA

 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students it provides an educational experience and improved educational outcomes and opportunities for employment and career advancement. A specific Indigenous course enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to bring their culture and identity into the learning experience, thereby making the teaching relevant for their needs. Also for Indigenous communities, it supports economic development, assists in closing the gap and provides mechanisms for breaking the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage.

Do you have any advice for schools thinking of doing something similar?

It is important to develop and work in partnerships with those organisations and people in the community who are legitimately recognised with expertise by Indigenous peoples. It is also important to have orientation programs for teaching staff in Indigenous culture and nurturing this in the teaching environment. Flexibility of approach, and assessments that are meaningful and authentic to the Indigenous students are also important.

What are the next Steps for La Trobe Business School in this area?

The course is now open for non-indigenous students as well to provide a culturally safe learning environment for students to be able to learn together. This enhances the learning of non-indigenous students who are all practising public servant professionals and so builds their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the importance of culturally safe practices.  This also provides an environment where cross cultural knowledge is exchanged and others’ perspectives are more fully understood.

 

This article was originally published, here.

 

 

 

 

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.”

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