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Brad Cooke, a participant in the 2017 Indigenous Corporate Leadership Program, on secondment at CBA, Sydney.

Photo: CBA

For months, Jawun CEO Karyn Baylis collaborated

with key corporate partner organisations to make

something happen—not least because she felt ‘the

idea made such sense’. She explains:

As many CEOs will attest, reaching the top of an

organisation can be a lonely place to be. Now

consider, for a minute, those in charge of running

local Indigenous organisations, often in remote

and highly disadvantaged communities. These

Indigenous CEOs play a critical role in delivering

programs and services to local communities,

often in complex and politically charged

environments. Empowering these leaders with

the skills and resources to do their jobs better,

or providing alternative career paths so they

can orbit between their local communities and

the mainstream economy, is crucial and now

presenting itself as a reality.

In the pilot round, participants are being exposed

to broad management experience through a year

of immersive, accelerated learning in a corporate

environment. The program is designed to support

them build core skills in management, influencing

and negotiation, as well as ‘soft skills’ such as

flexibility, communication and resilience. It seeks to

give them ‘literacy’ in corporate and government

contexts, and a powerful set of new connections to

back this up. Overall, it aims to grow their leadership

capacity and confidence.