Masterclass 2018… “An amazing experience”

Congratulations to the latest graduates of the FSSI Executive Masterclass.

This year’s program followed the highly successful formula of participants co-designing course content. Hot topics included social innovation, measuring social outcomes, influencing government and inspiring leadership.

Graduates were effusive in their praise. They gained insights from high-level speakers, many of who came from academic, government and business backgrounds beyond the social service sector, bringing new approaches and challenging thinking.

But they also really valued the class dynamic, gaining as much from their discussions with each other as they did from presentations. With so many skilled and talented leaders from right across the social service sector together in the one room, that was always bound to happen!Masterclass colleagues talking.

Jenny Donnelly is Executive Officer at Upper Hume PCP, which works to improve the wellbeing of communities in the local government areas of Albury, Indigo, Towong and Wodonga. Jenny summed up her Executive Masterclass experience for us here.

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I recently completed the 2018 FSSI masterclass. What an amazing experience!

I was looking to be challenged as a senior manager and leader. Being an Executive Officer of an organisation carries with it the responsibility of impacting on the community being served by your organisation, but also positively impacting on the staff who are part of that organisation. There is lots of ‘leadership training’ available – some of which I have completed – but that didn’t quite ‘cut the mustard’ either. I read the detail of this masterclass and immediately felt it just might be a bit different.

What were the ‘differences’ which made this course so valuable?

It provided intellectual stimulation – with high calibre speakers; relevant and challenging reading; AND high quality facilitation.

The speakers were not just cutting edge thinkers but for the most part were not constrained by an ‘official viewpoint’.

Picture of Jenny Donnelly with Masterclass colleagues
Jenny Donnelly with Masterclass colleagues.

It was manageable. You put in what you could and where you felt comfortable, without any ‘guilt’ if something remained unread/unthought about or just not understood.

It was grounded in academic literature – mostly not tedious and always relevant.

Theory was very much considered in the context of the practice wisdom of the group.

I was enabled to reflect on how I operated, and how I could operate, and reminded that I did do some things well!

As a female I found it used language and practice which I intuitively valued.

It was grounded in valuing the vision of the social service sector, and reminded us regularly of the critical importance of that sector in our society and our economy. We don’t need to nor should be apologists for the work which we are engaged in.

And practically it was conducted over a three month period which enabled time for reflection, as well as time to build on that reflection with new/different information over a period. The group was able to develop some group trust meaning conversations became even more thoughtful.

I see this as a fabulous opportunity for emerging leaders and I will certainly be encouraging such individuals to attend in future.

– Jenny Donnelly, Upper Hume PCP Executive Officer

Thanks to Jenny for putting her thoughts to ‘paper’ for us and thank you to all our 2018 Masterclass participants.

People will be glad to know that in response to our Masters’ feedback, we are looking forward to launching our FSSI Masters Alumni. This will give all Masterclass participants a space to maintain and foster the connection they’ve made with each other and with FSSI.

Strengthening our connections and sharing our strengths, insights and challenges can only help build the social service sector to be the workforce of the future – a vision FSSI is proudly committed to.

Stay tuned for FSSI Masters Alumni details coming soon.