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The AOD Change Agent Network (CAN) Community Of Practice (COP) held their first Leadership Forum at The Bouverie Centre on Monday 23rd March.

Our CAN Convenor Sally Ryan chaired the event, welcoming 17 new recruits to the CAN COP, followed by CAN members Tram Nguyen and Tanya Cooper providing an overview of what the CAN COP has achieved in the first 12 months and an update on the emerging Practice Translation Network (PTN)

Retired Police Commissioner Christine Nixon was the Guest Speaker and Facilitator for this event and provided inspirational, wise and personal insights into leadership in difficult and uncertain times.

In Christine’s Nixon’s acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land she shared a brief story of the impact of an aboriginal elder expanding the welcome to include “welcome to our food, our water and assurance of safety” and emphasised the work of creating safety for community as something we are all involved in.

There were many insightful stories and words of wisdom for leaders with many parallels of experience in leadership that was relevant to the leaders of the AOD sector in this time.

We were challenged to “step up and lead” and to “remember who we are accountable to”, we are accountable to the people we serve and the community, forgetting that is perilous for leaders and we need to measure all that we do against that accountability.

“We are often limited by what it is we think we might lose, real or not.”

We were encouraged to consider the 10 desires of human beings from Hugh McKay’s What Makes Us Tick:

  • Desire to belong

  • Desire to have something to believe in

  • Desire to be taken seriously

  • Desire to connect

  • Desire to be useful

  • Desire to be loved

  • Desire for control

  • Desire for something to happen

  • Desire for more

  • Desire for our place

Christine encouraged us to ask questions, be willing to participate, remember we are ALL equals, we need to suspend judgement, acknowledge different learning styles and ensure we have times of reflection and networking

Forty-one participants of the CAN forum completed the evaluation survey. Overall there was a positive response from the evaluation. All were either satisfied or very satisfied with the content of the forum with 95% very satisfied with Christine Nixon as a speaker. Between 93-98% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the relevance of the content to their work, the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the forum. Some of the comments were:

“Christine was awesome! Feeling inspired and grateful to hear her and her wisdom!”

“This was better than I expected, more relevant than I expected”

“This was a great workshop, thanks for making this happen”

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