Leadership in the AOD sector – not just about me….

In October 2013, my manager attended an information session about a new leadership program implemented by the then Department of Health (now Department of Health and Human Services) and other supporting agencies[1]. When she returned, she said to me “Kerri, I think you should apply for that Change Agent Network project that is being initiated by Turning Point”. She said, “you have got a lot longer in your career then me. I think you will have more to offer”. I was pleased she suggested it and so I applied. I was very hopeful in being selected to be part of the Change Agent Network.

At the time I was accepted, I understood that I would have to do some training and commit to certain activities. I wasn’t completely clear on what. Mostly however, during this phase, I think I wanted to be acknowledged as an emerging leader in the alcohol and other drug sector.

Reflecting back now, I think my ego may have blurred my vision or at least narrowed it for such a unique project. This project is not really about acknowledgement of individual achievement or “leaders”, in fact it is quite the opposite. Having completed two additional days training with Leadership Victoria in April this year and having the great honour of meeting a new cohort of established and emerging leaders to work as part of the Change Agent Network, it has reaffirmed what I now know about being part of the Change Agent Network.

The Change Agent Network is about having an opportunity to meet passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated people from across the state of Victoria that can work, learn and develop partnerships and work to embed evidence based practice in the alcohol and drug sector. Our goal for this year is to embed evidence based practice around trauma informed care[2].

The two days of Leadership training completed in April this year which included the induction of new members was a unique time for members of the Change Agent Network to have the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a great leader. It reinforced what some of the current members have experienced in the past twelve to eighteen months. We have had many inspiring and unique opportunities to meet and hear from leaders, many from outside the AOD field who have done things differently, faced challenges and forged forward, despite sometimes difficult hurdles being placed in their path.

I could not have imagined when I applied for the Change Agent Network that I would have gained as much as I have, not only from the training provided by Leadership Victoria, but also from meeting and working with such amazingly skilled people all of which are working in the alcohol and other drug sector in Victoria, who are extremely passionate and generous with their time.

To finish this blog I’m attaching a link to a video that provides a great lesson in leadership. Here we see that leaders mostly get the credit, but really it’s the second and third followers who are true leaders and it’s them that really get things moving.

Kerri Felemonow – Deputy Convenor of the Change Agent Network.

Social Worker, Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service, The Royal Women’s Hospital

[1] THIS INITIATIVE WAS ESTABLISHED BY TURNING POINT AND IS SUPPORTED BY VAADA, THE BOUVERIE CENTRE, LEADERSHIP VICTORIA, BENDIGO COMMUNITY HEALTH AND FUNDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

[2] THE CHANGE AGENT NETWORK UNDERTOOK AN AOD SECTOR SURVEY LATE 2014 TO IDENTIFY THE MAIN AREAS OF CLINICAL CONCERN FOR AOD COUNSELLORS IN WORKING WITH A COMPLEX AND VARIED CLIENT GROUP. ONE OF THE MAIN AREAS WAS TRAUMA INFORMED CARE. (SEE 30 MARCH 2015 BLOGHTTP://CHANGEAGENTNETWORK.NET/2015/03/)


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