Today the 2019 Social Change Fellows joining the W100 Scholars of the Westpac Foundation were announced, and I am humbled to be named among them.
This is an unbelievable opportunity, and I’m still pinching myself.
I have been granted $50,000 that I must invest in a development plan to increase the impact that I am capable of having as a social entrepreneur and change agent.
The funds will be spent capacity building, scaling the work I do with Champions Academy and using what I have learned to develop a global community of interest around the theme of rural contraction, decline and exodus, and showcasing extraordinary stories of renewal and revitalisation.
As part of this journey I will be travelling to Boston Massachusetts where I will attend Harvard University to undertake intensive courses in Design Thinking; Innovative Solutions to Complex Problems; and Leadership Communication.
In addition to being granted access to the Westpac Foundations’ network of professional expertise, I will also be working with some of the brightest minds and leading social impact organisations in Australia to scale the Champions Academy model and reach more communities in need.
I am so very grateful to the Westpac Foundation for this opportunity, and I am ready to embrace the challenge and learn all that I can, and implement it into everything I’m working on.
I hope to deepen my understanding of how we are changing as a society and discover insights along the way that help rural and regional communities to move out of a holding pattern of survival, and into a time of prosperity.
My heartfelt congratulations to my fellow 2019 Social Change Scholars:
- Jethro Sercombe (Anglicare);
- Tanya Dupagne (Camp Kulin);
- Usman Iftikhar (Catalysr);
- Lyndon Galea (Eat Up);
- Dr Shelley Bowen (Health Futures Australia);
- Nipuni Wijewickrema (GG’s Hampers & Flowers);
- Vicoria Haar (Future Leaders);
- Skye O’Meara (APY Arts Centre Collective); and
- Summer Elizabeth (AbleFinder).
Each of these people are leading an initiative that aims to improve the wellbeing of Australians, and I hold them in the highest regard.
What a journey we have embarked upon together!
We will be officially inducted at the W100 Scholars Summit and Awards Ceremony in Sydney in April. In the meantime, I have a big learning curve ahead of me and will be learning as much as I can during my time in Boston.
In I go, boots ‘n all!