Great Southern Adventures

By Rise
24 May 2021
Following an early start at East Perth on Tuesday morning, I boarded a bus and headed for Karla Katijun (fire knowledge), the brand new Centre of Bushfire Excellence based inland of Mandurah.  It was developed with significant consultation with the local Aboriginal community, particularly for sharing knowledge on traditional methods of fire and forest management.  We also heard from the Emergency Services Officer who was integral to coordinating WA's response to managing the cruise ships that arrived off the coast of Fremantle in the midst of the COVID pandemic - some amazing learnings as leaders in terms of developing policy and process as circumstances emerge, and being prepared to change quickly when information and health advice changes. 

We then went on a tour of the Pinjarra Massacre Site on the river by Pinjarra, where we visited beautiful local seasonal totems.  It was saddening to learn more about the massacre that occurred here in the mid 1800's and how the recognition of the impact on the local Aboriginal people continues to be poorly recognised, understood or acknowledged.


It was a chilly overnight in Narrogin before another early start to travel to the Katanning Agricultural Research Farm.  There is valuable transferrable knowledge from the agricultural sector to any workplace - collecting and using relevant data for decision-making, and presenting key information in computer dashboard form to direct activities and respond to risks.  I also found out that 1kg of lamb creates about 8kg of CO2 emissions - but 1kg of wool creates 30kg of CO2!  However, agriculture from growing crops also contributes significant CO2 to the environment.  The farm aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 - and the discovery of a carbon-eliminating seaweed might help to do just that!  The seaweed was identified in the UK and grows naturally in WA, so as long as the sheep and cattle are happy to eat tiny amounts of it, their carbon-contributing burps could potentially be eliminated!  Another great leadership learning - be open to new discoveries that you may never have thought of!

After dinner and discussion with a number of community leaders including the president of the Shire of Murray, the Regional Director of WA Country Health Services and the Chair of the Collie Rotary, followed by an even colder night in Collie, we were treated to an inspirational presentation and Q&A with the Principal of Collie Senior High School.  Her vision for the school students and teachers, her care for the kids and her belief in them to be able to achieve anything, were fabulous.  Kerry is a great leader in her community who is determined to contribute to changing the reputation of Collie from just being a coal mining town to being a thriving community with many local opportunities.  She had some great lessons for our group of leaders - focus on what's important, remember self-care in times of stress, and prioritise helping others to be their best selves.

I'm feeling thoroughly inspired and energised as a result of the trip, and so appreciative of Rise for support of my participation in this executive leadership program.  The learnings inform the leadership approach that I use at Rise, and that I share in my coaching and mentoring of other leaders in our wonderful organisation.


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