Larissa Brown
Larissa Brown

The Centre for Sustainability Leadership is searching for the next 25 people who can change the world – or try to.

On offer is a full scholarship – worth $15,000 – for an intensive seven month course that will teach the participants leadership skills in 19 core competencies including public speaking and effective lobbying.

The program, which runs out of Melbourne and Sydney involves weekly workshops, group project activities, a mentorship program and four residential retreats.

According to the Foundation’s website: “Emerging leaders are pushed beyond their respective comfort zones, resulting in a dramatic recalibration of their confidence, competence and expectations.

“Our vision for the Fellowship Program curriculum is to change lives by providing fellows with the vision, tools, networks and inspiration to change the world.”

If this sounds ambitious, then that’s as it should, says the Foundation’s executive director and founder Larissa Brown.

Brown told TFE she founded the organisation six years ago after a string of aborted university degrees that promised but did not deliver the skills for making a deep impact on the world around her.

“I was frustrated and couldn’t find the right course so I decided to start it myself.”

First, Brown contacted a range of existing leaders, including experienced public speakers for advice on what sort of skills needed to be taught and to help devise a program.

Next she persuaded a number of philanthropists and the Victorian and NSW governments to fund the program.

Since then graduates have come from all walks of life; there have been lawyers, engineers, artists, company executives and community graduates.

Participants are asked to contribute $3500 towards the course if they can afford it, otherwise they are offered a full scholarship, Brown says.

Applications close 28 February. For more details and application form go to:  https://csl.org.au/index.php

Graduates from past programs include:

Lindsay Soutar, community activist

About three years ago myself and some friends formed a climate action group in Newtown that met in the local pub. It started off with just a group of concerned friends but now we’ve grown in profile and numbers and can no longer meet at the pub! We are working in our local community and with other climate actions groups around Australia to advocate for real action on climate change. My professional background is in academic research.

Daniel Sturrock, investment banker

I’m an investment banker and worked for 10 years at Macquarie Bank. When I lost my New York job at the end of 2008, I moved back to Australia and became an independent consultant working mostly in the renewable energy sector. The Fellowship Program looked like the perfect, short study program that would complement my professional experience.

Erin Cini, sustainable infrastructure

I’m an engineer, with a background in the water industry and delivering big infrastructure projects. Recently I have taken on the role of National Sustainability Coordinator with an engineering consultancy where I am developing processes and tools to incorporate sustainability, carbon assessment and climate change adaptation into our projects.

Ross Harding

I studied mechanical engineering and finance then went to Sweden and studied renewable energy. I’m currently working as a building services consultant, teaming up with architects to design buildings to minimise their impact on the environment.

Amy Kean, mainstreaming green business

I work at Pinpoint Earth, helping businesses to implement products and services which save energy and water resources using incentives and rewards. I joined the Fellowship Program to learn from like-minded colleagues about overcoming the challenges to integrating sustainability into business.

Matthew Gordon, supporting industry

I work in the Sustainable Solutions Unit at the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria and decided to in the Fellowship Program to enhance my leadership skills and personal development.

Ellen Sandell, youth leadership

“I am Victorian Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and was their ambassador at the UN climate change negotiations in Bali and in Poland. I am responsible for the Leadership in Environmental Action Program (LEAP) which is held for high school students each September.

Sheree Marris, aquatic scientist and communicatior

I am trained as aquatic scientist and run my own environmental communications consulting business, Sheree Marris, where I work with the government and corporate sector to develop innovative environmental projects.

For me it is about trying to develop ways to engage people with the environment and that value that lies within this. My communications also extends into co-hosting a radio show, writing books and producing environmental documentaries.