City program boosts emerging leaders

Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan with 2023 Community Leadership Program graduates. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

The latest cohort of Geelong’s aspiring leaders graduated from the City’s Community Leadership Program this week at civic precinct Wurriki Nyal.

The free program is designed to equip participants with the personal and professional skills to take their leadership abilities to the next level, bringing together people from across the region and from many areas of community and professional life.

Run over eight full-day sessions from March to October, the program fosters a deeper understanding of the Geelong community, connections with peers and development of knowledge and tools crucial to effective leadership.

Program participant Melissa Hutchinson, who has volunteered at Bellarine Living and Learning Centre for five years and served on the committee this year, said she hadn’t expected to be accepted to the program but was glad she was.

“It was really great, I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of the sessions,” she said.

“What I loved about it was connecting with other people in the community, opening up new doors.

“I just made the most of it, took in everything. Even though I knew some of the stuff already, especially with the neighbourhood houses, it was really refreshing to look at it through another set of eyes.”

Deputy mayor Anthony Aitken thanked the participants employers for supporting them to attend the program.

“I’m sure it was a valuable learning experience, and my hope is that all participants will have takeaways that assist in managing future relationships, increasing community engagement and building capacity in the workplace and in their local communities,” Deputy Mayor Aitken said.

“Many among our 17 participants were already making a difference in our community and my hope is that the skills acquired will ultimately benefit residents right across our region.”

Applications for the 2024 Community Leadership Program are now open until November 27. Visit to apply or for more information.