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RESILIENCE, a collaborative mindset and confidence in change management are some of the outcomes community leaders can gain from a series of online forums this month. 

As coronavirus social distancing restrictions ease, community leaders likely need to adapt their practices and planning to recognise changing times. 

Wimmera Development Association and its long-running leadership development program, Leadership Wimmera, will host a community leaders series of lunchtime forums during June. 

The series begins on Tuesday, June 16 addressing the topic: What is community leadership? Northern Grampians Shire Council chief executive Liana Thompson and Uniting Wimmera executive officer Josh Koenig, also a Horsham Rural City councillor, will share their leadership journeys and what community leadership means to them. Register here.

On Tuesday, June 23 at a forum discussing collaboration, Wimmera Health Care Group’s Amelia Crafter will share how the organisation worked with health officials, governments and the community to fund and build the Wimmera Cancer Centre, based in Horsham. Register here.

The final forum, on June 30, will discuss how people and groups can create a “new normal” in changing environments. Jo Bourke will share the challenges and successes of the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline project that changed the way rural properties access water. Register here.

Christine Kotur will lead the discussions. Ms Kotur provides expert professional services in the fields of strategy, governance, leadership development, complex inquiries, reviews and facilitation. She is a highly regarded independent chair, company director and strategic advisor to CEOs, senior executives, board chairs and directors, councillors and committees

Services, business models and policies are reshaping right now, by forces beyond our control,” Ms Kotur said. 

“It’s time to pause, get on the balcony and draw down every lesson, experience, story, idea and good advice you heard probably thinking you’d ‘come back to that later’. Come back to that knowledge now. 

People will need strong community leaders more than ever and that means we can’t stop learning.”

Wimmera Development Association executive director Chris Sounness said Ms Kotur was an outstanding presenter whose experience with and learnings from government inquiries and Royal Commissions had earned her immense respect. Ms Kotur is Leadership Victoria’s Leader in Residence. 

Chris is one of the best in the business in understanding how communities move through crisis. She will share what helps communities bounce back better than ever, how others reinvented themselves, and why some really struggled to pull through,” Mr Sounness said. 

He said the association was offering the forums at no cost as a way to support the community as it responded to the health crisis. 

COVID-19 is no different to any crisis in the community – people need to stand up. Our challenge at this point is to define how we, as a region, emerge post COVID-19 and keep working together for the best possible outcomes for our community and our people, Mr Sounness said. 

Chris Kotur believes that local leaders stepping up can lead to successful communities; if leadership is left to governments or other parties then recovery is far harder. 

“Our forums are all about local stories and local leadership, sharing ‘warts and all’ their experiences so others can learn from them.” 

The forums will run via Zoom and open at 12.15pm for a 12.30pm start. Recordings will be available.