Leadership & Mentoring

Each year, up to 35 Pacific women scholars are selected to participate in the Women's Leadership Initiative's Leadership & Mentoring program.

Participants represent a group of high-calibre women with a shared vision for positive reform and a demonstrated capacity for developmental leadership. 

Over 18 months, each participant is supported to develop their own leadership style and to effectively exercise leadership in the Pacific. This is achieved through a carefully tailored program that includes two residential intensives, professional coaching, analysis of real life scenarios and challenges, and mentoring by influential Australian women. 

Within months of being on the program, participants notice improved confidence and leadership capabilities, identify areas to apply their leadership tools, and enjoy extended networks and enduring links. 

Leadership is about continuously adapting and reinventing yourself to be relevant to any calling; women's leadership reflects that best.

Eselealofa Apinelu (Tuvalu) 2019 Participant

Bespoke coaching 

Participants are offered one-on-one issues-based coaching sessions with the Women's Leadership Initiative coach. These sessions give participants a safe space to work through the barriers holding them back from achieving their full leadership potential.

Residential intensives 

Participants undertake two week-long residential leadership intensives. During these two intensives, participants learn about developmental and adaptive leadership, engage in learning sessions with prominent Pacific and Australian women and men, and test their understandings of, and approaches to, leadership and what this means in their personal contexts.

Real issue challenges 

All participants identify and take on an initiative that addresses an actual developmental issue in their community, country or region. By tackling this issue, they are able to embed their leadership learning, test their skills and challenge themselves in a real-life scenario.

Participants work closely with their mentors, the Women's Leadership Initiative team and their own communities to address issues that will represent real change for them.

Mentoring with Australian women leaders 

Each participant is matched with an Australian woman mentor who provides one-on-one guidance, support and advice to the participant for the duration of their time on the program. The mentoring relationship is individualised around areas of common professional and leadership interest.

Leadership experts

Throughout the program, participants have access to subject matter experts from the Australian National University's Department of Pacific Affairs. These experts help build knowledge and networks around participants' specific areas of interest.

Exercising effective leadership with legitimacy and influence is a complex endeavour, particularly so for women operating in male-dominated domains, and potentially even more so for women in the Pacific.

Elise Howard, Department of Pacific Affairs