Our impact

Helping create impactful leaders since 2000

Creating an impact

Grounded in holistic leadership development, that inspires, connects and transforms individuals, we are proud to celebrate 25 years of being an Institute of Impact.

In 2023 we commissioned independent research to assess just how real our impact has been over the past decade.

We are humbled by the results. The fact that our alumni, employers, supporters and community organisations have spoken so highly of our work, brings us great joy and the impetus to continue.

At a time when the world is increasingly complex and ambiguous, to have 92% of GLF alumni surveyed say they feel more prepared to meet the inherent challenges, confirms that we are meeting employers’ and community needs – these are the critical skills of our time.

View the Leaders Institute 2024 Impact Report here.

You can support our work by donating to our newly created Impact Fund.

GLF Opening at Government House

GLF Graduation Audience
Dennis Mutton
As a founding member it fills me with pride to experience first-hand the outcomes of the program reflected in the capability and delivery of strong leadership in this State.
–Dennis Mutton, Foundation Member, Dennis Mutton Award

Stories of our impact

Hear from some of our inspiring Alumni and their stories of impact

Heather Croall

Heather Croall AM

FGLF 2017

CEO/Artistic Director at Adelaide Fringe

"The GLF program gave me the specific, practical, and relevant techniques that helped me navigate my organisation as CEO, through a digital transformation. I came away with a multi-dimensional view of how to lead across all layers, with better collaborative and co-design problem-solving techniques. This helped create a more empathetic team situation, fostering trust that allowed for good solutions to emerge from a process rather than rushing to the answer. Being more flexible, knowing how to overcome resistance in the team and understanding problem-solving in a different way helped me get people to come along on the journey, and implement deep transformative change.

"Since completing the GLF, I am more active in community, and have created the opportunity for staff within my organisation to have 3 hours a month of volunteering within work hours, as well as volunteering for the organisation. I’m more committed to including other communities and putting a spotlight on First Nation communities wherever possible. This has also helped to shape the values of the organisation in ways that hadn’t been articulated, or as strong as before.

"For me, the real change is being able to deal everyday with the fast-paced changing world that we live in. GLF really helped me deal with the stressors and expectations with a CEO role. It's such a big-time commitment but it has to be, and it stays with you – if it was shorter, it wouldn’t be as impactful.”

Heather Croall was supported by a scholarship from the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation.

Fida Hussain

Fida Hussain

FGLF 2023

Cultural Awareness Officer at Australian Refugee Association

"The Governors Leadership Foundation program has played a crucial role in shaping my trajectory as a young leader by equipping me with the skills necessary to navigate the complexities of today’s dynamic and ever-changing world. As a social worker engaged in adaptive leadership training, I am better equipped to address the unique challenges within the community sector.

"The program has enabled me to mobilise, inspire others, and contribute to positive social change. It has further enhanced my capacity to address immediate concerns and respond effectively to future challenges, thereby making a lasting impact on the communities I serve".

Fida Hussain was supported by scholarship funds from Mike and Mary Heard and the Day Family Foundation Foundation.

Ma Musu Kugba Nyande

Ma-Musu Kugba Nyande

FGLF 2019

Cultural Awareness Officer at Australian Refugee Association

As a participant of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation program, Ma-Musu grew her leadership skills and used the adaptive leadership model to push her personal and professional development.

“Through this course I became a better leader to others, but most importantly a better person to myself,” she said. Ma-Musu organised a youth-led elder support initiative during COVID which included regular check-ins, grocery shopping and emotional support.

“Before completing the course, I wouldn't have felt confident reaching out to other community members due to internal community politics, but I felt equipped with the necessary skills and self-assuredness about the purpose behind the initiative to support the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Ma-Musu Kugba Nyande was supported by a scholarship from the GLF Alumni.

Chris Dickson

Chris Dickson

GLF 2022

MAB Project Director

"My journey through the GLF was a sliding doors moment, although not one I realised for some time and not without the help of 41 other remarkable leaders from different walks of life. There is a deep seeded power in diversity and the perspectives it can afford you which is the greatest gift the GLF offers, but it’s your willingness to be open and to learn from these, without judgement.

"Through my career I had been given an idea of leadership and found myself in positions of leadership, sometimes by trial and fire but it appeared to work out and I felt comfortable in what I assumed was ‘good’ leadership. In reflecting on my year and a bit since completing the GLF course I can honestly say that my view of leadership has completely changed and with that my approach to leading a development business that interacts with thousands of stakeholders has benefitted from this.

"My newfound ability to step back from situations where I once lead technically and observe interactions and emotions of those we engage with is the greatest opportunity to find mutual ground and common purpose.

"My impact as a leader has only just begun, but it’s one which I now see as limitless and driven by higher-purpose than that of positional influence."

Alex Emmerich

Alex Emmerich

GLF 2021

Masters Student

"Through the GLF I gained the confidence to transform my life and have moved from chaos to creating a new foundation for myself.

"In 2021, I was selected to develop a new service model for the Adelaide Primary Health Network's Service Navigation Measure, allowing me to utilise my leaderships skills across a range of domains and was able to apply many of my GLF learnings around systems. My self-awareness had increased in relation to staff and other stakeholders, and I often found myself on the balcony, rather than the dancefloor, in terms of decision-making processes during the project development and pilot phases.

"My last role saw me extending myself from the mental health space into community development, as the Coordinator of the Department of Human Services' Community Connections Program, leading a team across metro and regional SA. I contribute in a volunteer capacity to the service development of the Statewide Eating Disorder Service at the WCHN and the new residential facility at the Repat as a carer on the consumer advisory committee, as well as the update of the Eating Disorder Mental Health First Aid through Melbourne University.

"I have experienced, and continue to experience, significant personal and professional growth and have become more comfortable with risk taking, being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to try new things. The GLF cemented my values in life, one of them being a lifelong learner.

"This Semester I commenced my Masters in Counselling Practice full-time, being drawn to explore the therapeutic space and looking to utilise my lived experience as a carer. As I learnt at the opening retreat in 2021, 'my handbrake' was fear of rejection, which had always impacted on my ability to set boundaries and recognise my self worth. The GLF helped me release the handbrake and life went in a whole new direction after that."

Alex Emmerich was supported by a scholarship from REDARC Australia.

Simon Moody

Simon Moody

FGLF 2016

Managing Director

“For me the GLF was a steep learning curve. When I started this ‘leadership’ course, I thought I was going to learn about leadership, but I ended up learning about the world. The GLF makes you think big, but also gives you the tools to look big and examine the landscape. This helped me shift from operational to strategic thinking and made me realise that your own view may be flawed so you must be flexible enough to shift your thinking.

"I started to understand the importance of bringing new ideas and keeping it fresh at work and brought some of the ethos into my workplace. My own development of curiosity spread to increasing the curiosity of my team, and helped changed the emphasis from doing things the ‘right or wrong way’ and instead, asking is the approach working for our customers. Now as a team Director, I have implemented the GLF learnings and practices, and believe in continuously upskilling people.”

Gemma Cooper

Gemma Cooper

FGLF 2021

Head of Transformation, Mental Health & Wellbeing Service

"The GLF was a transformative experience for me. It inspired me to challenge my limits and push myself beyond my comfort zone. Through the GLF, I learned the importance of self-awareness and the immense impact it has on my leadership style. Recognising my strengths and weaknesses, enabled an enhanced self-awareness which has not only made me become a better leader but also a better person.

"Meeting 40 other people, also on this journey provided light and dark contrasts which provided me the confidence to reshape my life and help re-find the values and principles that I believe so strongly in. The GLF also instilled in me a deep sense of empathy and compassion. It taught me listen actively, understand diverse perspectives and value the contributions of every individual.

"True leadership lies in fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, where everyone feels valued and motivated to give their best. The GLF experience has made me more determined than ever to make a positive impact on the lives of others and to give back.

"For me, ultimately, the course provided the greatest investment we can make in ourselves, which is time. Owning our leadership means taking full responsibility for who we are as a leader every day. How we show up. The decisions we make. How others experience us. The purpose we are serving. The organisations we work for do not create our leadership; we do. The GLF reminded me that smart leaders understand that they are never done learning, because learning is a lifelong process. They treat learning as an investment in themselves."

Gemma Cooper was supported by a scholarship from REDARC Australia.

Saras Suresh Kumar

Saras Suresh Kumar

FGLF 2017

Conservation Management

"Doing the GLF showed me the reason I needed to step up into a new role and gave me the confidence and knowledge to make the leap from government into a social enterprise. I have applied the techniques and skills developed in adaptive leadership and combined that with the adaptive management framework that Conservation Management uses to support Indigenous communities in land and sea management around the world.

"As the support we provide changes to adapt to the needs of the communities we work with, I frequently find myself connecting to networks in South Australia and often finding that the common thread we have is as GLF Alumni. It's not just about having done the course but having a common understanding of the wicked problems that we are working to solve. These skills and networks are what I will continue to lean on as I lead the organisation through its next evolution."