Governor's Leadership Foundation

Patron - The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC

Participant Testimonial

"Participating in Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program provided an unique opportunity to work collaboratively with other leaders from a broad range of industries, government and the not for profit sector.   The course shifted and broadened my perspective on issues impacting South Australia and enriched my leadership capability with adaptive leadership tools and a knowledge of co-design principles.  I would recommend the course to anyone that is willing to open their heart and mind and participate in what is a truly unique experience to develop as a leader."

Liz Brierley, Head of Asset Management at South East Australia Gas Pty Ltd

The Governor's Leadership Foundation Program

The Governor's Leadership Foundation (GLF) program is the Leaders Institute's renowned flagship program. This extraordinary program takes leadership development to a remarkable new level, and participant learning extends well beyond the initial 10-month program involvement. Designed to broaden, enhance and accelerate leadership capability, you will be challenged, inspired and confronted through experiential, reflective and interactive learning.

The GLF has been running since 2000, and we now have more than 620 graduates, 95% of whom remain in SA, contributing at senior levels of leadership in their organisations and in the broader community. 

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Program Overview

The GLF program is a unique and challenging program - an unconventional, unmatched, life-changing experience. Participants commit to a challenging, action-packed ten months participating in regular experiential sessions (including sessions on farms, in businesses, in a prison, in Parliament House, an Aboriginal community, homeless centres, Government House and more) and three weekends away between February and November. The program stretches participants intellectually and personally and develops practical wisdom. Participants return an immediate positive impact to their organisations through improved judgement, interpersonal awareness, greater leadership capacity and maturity, personal insight and a more balanced view of the interactions between economy, society and environment.

The dynamic, interactive format focusses on developing and enhancing practical wisdom through reflection (reading, thinking, discussing), learning from leaders who are experts in their field and immersion in thought-provoking experiences that challenge worldviews and extend understanding.

Participants develop capacities of mind that enable them to contribute more effectively to all of the communities of which they are a part – workplace, family and society.

The program provides participants with an invaluable opportunity to:

  • Broaden their knowledge of complex issues and exchange ideas with outstanding leaders
  • Explore aspects of our society they might otherwise never experience (including sessions hosted in various businesses, Parliament House, Government House, farms, Aboriginal communities, prisons, courts, services for the homeless, government facilities and regional and rural communities)
  • Move out of their comfort zone, think beyond individual interests, rise above differences and work collaboratively with others
  • Expand self-awareness and wisdom, improve resilience, decision-making and reasoning capability.

Key elements of the program include:

  • Official launch at Government House
  • Monthly issues-based seminars
  • Three field trips and retreats involving nights away
  • High level out-of-program requirements (reading, reflection, action learning)
  • Personal leadership development and individual coaching sessions
  • Group case study work
  • Action learning project work
  • Community service
  • Graduation ceremony


  • 10 month program, February - November
  • 2 - 3 half and full day modules per month 
  • High level out of program requirements (reading, reflection, action learning)
  • 3 field trips and retreats involving nights away

Download the 2019 scheduled dates here:

2019 GLF scheduled dates 2019 GLF scheduled dates (78 KB)

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Program Outcomes

Many leaders today are unprepared to meet the adaptive challenges we face in a world of escalating complexity and ambiguity. We need to develop our leaders earlier and more rapidly if we are to meet these challenges successfully in our organisations and communities. Leaders today need to engage both in the head and the heart, developing new skills and competencies, as well as courage, spirit and connection to purpose. This will enable them to help others navigate through the conflict, frustration and fear catalysed by uncertainty.

Leaders today must also be willing to collaborate with people with very different perspectives, abilities and experience in order to create novel solutions. They need to be prepared to take risks and experiment. Self-awareness and strategic foresight capacity are essential.

The GLF program is designed to develop the consciousness needed to lead in the midst of such complexity. Investment in the GLF program returns direct results. Participants bring an immediate, positive impact to their organisations through improved judgement, interpersonal awareness, greater leadership capacity and maturity, personal insight and a more balanced view of the interactions between economy, society and environment.

Participants benefit from:

  • Enhanced strategic foresight capacity through a broader understanding of issues that matter to the future of our nation, State, organisations and communities
  • A deeper understanding of complexity, interconnectedness and actionable solutions
  • More confidence in exercising leadership knowledge and ability
  • Increased courage for working in ambiguity, taking informed risks and experimenting
  • A greater ability to make wiser, more informed, and collaborative decisions
  • The ability to self-reflect, question and potentially transform existing value systems
  • Increased self-awareness and connection to purpose
  • Better access to strategic information from more diverse sources
  • Vastly expanded personal and professional networks.

Why The Governor's Leadership Program?

Independent research conducted by the University of Adelaide School of Business, reported that the GLF program ‘has the strongest imaginable positive endorsement from its graduates’. The researchers said the program’s ‘overall impact for the vast majority was profound, even life-changing’. For more information read the report:

GLF Impact Study GLF Impact Study (7568 KB)

Investment in the GLF provides substantial returns through immediate learning and growth, as well impacts well beyond the program year. You will gain a greater understanding of yourself as an individual and as a contributor to organisational and societal leadership needs and possibilities. Through deeper perspectives and immersion into current issues, you will gain greater insights into navigating the complexities of effective and sound leadership.

You will have a deeper appreciation for identifying and responding to the issues that really matter through experiential learning and personal coaching. Outcomes of improved decision making and increased professional capacities will give you greater leadership confidence as you interact with the world around you to benefit individuals, organisations and our State as a whole. The GLF also offers long term learning through enormously expanded networks and life membership of the Leaders Institute of SA.

GLF Alumni

The GLF is an opportunity to join the dynamic and varied alumni of over 620 diverse and high level program graduates – a network of influential, passionate decision makers inspired to make a difference in their careers and communities.

On completion of the program, graduates are awarded Life Membership of the GLF Alumni and are provided with regular opportunities for professional and personal development, meaningful community involvement and networking opportunities. This can include participation in a Governor's Think Tank, alumni social events,  joining an exclusive Boardroom Truths lunch or participation in CEDA and AICD events at a discounted rate.  Alumni also get two credits towards an MBA at the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

2000-2016 GLF Alumni Member List 2000-2016 GLF Alumni Member List (5624 KB)

Application Process

Places in the Governor's Leadership Foundation program are competitive. The Leaders Institute seeks a diverse range of applicants from the private, government and not-for-profit sectors. Leaders with a disability or from the disability sector, regional and Aboriginal leaders are encouraged to apply.

We are still accepting applications in some categories for 2019. Please email us for more information or call us on (08) 8302 0048.

Investment & Scholarships

The program fee for 2019 is $12,950 (plus GST).  Several full and partial scholarships are available. Payment plans are available.

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GLF Testimonials

“The GLF is a transformational program that will help you develop insight and awareness into yourself, your industry and contemporary issues in South Australia”
Ben Taylor, Director of Operations, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation

“The GLF has been a life-enhancing experience for me. Self-growth and awareness has been exponential and exposure to an amazing personal and professional network have been stand-outs”
Claire Taylor, Senior Programme Officer, Youth and family Courts Liaison, DECD

“GLF provided a unique and valuable opportunity to explore and learn about leadership from a wide variety of perspectives. The best thing about GLF is the collective experience that you can’t buy. It was so incredibly valuable to be able to establish connections with everyone in the cohort. I feel very privileged to be part of this experience”
Joanne Cys, Dean: Academic, Division of Education, Arts & Social Sciences, University of South Australia

“The GLF year has been an amazing experience of deep transformation, inner growth & awareness. I’ve expanded my understanding of leadership beyond the boundaries of career pathways & ambitions to all other areas of my life and making the GLF a holistic experience”
Kaylene Kerdel Program manager, Aboriginal Youth Health WCHN

“The GLF is a game changer. It is like no other personal development you will ever undertake. The principles and learnings from GLF will change your approach to life, work and community for the positive”
Myron Mann, CEO Rossiter’s Pty Ltd

“The GLF gives you an opportunity to grow and develop yourself in a challenging but supportive environment. It is an environment which allows you to express yourself and work through your own development in a way not afforded by any other program”
Robran Cock, Regional Operations Manager, Trility Ltd

“GLF opened opportunities to explore and think about issues in ways that I have never experienced before. The increased exposure to tools and issues have helped me to increase my self-awareness, how I work with others and how I try to find answers to problems. An invaluable experience”
Tony Fox, District Manager, DEWNR

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