Johnathon Matthews (ILF2014)


Institution: Australian Institute of Company Directors
Course: Company Directors Course

The Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) provides a unique opportunity for current and aspiring leaders to develop their skills and knowledge. I would strongly encourage those that have a desire to lead in the development of South Australia to apply.

The Application Process
Upon first hearing about the ILF, I thought it was an interesting initiative but not something I would have time to apply for given my existing commitments. After speaking to Geoff Vogt about the application process however, I was encouraged that it appeared to be relatively straightforward and non-bureaucratic.

Not only was the second stage of the application process well structured, but I also found that it was a beneficial exercise to undertake regardless of whether I was successful or not. Like many people who have a young family and a demanding job, it provided me with a good excuse to pause and reflect on the importance of leadership, the characteristics of leaders that are most important and the elements of leadership that I needed to focus on to improve my capabilities.

The third part of the application process was also enjoyable and involved having an interesting discussion with members of the selection panel, all of whom share the same strong desire to improve outcomes for South Australia.

Company Directors Course, Australian Institute of Company Directors
One of the unique aspects of the ILF is that it allows applicants to choose the course that they wish to undertake. Based on my circumstances at the time, I chose to complete the Company Directors Course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. This was a beneficial course to undertake given my position as business manager and executive director of a medical device manufacturer that had informally evolved its board practices over a period of sustained growth.

The five-day course was facilitated superbly. I gained new perspectives on how to manage businesses more effectively and successfully. In particular, the course gave me greater insights into strategy development, risk management and corporate governance. Insights that I have since been able to utilise and implement, and which will be useful in the years to come.

Importantly, the course was excellent at drawing out the experiences and expertise from participants across a wide range of industries. This provided for an inquisitive, open and positive learning environment and allowed me to hear first hand examples of challenges and opportunities facing other enterprises.

Continuing Benefits to Awardees
One positive aspect of the ILF that I did not fully appreciate when I first applied was the continuing opportunities that it provides it‘s Scholars. Not only does it provide a fantastic opportunity to meet some very interesting people, but the short courses that the ILF hosts are well-targeted and valuable exercises for those with full time jobs.

We live in an era where capital and technology can move from one jurisdiction to another faster and easier than at any other time in history. The speed and ease of this movement will only increase in the future, presenting us with both significant vulnerabilities and enormous opportunities. If we are to seize the opportunities for our community, we will need to have the best government and institutional settings possible, and critically, we will need leaders who have the optimism, drive and capability to grow our businesses into world-class enterprises. The ILF is without doubt playing a very significant role in achieving this and it is gaining momentum each year.

The ILF is an excellent example of what can come from investing a pool of funds in perpetuity for a targeted social benefit. I would therefore like to thank the organisations that originally contributed to the corpus of funds that makes it all possible, as well as those who decided to transform the fund into a leadership development organisation. In particular, I am very grateful to the Board of the ILF for accepting my application and I would like to thank Geoff Vogt for his encouragement and dedication to the program and its applicants.

Johnathon Matthews