Kelly Keates (ILF2012), (ILF2015)


Institution: Harvard Business School (USA)
Course: Leadership Best Practices

Institution: Said Business School, University of Oxford (UK)
Course: Advanced Management & Leadership Program

It is hard to express the depth of my gratitude to the Industry Leaders Fund for awarding me a grant in 2012 to attend the Harvard Business School Leadership Best Practices Course. It has given me the opportunity to attend a course I always dreamt of, but never thought achievable. It has increased my awareness of my place in the world and taken me out of my office in Edwardstown, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, and given me a new world perspective with an increased awareness of where I fit and my possible impact. It has expanded my helicopter view to a satellite view.

The purpose of the Industry Leaders Grant is to create industry leaders for our state that will help bring South Australia into the world view, and I am so proud to be chosen to further my leadership journey with the group. The application procedure was simple and enlightening for me. The three stages included one with basic information, the second with more detailed requirements exploring why you think you should be considered and what course you would complete if successful, and the third stage is an interview with the board. This process assisted me to take note of my achievements to date and reflect on my future and how to achieve those goals.

Harvard Business School has been rated the number one business school in the world. To be immersed in Harvard, taught by the best faculty, and surrounded by other executives with the desire to improve is an unbelievable opportunity that I was unaware existed until I learnt about the Industry Leaders Fund grant. There were 75 people from 28 countries in my course, from Fortune 500 companies to government ministers, over a wide range of industries. Having such a diverse group of experienced people helped us with increased depth during the leadership discussions. There was an amazing scope of material covered by the most inspirational and knowledgeable lecturers. Staying on campus gave us the opportunity to get to know our course members better and meet others studying at Harvard. Being awarded the grant has also led to other opportunities, like being invited to talk to a group of MBA students and completing the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course. These opportunities were great experiences and assisted with my leadership journey.

I hadn’t studied for over 20 years and am a mostly self-taught CEO, so the idea of studying was pretty daunting, and at the best school, a hugely rewarding self-challenge. It was great to validate my knowledge and see others with the same struggles and concerns. I knew in theory that it is a good idea to continue training during your working life, and now that I have put it into practice I can’t wait to further my knowledge and continually get better. Leaving with the knowledge of how to continue to lead change with heart and guts will benefit me and my businesses future.

  • Who would have thought?
  • What an honour
  • Nothing can stop me now!

The experience of being granted the award and attending the course has increased my understanding and awareness of the world of business and its impact on people. It is the responsibility of our leaders to do the right thing, even if it is more difficult or costly. I am committed to sharing this knowledge with my team, industry and community, and now I have better tools to achieve this. Thank you Industry Leaders Fund for your generous contribution to South Australia’s future.