As an upcoming senior leader at Discovery Parks, part of the G’Day Group, I was encouraged to pursue an ILF grant by our CEO, Grant Wilckens, who had received a grant in 2014 for an Executive Leadership course at Stanford. He has always referred to his time at Stanford as a pivotal one in his leadership journey and has been a big advocate for the ILF and the opportunities it provides. I had just been promoted to General Manager – Investment, and with an expanded role I was keen to identify ways to expand my capacity and effectiveness.
The application process was a great opportunity to reflect on what my unique leadership brand was and the areas I wanted to develop. The ILF team provided great and timely support and their engagement made the process clear and transparent. The interview with four of the ILF Board Members was humbling and such an encouragement to meet strong advocates of SA Business.
In choosing my course I was initially overwhelmed with the international education platform opened up to me, but in reflecting on my skill gaps I quickly narrowed my focus. I chose to do a course at Harvard Business School, Changing the Game, Negotiation and Critical Decision Making. I chose something that would put me well and truly outside of my comfort zone, where I knew I would get the maximum benefit. The course was a full week with lots of evening preparation required for negotiation simulations the next day. It was intense but I was fuelled by the adrenaline of the opportunity I had been granted. I met and interacted with interesting, diverse people from around the world and the lecturers were inspiring with their own stories of corporate success and lessons learnt. The Harvard approach of learning through case studies was refreshing and stimulating. It was an experience that expanded my boundaries for the better. It gave me tools to refine my deal making skills which are critical for my role in Acquisitions and Development. Not only did we learn technical ways in which to approach and prepare for a negotiation, but the science behind influence and effective communication. No matter what area you work in, we can all benefit from this!
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity ILF gave me and lessons I have learnt. A life changing experience!