Sustainability Leadership Development Program

5 months, 14 May - 6 Oct 2018 Newcastle and the Hunter Central Coast region NSW

Grow your capacity, your network and your influence to empower your community.

Information Night 6pm 3 May - Register here

Grow your capacity, your network and your influence to empower your community.

The Sustainability Leadership Development (SLD) program offers a unique opportunity to create collaborative and empowered action in responding to the increasingly complex sustainability challenges facing the Hunter Central Coast Region.

The program’s full value is worth $4,200 per participant, which is funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The participants are expected to pay a heavily subsidised fee depending on their occupation


  • We help you supercharge your POTENTIAL - because right now, we need you standing tall with a positive vision of the future and the confidence and capability to make it happen. You bring the passion and commitment, and we'll bring the 'transformative process for developing individual and collective leadership capability in the 21st Century' (but we promise we'll leave the jargon at the door)!
  • We help you clarify your PURPOSE - because really knowing 'why' is the best way to sharpen 'what' you do and 'how' you do it. Through deep reflection and mindfulness, we help you find what's at the centre of your being. What drives and motivates you? What frustrates you? What turns you on? That's where this program starts.
  • We help you build your TRIBE - because no one can change the world on their own (and it's much less fun that way anyway). We'll link you with great guest speakers, mentors and coaches. You'll build beautiful connections with a new community of Fellows. And you'll also become part of our growing and increasingly influential network of over 600 amazing alumni.

SLD will build the leadership capacity and networks of emerging local government, business and community leaders. The program specifically focuses on skill development in the area of:

  • Visioning and creative problem-solving
  • Project ideation, design, evaluation and action
  • Communications and storytelling
  • Alternative economic models such as social enterprise and crowdsourcing
  • Collaboration, networking and capacity-building for self and community
  • Contribution to achieving net zero emissions in NSW by 2050

What alumni say

I found out how I can support myself to do the work I want to do, and consider how my work can be most impactful

AMELIA DUCKER, Independent Artist & Education / Outreach Officer, Whitlam Institute
CSL profile. AmeliaDucker


Our facilitators are effective communicators and efficient task masters, skilled at guiding our participants to the top of the leadership mountain.

Jai Allison Reseracher and Facilitator

Jai Allison


Jai is a reformed engineer, now busy bringing community back into the conversation about how our society can make the most of the 21st Century. Through a mash-up of action learning, practice-based-research and facilitation Jai works with organisations and grassroots groups who are responding to or creating change. Jai draws on close to twenty-years of diverse experiences ranging from co-founding sustainable: food, urban transport and energy empowerment initiatives to community-led disaster recovery. Through all this Jai continues to hone-in on how we can open ourselves up and rethink disruptive change so we can better lead and organise during turbulent times. Basically, this means sharing practical experiences and the science behind how communities are taking affirmative action to realise resilient futures they want for their neighborhoods, organisations, landscapes and economies.

Sarah Ladyman Syd FP 2014

Sarah Ladyman

Programs Manager

Sarah is an accountant, teacher, writer, artist and facilitator. She believes in the power of connecting people and empowering them with the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential. She is particularly interested in community as a tool to bring people together and inspire social change. Since completing a Bachelor of Commerce she has worked for and consulted with purpose-driven businesses on strategy, communications, sustainability and financial forecasting. She is on a quest for creative ways of making accounting approachable, intriguing and useful so as to give not-for-profits the same tools as their for-profit cousins.

Who are we looking for?

We seek potential leaders with a passion and commitment towards addressing sustainability challenges in their community.

CSL seeks 20 emerging leaders from the Hunter Central Coast area between 18-80 years of age. We encourage a diverse range of participants, including local government staff, business and community leaders, social entrepreneurs and educators, to apply.

We look for a high degree of diversity with regards to gender, age, personality types and cultural backgrounds.

Participants must be

  • living in the Hunter Valley / Central Coast area
  • involved in either Local Government, a business or social enterprise or a community organisation or NGO
  • interested or currently engaged in carbon emission reduction projects (resource efficiency, energy affordability, renewable energy etc)
  • committed and passionate about making a positive change in their community and
  • able to dedicate evenings and weekends to activities and group project work as part of the program.

What alumni say

Emmanuel Bakenga photo resized

I want to see people coming together despite where they are from, their religion, or their culture

Emmanuel Bakenga

Jenna Conran photo

We need sustainability to guarantee our future

Jenna Conran

Malcolm Salmon photo resized

Leadership is important to be able to encourage others by utilising the skills I have learned

Malcolm Salmon

Glenn Morris revised

We really need visionary leadership from prominent members of the community

Glenn David Morris

Eric Bollen LinkedIn

When you find the rare ones willing to initiate change, one must support them

Eric Bollen


I just went for it and left FEAR for dead. I have not looked back.

Dolph Cooke

Program format

SLD will run for 5 months for 20 emerging leaders.

SLD incorporates CSL's online leadership course Rewired with an inspiring and impactful program and an outcome-oriented project. We expect a minimum time commitment of 2 – 5 hours a week, over and above workshops and weekend retreats. 

Evaluation will be through the results of pre and post surveys, including participants’ view of their ability to lead and deliver change, reflective journaling, coaching and facilitation observations and a final project report.

  • Week 1-2: Retreat One

    Phase 1 – ‘Going Within’. Participants will attend a residential weekend retreat which will be held in Regional NSW. Participants are led through a deeply personal and reflective process to identify areas of growth and development, as well as reflecting on past experiences and learnings.

  • Week 3-5: Workshop 1

    Participants define development and growth areas that they’ll explore throughout the program with the Team, the Fellows and a selected Mentor. They also develop goals and strategies to make changes within themselves. This first ‘Going Within’ Phase covers much of the theoretical underpinnings of the program.

  • Week 6-7: Full Day Workshop One

    Phase 2 – ‘Stepping Up’ begins with this full day workshop. This phase is all about stepping up personally, as well as, collaboratively and trying on newly identified leadership skills. The focus here will be on the project component of the course and helping participants to either expand upon existing projects or create new outcome-oriented sustainability projects.

  • Weeks 8-16: Workshop 2 to 4

    Participants translate vision into action; in groups, they create a prototype project designed to test some of the tools learned in phase two. Participants see the power of collaboration unfold as they work with others as a team member or leader to create change.

  • Weeks 17-19: Workshop 5 and Retreat Two

    Phase 3 – 'Stepping Out'. This phase is about the participants zooming out of view from the more focused study of their projects to the broader system of government, business and community. They will learn to build their circle and strength of influence to effect change at a systems level. There would then be a final residential weekend retreat.

  • Week 20: Full Day Workshop Two

    Participants will attend the second and final full day workshop on ‘Make Change Happen’.

  • Post-program

    Your CSL experience and Sustainability Leadership Development journey doesn’t end with the conclusion of the SLD Program. Phase Four involves ‘Staying Connected’. We offer access to residential retreats, online learning programs, additional coaching, support, and opportunities to engage with the CSL community online and in person.

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leadershiprewired image


Our guest speakers are experts in their fields, providing participants with access to crucial knowledge and networks.


The program’s full value is worth $4,200 per participant, which is funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The participants are expected to pay a heavily subsidised fee depending on their occupation.

Fee does not include travel costs.

Please read the Participant Fees, Refunds and Cancellation Policy.

Fee Type Cost
Government and business sector $500 + GST
Community Sector / Student / Unemployed $200 + GST

Key dates

Event Date
Information Session 3 May
Interviews - in person and Skype 10 May
Offer of places 11 May
Enrolment begins 14 May
Program fees due 21 May

Program Dates

Sustainability Leadership Development Program, Hunter Central Coast Region, 2018

5 months, 14 May to 6 October, Monday evenings in Newcastle

Event Date
Enrolment begins 14 May
Pre-program Dinner 29 May
Retreat 1 in Regional New South Wales 1-3 June Friday starts 7pm
Workshop 1 18 June 6-9pm
Full day workshop 1: Projects 7 July Saturday starts 9am
Workshop 2 16 July 6-9pm
Workshop 3 30 July 6-9pm
Workshop 4 13 August 6-9pm
Workshop 5 3 September 6-9pm
Retreat 2 in Regional New South Wales 21 - 23 Sept Friday starts 7pm
Full day workshop 2: Make Change Happen 6 October Saturday starts 9am

Frequently asked questions

Many people have questions. We frequently have answers.

What are the guiding principles that make the program unique?

- We facilitate EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING, empowering participants through self-directed adventure and real-world action.
- We go beyond the false distinction between the PERSONAL and the PROFESSIONAL. We focus on both, together.
- We work with the WHOLE person. We emphasise the importance of HEAD, HEART and HANDS for creating change.
- We're the place where rigorous RESEARCH meets PRACTICAL reality.
- We know what SKILLS and ABILITIES today's Future Makers need in their personal toolkit and we shape our programs to build them:

  • Advanced communication skills and storytelling
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Community building
  • Creativity and collaboration
  • Design thinking and systems thinking
  • Influencing and enabling others
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Political understanding and creating change
  • Self-awareness and resilience

How is the Sustainability Leadership Development (SLD) Program different from CSL’s Future Makers Fellowship Program?

SLD is a blended learning program, gathering community and local government leaders, thinkers and doers. It incorporates CSL's online leadership course Rewired with an inspiring and impactful program and project for passionate people who care about their communities.

The Program design will include a number of elements specific to the communities of the Hunter Central Coast Region including:

  • Focus on diversity and strength-based learning, building on what participants already know
  • Nurture and create networks and peer learning
  • Agile program design to be able to address different needs and priorities of participants
  • Focus on supporting self-determination and empowerment generally with a specific focus on social enterprise models

The Future Makers Fellowship program is delivered through a combination of retreats and in–person workshops that require participants to be in commutable distance to Sydney. The Program runs for a duration of 6 months and is ideally suited for early to mid-career professionals looking to evolve as leaders and explore their potential.

What if I have work/other commitments that oblige me to travel and I miss a workshop or retreat?

You must be present at the entirety of all retreats and a minimum of 90% of workshops; missed content must be made up on your own time.

How much time am I expected to commit per week?

We expect a time commitment of 2 - 5 hours per week, over and above retreats and workshops.

What are the conditions for eligibility?

You must live or work in the program’s host region of the Hunter Central Coast Region and be available for all Program weekend retreats. Additionally, you must have access to a reliable Internet connection for video streaming.

What digital requirements must I have to complete this program?

Basic computer skills, reliable computer with up-to-date web and video browsing software, computer web camera and microphone, Microsoft Office suite (or equivalent) and access to reliable internet connection, suitable for streaming video.

What commitments are expected of me as a student of CSL?

Exercise a high degree of respect for others, apply honesty & openness in behaviour/communication, abide by group’s agreed ground rules, contribute positive participation throughout the program.

What is your policy regarding refunds?

Cancellations will be accepted without charge if CSL is notified in writing at least 30 days prior to the course start date. Additional circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please read the Participant Fees, Refunds and Cancellation Policy.

How deep does the program go?

The program is designed to encourage deep reflection and self awareness. A core part of the course is "Going Within" and this phase requires a willingness to participate in self development as a fundamental part of being an authentic and effective leader. The facilitator's intention is to create a safe space for participants to reflect on their personal journey, challenges, goals, aspirations and vulnerabilities in individual and group activities. We encourage all participants to have their own support network, including mental health professionals should they need this support.

Interested in the Sustainability Leadership Development Program

Apply now

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