Captains experience inspirational weekend

Participants in CFA’s Captains Peer Mentor Program (CPMP) have benefited from the insight and hindsight of leaders from all walks of life at this year’s CPMP state Leadership Development Conference.

Captains experience inspirational weekend

Held at Macedon in the North West Region, 29 mentors and mentees from across the state gathered to share stories and collaborate on solutions to leadership challenges they may be facing.

They also heard from a mix of speakers from inside and outside the emergency services sector including:

  • Victorian Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp APM, who shared his personal mentoring story
  • Solo sailor and adventurer Tony Mowbray who shared the inspirational story of leading his team to survival during the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which claimed six lives
  • Antarctic expedition team leader Rachel Robertson, the second female ever to lead a team at the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to Davis Station
  • Captain Malmsbury Fire Brigade Tony Stephens who shared how he has successfully increased diversity in his brigade
  • Zoo’s Victoria Volunteer Program Manager Margaret Joiner who manages 850 volunteers across Victoria’s three zoos, spoke about the similarities in managing volunteers
  • CFA’s Senior Instructor Learning and Development Jamie Mackenzie attended the conference as a volunteer, and guided delegates through the process of applying key learnings from the weekend in their brigades, workplaces and lives in general.

The conference concluded with participants reflecting on their own extraordinary and inspirational leadership qualities.

Kris Wilms, Senior Instructor Leadership and Management Development – Training, thanked the mentors and mentees for their time and commitment to leadership in the CFA and to the Captain’s Peer Mentoring Program.

“This year’s conference was a great opportunity for learning about and appreciating the vital role mentoring plays in creating inspirational leaders and strong teams,” Kris said.

“It’s great for seasoned and emerging leaders to hear from other leaders who have done amazing things in their own lives, and to realise that they’re not that different – that they themselves are an inspiration to others.

“That’s extremely powerful for a brigade captain – both in how they manage their brigades and in their personal and professional lives.”

The CPMP has been running since 2012 and provides leadership support to brigades in 13 CFA districts by pairing captains with a supportive, experienced peer mentor.

“This approach provides enhanced support to new captains as they transition to a focus on people and brigade management; captains have one of the most challenging roles in the CFA,” Kris said.

“The program provides a structured space where captains can explore their goals, challenges or strategic direction in confidential space with a mentor. They’re also able to network with their peers.

“Mentors also develop personally and professionally through the experience of mentoring.

“This program is a win, win for everyone involved.”

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