The Leader enjoyed a sit-down with Lynette Dewis, AILC alumnus and Alumni Committee member, to talk about her leadership journey.  This is her story.

AILC: When did you complete your AILC leadership course?

Lynette: I did two one-week-blocks of training in Canberra in 2012.  There were 24 of us in the group and we still talk and stay in touch through Facebook.  We're even talking about a reunion!

AILC: What was the learning experience like for you?

Lynette: It was challenging, but in the end I really loved it.  Our group all connected really well.  I think being at the Cultural Centre in Canberra helped.  It provided such a calm surrounding that everybody just really gelled together and respected one another.

The participants that lived in Canberra were amazing teaching us about the local area and it was great to learn about people from other places too.  Hearing their stories and about their mob really opened me up. 

There was something that I'd been carrying with me for years, that I didn't think about much.  But then the course sort of bought it out of me and I broke down. That was the impact of bringing mob from all over together and sharing stories.

AILC: That sounds very powerful. How did you feel about the course after that experience?

Lynette:  I was worried at first.  We were having the introductions on the first day and everyone was a  manager, or had important jobs. And I thought to myself, I'm just the good old ground worker – this might be a bit out of my league!

But they talked me into staying.  And we had a buddy system so we would reflect on each day and how we went.  My buddy, Kerrie, was so lovely.  She would pay me compliments – nice compliments.  The buddy system really helped me through the course and to reflect on my skills and strengths.

I also remember going to the Botanic Gardens and meeting Aunty Joleen. She was amazing. She talked about her life story and her upbringing and that made everybody realise a bit more about the things we take for granted in life.  Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have I think.

I remember the day after that session, and I texted all my kids and said I love you. And they asked if I was alright because we don’t tell our kids enough that we love them.

I had done a transition to leadership program prior to this through my job – and I found that after I did the course in Canberra I gave them feedback to tell them that you can’t teach leadership in one day!

AILC: What did you value most about the AILC course?

Lynette: I learned so much and I developed myself by doing it. Before I did the course any kind of confrontation was out of the question for me.  But now I'm OK with that and I can manage confrontation professionally. The other day – one of the blokes at work heard me talking to a patient and he said “You’ve really got a way talking to people”.  He said my way is stern but its clear.  I think that's because I've developed my skills and I think about how I communicate with people.

I also really value the friendships and support network I made through the course.  Even when we went back to our own towns we were supportive of each other and sending out emails telling people where we were at and keeping everyone updated with what we were doing.  Just egging one another on and giving each other a boost.

I think it was the best two weeks of my life – it changed how I looked at people, changed how I observed my own behaviour and gave me confidence.

I am a leader in my own right. 

AILC:  Sounds like you would recommend an AILC leadership course to your friends or family.

Lynette:  Yes!  I would encourage people to do this course and learn more about their own leadership skills and develop their potential.