The participants of the 2022 Leadership Onkaparinga program pose for a photo with City of Onkaparinga Acting Mayor Simon McMahon.

Published on 09 November 2022

Locals hone their leadership skills

Sixteen residents have demonstrated their passion for the local community by graduating from the 2022 Leadership Onkaparinga program.

This year’s graduates came from a diverse range of backgrounds including disability, early learning and childcare, sporting clubs, retail, horticulture, mental health and LGBTIQA+.

The theme for 2022 was ‘Your Community Leadership Footprint’ which allowed participants a better understanding of their role as a community leader and provided the skills and knowledge required to positively influence outcomes in their community.

This year’s program ran from June to October 2022 and was made up of 11 sessions ranging from half-day to two-day formats, including one field trip.

Participants heard from a range of experts within the sector, providing information, tools and practices relevant for anyone in a community leadership role. They were encouraged to develop or collaborate on community initiatives to benefit the region.

The graduation ceremony was held last month at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Coast Visitor Centre, with graduates presented a certificate by City of Onkaparinga Acting Mayor Simon McMahon and Acting CEO Julia Grant.

Program participant Gavin Fischer—who owns the Clarendon General Store and Post Office, is a coordinator of Clarendon Community Op-Shop, and a committee member of the Clarendon Community Association—said Leadership Onkaparinga was “absolutely amazing”.

“What was delivered in the course just blew me away, and the knowledge I received from the program I will use daily,” he said.

“We got the chance to hear so many amazing people speak and, every one of them packed a lot of super useful information into their segments.”

“I’ve also come away from this course having connected to 16 amazing people who are all so dedicated to their communities, and are extremely knowledgeable and passionate people we’re going to see great things from.”

Gavin said he’ll use his learnings to concentrate on being a better leader, and less of a manager.

“I’ve always been a great delegator, but I’m now working towards being more of a mentor instead,” he explained.

“I want to use my leadership skills in a way that brings everyone up with me, to celebrate everyone’s success no matter how much or how little they contribute – it’s all important.”

Leadership Onkaparinga Program Coordinator Leigh Aitken was glowing in his evaluation report on the 2022 program.

“It has been my pleasure to coordinate the program in 2022 and to deliver such positive results in what has proven to be an incredibly worthwhile program,” he said.

“I’m excited to see the next part of the journey of these passionate and dedicated community leaders.”

Leadership Onkaparinga promotes active citizen participation and encourages residents to exercise their leadership in the community. The program is held every two years in addition to smaller leadership workshops held each year and is free for residents.

The program provides an intense immersion for participants into local issues, ensuring application of theory into real life projects and initiatives. Specialised subject matter experts deliver the program while providing mentoring partnerships for participants.

For more information email or phone 0414 285 707.