Who Gives a Twit About Twitter? We do! Free, one hour webinar we presented on Twitter basics….

We recently presented a free, one hour webinar called ‘Who Gives A Twit About Twitter’ for the Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN). To view the webinar, just click on the link below:
Who Gives A Twit About Twitter – free, one hour webinar

APEN is the leading professional association for people whose job involves facilitating change in regional communities. Its an organisation we’ve been a member of for many years, with Cynthia being a past member of the National Executive and Victorian Co-ordinator. So… we were really pleased to be invited to share our love of Twitter with its members and guests.

With 249 registrations from six different countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Sri Lanka and USA) it was wonderful to have 146 people attend live and be tweeting furiously through the webinar. Fellow APEN member John James from Queensland’s Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry did a fabulous job of moderating the webinar and managing the technology. The webinar was very interactive with participants able to post questions, raise their virtual hands and participate in a three different polls as well as practise their tweeting using the hashtag for the event #APENtwit.

Cynthia shared with participants the reasons they should pay attention to and embrace twitter, outlined the basic features of Twitter and also how she believed it could be invaluable for people in the business of enabling and managing change. A quick poll at the start revealed that the majority of webinar participants were twitter newbies so the content focussed more on a practical demonstration of Twitter basics such as setting up an account and profile; how to compose a tweet; what is a hashtag; how to post links; the differences between direct messages, mentions and replies; and who to follow. Participants were quick to jump on board and give tweeting a go with many embracing the #APENtwit hashtag and thus a new virtual community was born!

With so much focus on practical tips, there was not a lot of time to go through Twitter’s application to facilitation, practice change and change management. However Cynthia highlighted:
– the value of twitter chats such as #agchatoz;
– how using a hashtag for an event can create engagement with those not physically at the function and she used the recent National Farmers Federation Congress as an example #NFFCongress;
– how twitter is being used in emergency management
– the effectiveness of advocacy and lobbying with Twitter eg live exports
– creating communities and facilitaing dialogue, especially important for connecting people in isolated or geographically diverse areas, and
– Twitter’s role in citizen leadership and empowerment.

As a leadership facilitator, Cynthia is interested in the role of social media in the democratisation of leadership and the ability of social media to enable a more diverse range of voices to be heard and to play a leadership role.

She also asked people to consider if there were opportunities for them to apply Twitter in their work with communities, industry or business. Participants were urged to ensure their twitter use links in with an overall plan.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Cynthia posed a final challenge to the participants to consider – As a change management professional and key networker, what’s your/your organisation’s responsibility in understanding Twitter (and social media)?

The webinar finished off with Cynthia asking participants to use #APENtwit to tweet about one thing they would commit to doing differently as a result of participating in the webinar. Many tweets were posted and we’re hoping that more will come in as people have a play around with twitter and understand more about its application to their work.

All in all a successful event was held!

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Igniting Leadership Program Blog by participant Susanna Young

One of the programs Cynthia is very proud to facilitate is Leadership Victoria’s Igniting Leadership Program. We wanted to share some of the participant feedback and provide some insight into how the program impacts on them…..and what better way to do so than to hear from the participants themselves! Guest bloggers are a feature of the program and we hope you enjoy reading these snippets about their leadership journeys.

LV’s Igniting Leadership Program is a concentrated learning experience that is designed to foster a new generation of leaders. Here Susanna Young, a participant in ILP for June 2012, reflects on the first few days of the program:


So I think when I decided to do the Igniting Leadership Program I thought that I was coming for a magic potion – the thing that would completely alter my confidence in my own leadership style, tell me exactly what I needed to do to progress my career and life the way I wanted to.

Day one made me completely rethink this approach – no one is going to give me an answer because as our two guest speakers made plain, leadership is something that is specific to you and your true self. Only you can decide that you want to be a leader (or accept that role thrust on you), what type of leader you want to be, and only you can take the action required to get you there. Others inform and are impacted by your choices.

So day one’s down. I’m exhausted. I’ve absorbed so much amazing information, ideas, concepts and I’ve met some amazing individuals – those doing the program with me are all inspiring in their own way and motivate me to do more and better!

It’s been so much fun! We’ve told stories about vegan foxes and we’ve played husbands, wives, mechanics and advertising executives! Only we will ever know what that has got to do with leadership and that creates our groupness in a way other teams will never experience! A bond I’m confident will bind some of us well beyond day 5.

It’s only taken a day and already our group has identified that to be great leaders we need to:

  • * Jump off the 10 metre diving platform (truly commit in a no going back way)
  • * Environments that are open and encouraging help people achieve their leadership potential
  • * All leaders ask themselves the same question, “when is someone going to work out that I’m a fraud?” and  great leaders become comfortable with this
  • * Knowing yourself, being able to reflect and understand your strengths, is the first step to being true to yourself which is the hallmark of a true leader
  • * Leadership is “making the right decision at the right time for the right reasons”

And finally…..

You get out what you put in!

So I’m looking forward to more, and I possibly won’t sleep tonight thinking about all the amazing insights I’ll hear tomorrow.

If you have the opportunity to do this program, just do it!

Susanna is Senior Advisor, Industry and Business at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria.

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Young vegetable industry leader celebrates award win!

It was wonderful to see Tim Walker, graduate of the 2011 Growing Leaders Program that I co-facilitate with Jill Briggs (from Rural Training Initiatives), be recognised by the Australian Vegetable Industry when he received the Rising Star of the Year Award at the AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence recently in Hobart.

Read the Tim Walker article part 1 

Read the Tim Walker article part 2

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The issues around leading on-line

Wow-what a fantastic session today at Leadership Victoria’s ‘Leading On-line’ Masterclass. Some mind-bending discussions that have my brain buzzing. How do we facilitate a more deliberative space rather than be reactionary? Crisitunity, resiliance, courage, social media as a tool not a strategy, changing the power balance to the many not the few, empowerment, role of adaptive leadership in the digital world, values, flexibility, organisational vs network leadership-just a few of the conversations that occurred. Congrats to Josie Daw, Chris Kotur & the LV team. Look forward to the next one!

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Leadership in the Australian Vegetable Industry

Mushroom Industry Leaders Profile

Nice story about Growing Leaders 2012 participants Pedro and Jim, their involvement in the program and what they hope to achieve.

“The Growing Leaders Program allows me to experience real and practical situations
where I can learn from my peers and established industry leaders. This interaction is
invaluable,” Jim Fuller, Costas Exchange.

Jim and Pedro at Growing Leaders 2012 in Melbourne

For more information on the Growing Leaders Program see http://www.ruraltraininginitiatives.com.au/home/programs/vegetable

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Join Alumni Ideas Bank – a group for people working with an alumni group or organisation

I have been working on some leadership alumni projects of late so decided to start a LinkedIn group and a Facebook group called Alumni Ideas Bank – anyone who is involved in working with an alumni group or organisation please feel free to join – the idea is to act as a forum to network and connect, exchange ideas, ask for advice, share resources and assist in managing your alumni group or organisation more effectively and more creatively.

Alumni Ideas Bank is a group to assist those people involved in supporting or managing an alumni organisation or group. Alumnis range from the large, corporate groups to small, community groups. All such organisations face challenges such as what are effective ways of engaging alumni and encouraging them to participate, what technologies can I use to better link alumni, what ideas can I generate to make my networking events more creative and effective….the list goes on. If you have a great idea to share about something you’ve done that worked well, if you are after advice from peers about a new program you’re developing, if you would just like to connect with people facing similar challenges and thinking about similar issues to you, then please join in and participate in the Alumni Ideas Bank!



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Fantastic profile on Bryony Hackett – participant in 2011 Growing Leaders program

Profile on 2011 Growing Leaders participant Bryony Hackett

Growing Leaders is a national leadership program for the Australian vegetable industry that I co-facilitate with the wonderful Jill Briggs from Rural Training Initatives. Each year we see a group of people from across the vegetable industry supply chain come together to develop networks, skills, knowledge and a vision for their industry. Its a privilege to see the participants grow and to support them on part of their leadership journey.

Bryony Hackett was one of our participants in the 2011 program and is featured in the attached article. Since the program Bryony was selected to represent her industry on the IAC (Industry Advisory Committee) Leadership and People Development Group – congratulations Bryony!

L-R Jo Slattery (Plant Health Australia) and Bryony Hackett (Costas Exchange) talking about the group's vision for the vegetable industry

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