Increasing board and executive representation

A woman looks happy and confident as she leads a group discussion at her place of work. She is a wheelchair user and has Muscular Dystrophy.

Inclusion, diversity and equity cannot be met if people with disability are not part of decision making across business.  Without Board and Executive representation, businesses are not making informed decisions with true market representation.

The Australian Disability Network is pleased to be partnering with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to provide a series of opportunities to increase the representation of people with disability in executive and board leadership positions.

The Scholarships will provide leaders with disability training and coaching to increase their governance knowledge and access to board positions.

Additionally, Australian Disability Network will also build the awareness and disability confidence of Australian board directors, providing them the capability to welcome people with disability.

Directing Change Scholarship – become a mentor 

15 full-fee scholarships are provided to people who identify as a person with disability, mental health condition or chronic illness (including physical, intellectual, sensory, neurological, psychological, or immunological) and are a practicing director or senior executive reporting to boards with a minimum 3 years’ experience (choose Company Directors Course) or a new director, senior executive, or manager (choose Foundations of Directorship program).

The scholarship provides the opportunity to attend either the Company Directors Course or the Foundations of Directorship program, both ran by the AICD.  Participants will also gain:

  • one-year membership to the AICD.
  • a subscription to the AICD’s Directorship Opportunities service.
  • 8 months of mentoring with an Australian business leader.
  • Tailored leadership workshops to support career and leadership progression

Applications are now closed.

Watch this video to explore Directing Change Scholarship as mentors and mentees share their insights.

Disability Confidence for board and executive members

Boardrooms that are inclusive better represent the community they serve and are often more innovative and progressive. However, low awareness, confidence and capability of Directors to welcome and include people with disability on Boards is one of the main barriers to representation.

As part of the Directing Change Scholarship Program, we are seeking company directors and board representatives to connect with a leader with disability in an 8-month mentoring program.

Build your disability confidence and tackle unconscious bias by mentoring a leader with disability this year.

Become a mentor

As a mentor, you will be connected to an emerging leader with disability and support them in developing their governance knowledge. You will build your understanding of the barriers experienced by people with disability in the workforce and increase your confidence in ensuring Australian boardrooms are accessible and inclusive to all leaders.

To be a mentor you must a) currently be or have previously been on a board and b) (preferably) completed a course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As a mentor you will receive Disability Confidence & Awareness Training from the Australian Disability Network, as well as resources and regular support throughout the program.

Mentors will need to commit 1-2 hours each month from April – December to catch up with their mentee.

Disability Leadership Program

In the second round of the national Disability Leadership Program, another 100 full-fee scholarships are being funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. 

Scholarship recipients will undertake the Company Directors Course, the Foundations of Directorship course at AICD. or the Governance Foundations for NFP Directors course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). 

 In addition to the course, scholarship holders will receive a complimentary one-year: 

  • AICD membership 
  • Directorship Opportunities subscription, Australia’s foremost listing platform which provides the widest choices for directorship positions  

To help maximise board career opportunities, the program will also work with existing directors to build disability confidence through Leader-to-Leader Conversations facilitated by Australian Disability Network.  

 Applications for the 2023 Disability Leadership Program  are now closed.

Leader to Leader conversations for Board Directors

As part of the Disability Leadership Program, the Australian Disability Network will be facilitating a series of Leader to Leader conversations. 

This program will provide the opportunity to learn through storytelling and connection as we run conversations between Australian Directors and selected leaders with disability participating in our Disability Leadership Program. 

Directors will hear directly from scholars with disability and listen to lived experience in the workplace and on Boards to increase the understanding of the barriers people with disability face across business and the community. 

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a two-hour Leader to Leader conversation session in your state. The session will involve a small group of eight to ten participants. For NSW, VIC and QLD, these sessions will be in person. For ACT, NT, SA, TAS and WA, they will take place virtually. 

All sessions will be guided by an experienced facilitator from the Australian Disability Network. Following the sessions, each group will be provided with a summary report of deidentified findings which can be used by Directors to take back to their Boards to help set priorities for disability inclusion. 

Applications for the Leader to Leader conversations program are now closed.

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