Scholarship program helps leaders with disability gain board directorships

Adam, a man , is wearing a tan blazer and blue stripped collared shirt and navy pants. He is smiling. Next time on the right, Jason, is wearing light blue collared shirt and black pants.

For the third year, Australian Disability Network, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), are offering the Directing Change Scholarship program designed to help leaders with disability gain board positions.

Successful applicants complete AICD courses and undertake mentoring sessions with board directors to build their capability, confidence, and connections for board roles.

Applications for the 15 full-fee scholarships close on October 1.

While scholars learn the governance skills required to join boards, mentors gain disability confidence and learn about removing barriers to employment and career advancement and becoming accessible to people with disability.

James Atkins is an experienced Chairman and Non-Executive Director and is the principal of consultancy firm Vantage Strategy. James mentored Adam Stormont as part of the most recent Directing Change Scholarship program.

“Directing Change is such an important initiative,” James said. “Getting to know Adam has been about gaining an insight into who he is and the value he can contribute. His disability is very much in the background, as it should be, and our conversations have been all around where he is going and options to get there.”

James said he learnt a great deal and broadened his perspective by being a mentor.

“I have learnt as much as I feel I have given. Adam’s experiences and perspectives are different to mine which makes it a fruitful experience for us both.

“Adam’s undertaking of the AICD course was a real catalyst for some interesting conversations and helped frame both what we discussed and where he is headed. It’s great to see him land his first board role whilst undertaking the Directing Change program.”

Adam, a Senior Program Manager, Community Hospitals, at Western Health, has a strong interest in governance and has always wanted the opportunity to pursue a board career.

“As someone who has lived with my own mental health challenges, I understand how important access to good health services are.
“The Directing Change Scholarship has given me the opportunity to obtain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to apply for and obtain a board director role, which I will commence in October.

“Undertaking the AICD Company Director’s Course has been a wonderful experience where I have obtained a strong grounding in governance education and met some amazingly talented people who have enriched my network!

Adam said being mentored by Jason, an experienced board director, was invaluable.

“My mentor has helped think about why I want to be on a board and what my unique value and brand is.

“I am incredibly grateful to Australian Disability Network and the AICD for the opportunity to undertake the scholarship and for the guidance and support from my mentor, James.”

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