Diversity of Thought Blog


Providing specialist leadership development for your female professionals will lead to longer retention, greater engagement and will enhance the reputation of your business.

The lack of women in senior leadership positions in Australia has been noted for decades, however over the past couple of years it seems the issue has finally made it to the top of the corporate agenda. Well, maybe not the top of the agenda, but at least somewhere closer to where it should be.

As a result, many and varied female leadership development programs have sprung up in the market. Is this a good thing? Yes and no. We all need continuing development throughout our life, after all ‘to stand still is to go backwards (Florence Nightingale). But too few of the leadership development programs for women provide truly transformative and long-lasting impact. The problem with many of these programs is that typically they either assume that gender is not an issue and just run the same program as they would with men or they assume that gender is an issue but the problem is located with women that need to be taught skills that just come naturally to men. As a result, too many programs try to squeeze participants into a model of leadership that is not only dated but is often biased as well.


A contemporary approach to women and leadership is now available around Australia.

The Women in Leadership Development program (WILD) encourages women to step away from the day-to-day and to take a deep dive to discover how to become the type of leader they want to be. No cookie cutters here; the program looks closely at the interaction between individual leaders and the system in which they operate, allowing participants to find their own power, based on skilful facilitation, personal reflection and insightful diagnostics.

People Measures is an award-winning, evidence-based firm of organisational psychologists and development experts who have been offering their clients leadership development, talent management and assessment for more than a decade. This program is based on an award-winning model, empowering carefully selected emerging leaders with great potential and as a result, improving the productivity and success of individual Australian enterprises. The aim? To address gender bias and to establish a pipeline of female leaders who can navigate the environment with confidence and a belief in their own style of leadership.

According to alumni, the program provides the opportunity to discuss development strategies and to interact with other women of influence.

“To learn and grow together in a safe space has made this one of the most powerful programs I have participated in,” says Joanne Kakafikas, from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

The course provides the opportunity for sustained growth by offering three modules, five days in total over four months, as well as individual coaching and diagnostics. It is based on an Australian Psychological Society-award winning formula, developed by People Measures for Viva Energy Australia.


Companies, like Viva Energy, who have set targets for genuine equity within leadership ranks, profit from tailored programs like WILD, according to People Measures’ Director Frances Feenstra.

“I am very pleased to say that we see immense growth in participants over the course of the program, which means individuals benefit AND companies benefit from the unique qualities and perspectives of WILD’s emerging leaders,” Frances says. “Our alumni are employed in the public, private and not-for-profit sector. We don’t teach them how to be leaders, we teach them how to bring the leadership quality they already have to the table


The diagnostic and development planning components help participants to explore their strengths, opportunities, level of confidence and their individual sense of leadership purpose.

One participant, Catherine De Burgh-Day from the Bureau of Meteorology described WILD as “the most transformative and useful program I’ve encountered”.

“It has pushed me outside my comfort zone and given me a new perspective on what it means to be a leader, and how to lead effectively.”

People Measures developed the program in partnership with The 100% Project, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on promoting equality of choice and opportunity for women and men.

Find out more at peoplemeasures.com.au