WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive

WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive

In partnership with Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

What – WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive
When – 4 days, 3 nights from Monday 8 July – Thursday 11 July 2024 and two online sessions
Where – Seagulls Resort in Townsville, on Wulgurukaba Land

Are you ready to bring your unique leadership approach to shaping a better future for our precious Great Barrier Reef?

Designed by and for women and gender diverse people working for and committed to our environment, the WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation aims to support a new wave of women’s environmental and climate leadership in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region. 

The WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive will bring together up to 21 women and gender-diverse people who work in and along the GBR area for a four-day leadership development program on Wulgurukaba Country (Townsville) in North Queensland. 

Monday 8 July – Thursday 11 July 2024

WELA Leadership Programs are transformational for participants who want to accelerate positive change. We empower people to identify their own approach to leadership, and to recognise and step into their power to influence.

The WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive will build the leadership capability and capacity of women and gender-diverse community leaders actively working with Reef catchment communities to support grassroots community climate action and coastal and marine resilience for the Reef. Targeted at diverse participants leading practical and on-the-ground actions with their community, this program will unlock and extend your impact as change-makers for climate and the Reef. 

What to expect?

  • Increased confidence, influence and leadership capacity as key individuals working across the Reef catchment to reduce carbon emissions, mitigate climate change through on ground actions, and build resilience for coastal and marine habitats and the community.
  • Create a collaborative and connected network of like-minded leaders working towards common goals for the Reef and surrounding communities and ecosystems.
  • Amplify women and gender diverse voices and leadership in the Reef catchment communities, including Traditional Owners and culturally and linguistically diverse leaders across different ages.
  • Support community efforts across multiple scales and sectors including environment, agriculture, tourism, government, industry and more.
  • Accelerate and enhance community climate action for the Reef through collaborative actions, projects and campaigns that stem from the connections made at the Intensive.
  • A safe environment to inspire hope, manage collective grief, and increase emotional well-being.
  • Participants will be supported to commit to a climate action within their organisations or communities at the end of the retreat.

What's included

Our programs are designed to help participants create the change the world needs through:

Transformational content

Tailored content and interactive modules to challenge and inspire participants, such as system change through First Nations leadership; relational practices: 

feminist approaches to women’s leadership; climate resilience tools, building confidence and readiness to mobilise community action and mapping ecosystems of support.

Thought Leaders

Guest speakers, facilitators, staff, and participants at the intersection of environment, climate, system change, and leadership each with diverse experiences, skills and styles.

Comprehensive resources and materials

The program uses a diverse array of tools to support different learning styles – from leadership tools to books, yarns, embodiment and creative practices.


Four days, three nights with accommodation, lunch and dinner included, at Seagulls Resort in Townsville, on Wulgurukaba Land.

Community support and connections

The WELA community supports participants during and beyond the program.  Participants join and connect with other WELA alumni who will continue to support their growth!

This program will provide you with the key tools you need to really create and lead change. This transformational, relational methodology has proven to work time and time again for our alumni.

Our curriculum is centred on four key themes:

Personal development

Increasing wellbeing, resilience, self reflection, confidence and effectiveness

Evolving your leadership

Increasing leadership at workplaces, the visibility and effectiveness of women and gender diverse people in their environmental and social change efforts

Approaches to impact

Community building and change making skills and tools to understand and respond to impacts of gender bias, inequality and climate change and how to lead action to maximise impact

Systemic change

Understanding the big picture of power within society and how it links to climate change, and how gender and leadership are constructed and influenced by them and where to intervene.

Your facilitators

Your program will be led and supported by our team of experienced facilitators, including:

Asmaa Guedira

Learning Experience Designer and Diversity and Inclusion Lead, WELA

Carli Leimbach

Leadership Programs Director, WELA

The core facilitation team is supported by various guest speakers and facilitators throughout the week. Participants are also invited to present or co-facilitate table talks during the program to share their experience and expertise in the group.

WELA Alumni Testimonials

  • “We can build strong relationships and work collaboratively across the sector to create the change that we want to see in the world.”

    Bernadette Thomas
    Former Manager Sustainable Environment, Hume City Council,, WELA Alum 2017
  • “WELA is an incredible group of leaders, supporters, educators and champions of women, whether that is in a traditional paid or volunteered workspace.

    I have gained some incredible skills in management styles, leadership strategies an understandings of and how some of the work challenges we face today evolved and how to apply practical solutions to solve these challenges.

    WELA is a life-changing opportunity, for you our environment and for future generations.”

    Sherie Bruce
    Arrernte woman, Protect Country Strategist, Queensland Conservation Council, WELA Alum 2020
  • ‚ÄúThis is a decade where we need to upskill ourselves, be connected together and collaborate to achieve and address the key challenges of our time. The WELA program helps us by skilling us up, connecting us and really being alive to the contribution that we as women are uniquely placed to make for this particular decade and beyond.‚ÄĚ


    Monica Richter
    Senior Manager Low Carbon Futures, WWF-Australia, Advisory board chair for the Urban Transformations Research Centre (UTRC), WELA Alum 2022
  • “My WELA sisters have been with me as I navigate life in parliament and post-politics. The facilitators and various cohorts have formed such a strong and supportive community. It is the kind of love and inspiration that keeps each of us paying it forward as activists.”


    Huong Truong
    Former Sustainability Coordinator, Brimbank City Council, WELA Alum 2017
  • “It is fantastic to stake stock, one year since my WELA fellowship. To recognise the Council policy and funding implementation wins we have had that WELA gave me the ambition and boldness to strive for. As well as the support systems and campaign collaborations that have been set up to further deep and long term life affirming change. I went from doubting myself and feeling paralysed by overwhelm and frayed by the diversity of issues, to focus my campaign strategy and actions. I’ve also been able to recognise my unique and genuine gifts as a leader.”


    Cath Blakley
    Councillor at Wollongong City Council, WELA Alum 2018
  • “The WELA program helped me understand how we are an ecosystem of passionate people, each with unique gifts and unique roles to play. We don’t need to do it alone – we are doing it together!¬†

    Since completing the program I have been recruited into a management position inside local government. The program gave me the confidence to understand how my skill set is useful to our sector, freed me from my limiting self talk and allowed me to take that next step in my career and for our environment.”


    Amanda Dodd
    Manager Sustainable Environment for Whittlesea Council, WELA Alum 2020
  • WELA was absolutely transformative for me. I learned so much on so many environmental political and leadership topics, laughed and danced, and met and spent time with some serious legends of the Australian feminist and environment movements, and felt placed in a network of powerful women around the country working to reimagine environmental leadership, and get stuff done. It coincided so beautifully and significantly with the major success on forests last year and I‚Äôm enormously grateful to everyone who makes WELA possible. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Jess Beckerling
    Convenor WA Forest Alliance, WELA Alum 2020
    Jess Beckerling

Are you ready?

Here are all the details you need...


The program will be located at Seagulls Resort in the heart of Townsville by the beach, on Wulgurukaba Country. The space is a lovely beach side location with exceptional eco-friendly accommodation and amenities.  All meals are provided as is bed linen & towels. 

We will ensure COVID-safe precautions and measures are taken throughout the week.. 

Please note that travel is not included in the program fees, and participants are to organise their own travel arrangements. 

Program fee

The partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and Great Barrier Reef Foundation has provided a grant to assist with the costs of this initiative resulting in the affordable fee structure and provision of subsidies for those who would otherwise be unable to attend.  

  • The subsidised program fee is $1,650 (inc GST)¬†
  • A limited number of scholarships are available and will be prioritised for First Nations people, unpaid volunteers, and those from marginalised communities.¬†

Payment is required upon acceptance into the program to ensure commitment to the program.   


Retreat: Monday 8 July – Thursday 11 July 2024

This program is designed to encourage everyone’s active participation. There will be free time each day for participants to enjoy the environment, to exercise or take time out to nourish themselves. Time for work is limited and it’s recommended that people take the time off completely. 

There will be 2 online sessions before and after the retreat to attend as part of the program: onboarding on Tuesday June 27 2024 from 11am to 1pm AEST and integration on Tuesday August 6 from 11am to 1pm AEST.

How to apply

Complete the WELA Great Barrier Reef Leadership Intensive Application Form.

Applications extended to close Monday 13 May 2024. Limited places available

In your application, please share: 

  • Why you would like to participate¬†
  • Your background and experience¬†
  • What you‚Äôre looking for from the program¬†
  • How you plan to use the program to benefit your work and community, including your willingness to progress a climate action through your work or network following the intensive
  • If applying for a scholarship fill in the simple scholarship application question which is part of the application form (a limited number of scholarships are available and will be prioritised for First Nations participants).

If you struggle with working online, don’t let that be a barrier to applying! Word document or hard copy application forms can be provided if required. We can also phone you to gather information.  We actively encourage a wide diversity of participants.

Submit your application by Monday 13 May 2024 at 11:59pm. Applicants will be advised whether they are successful and will be expected to confirm acceptance of the program by Thursday 6 June 2024 to provide applicants with a reasonable planning horizon.

Selection criteria

Do you:

  • Identify as a woman or gender diverse person with demonstrated passion for our environment,¬†
  • Are actively working with Reef catchment communities to support a better future for the Reef¬†¬†
  • Are committed to step up your leadership for greater impact.

This program is for you!

WELA is committed to supporting a diverse and thriving community of changemakers. Women and gender diverse people from First Nations communities, people of colour, culturally and linguistically diverse communities from diverse ages, social backgrounds and ability and in paid or volunteer positions, and from across all sectors are encouraged to apply. 

Applications close Monday 13th May 2024 at midnight.

More information

WELA is empowering and supporting women’s leadership for our environment, and transforming Australia’s response to the climate and environment crises (www.wela.org.au).

Get in touch with Asmaa Guedira, Lead Facilitator asmaa@wela.org.au, if you have queries or send to kasey@wela.org.au

The leadership intensive is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.