National Leadership Program

WELA National Leadership Program

An intensive annual leadership development program for women and gender diverse changemakers

Are you ready to bring your unique leadership approach to the biggest environmental challenges we face? Now is the time to step up.

Designed by and for women and gender diverse changemakers, WELA’s National Leadership Program will:

– enable you to identify your own approach to leadership

– support you to step into your power and influence, and

– connect you to an instant network of incredible women and gender diverse people creating positive impact for our environment and climate.  

WELA’s 2023 National Leadership Program cohort. Photo: Ula Majewski.

Applications for WELA's 2024 National Leadership Programs have now closed. Sign up to our mailing list to stay in the loop with upcoming opportunities to apply for a WELA program. 

Who it's for

Women and gender diverse people actively working (paid or unpaid) for the environment or climate, who are looking to take the next step in their leadership. This includes women working in the not-for-profit, government or business sectors, as well as unpaid volunteers. 

Applicants are selected based on their application and their fit within a diverse cohort from across the country. If your application hasn’t been successful in the past, we welcome it again. 

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, trans women and gender diverse people, women from working class backgrounds, with disability, and those living in remote, rural or regional Australia.

Program dates

In 2024, WELA will run two National Leadership Programs. Both programs run over a 7-month program featuring online sessions and two retreats (four days each + travel) and a mentoring program.

2024 Program locations and key dates:

 
Program 1

Feb- Aug 2024

Retreat location: Commonground, near Seymour, Victoria.

Program 2

Jun – Dec 2024

Retreat location: Blue Mountains, NSW

Inaugural sessions

Thursdays, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

22 Feb, 7 March 2024

6 June, 20 June, 4 July 2024

Retreat 1

18 – 22 March 2024

15-19 July 2024

Fortnightly sessions

Thursdays, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

4 April, 18 April, 2 May, 16 May, 30 May, 13 June, 27 June, 11 July, 25 July 

8 Aug, 22 Aug, 5 Sep, 19 Sep, 3 Oct, 17 Oct, 31 Oct, 14 Nov

Retreat 2  

29 July – 2 Aug 2024

25 – 29 Nov 2024

Closing session

11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

15 Aug 2024

12 Dec 2024

All applicants must be available to attend all key dates.

Pricing

Full Fee – $6,600 (includes GST)

Partial Subsidy – $3,300 (includes GST) 

Full scholarships are available 

Program fees cover all costs associated with participation in the program and its residential workshops. The fee includes travel costs from wherever you are in Australia, all food and lodging for the two retreats, and all materials, course time and mentoring time. We prefer if you are able to pay as soon as your application is accepted, but are also open to instalment payments throughout the year.

More information

Read our frequently asked questions.

 

For more information, contact us at libby@wela.org.au.

Come along to one of our online information sessions:

Wednesday, 4 October, 2023 at 8pm AEDT. Register now

Wednesday, 8 November, 2023 at 1pm AEDT. Register now.

 

 

How to apply

Applications for WELA’s 2024 National Leadership Programs have now closed. 

Sign up to our mailing list to stay in the loop with upcoming opportunities to apply for a WELA program.

 

What’s included, the curriculum, program leaders, guest speakers and more. 

WELA Lead Facilitator Dr Louise Duxbury leading a retreat workshop. Photo: Miles Tweedie Photography. 

Get in touch

Scholarships and help

Our fundraising supplements our program running costs to keep prices lower and we provide a range of full and partial scholarships. Find out about our WELA Scholarships. 

 We don’t want potential participants to miss out due to any barriers. If you have difficulties using a computer or face other challenges, please email us at libby@wela.org.au, and we can discuss possible solutions.

Testimonials

  • More women in leadership roles will make our environment better. That’s my firm belief and why I’ve supported ACF staff to participate in the WELA program every year it has run. The self confidence, approach to teamwork and collaboration, and the strategic vision that ACF women have developed through their participation has been of great benefit to ACF and our movement.

    Kelly O’Shanassy
    CEO Australian Conservation Foundation
  • “I have gained some incredible skills in management styles, leadership strategies, and understandings of why and how some of the work challenges we face today evolved and how to apply practical solutions to solve those challenges. I also experienced substantial personal growth, overcoming my imposter syndrome, that feeling that I am not good enough, not experienced enough, that I shouldn’t have a seat at the table, whatever that table may be. I am more confident and a better communicator. If you get the change, please join WELA and embrace all that the amazing team has to offer.”

     

    Sherie Bruce
    Arrernte woman & WELA National Leadership Program Alum 2020
  • This 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

     

    Monica Richter
    Senior Manager Low Carbon Futures, WWF and WELA National Leadership Program Alum 2022

FAQs

Should I apply for WELA?

How much experience in the environment/climate sector do I need?

WELA welcomes women and gender diverse people working across environment, climate and sustainability issues. The program is open to people working with a range of skills on diverse projects – from full time employees of large environmental non-governmental organisations to volunteers in local groups, council workers, lawyers, medical professionals, scientists, union workers, campaigners and more. WELA is for people who want to step into their leadership potential and who are working towards a positive response to the environment and climate crisis we currently face in any capacity.

Is this suitable for me if I am currently unemployed or studying? 

It can be, WELA can be the support you need in a career or direction change. In your application, show us a passion for environment, climate and sustainability issues, tell us about where you are currently whether in volunteer, part paid, paid or student roles, and where you want to go.

Do I need a qualification in the environment sphere?

No, qualifications are not required. We recognise women and gender diverse people come to WELA with a range of backgrounds, we do ask for you to be working on projects that cross environment, climate and sustainability issues. This work can be paid or unpaid.

Program location and times

Is there a requirement for travel? 

Yes, you need to commit to attending the two in-person retreats which form key elements of the course. They provide opportunity to form relationships between the cohort, immersion in sessions designed to value that people are face to face, experience presentations from guest presenters and also connection to nature and a personal retreat environment.

 

Can I get the best out of the course without attending the travel portions?

No, sorry. We will only select applicants who demonstrate a commitment to attending all elements of the program, including the in-person retreats. We understand life can change, and if unexpected circumstances arise we will support you to access as much as we can of the materials.

Will the times change for the online sessions?

We set the times for the online sessions in advance, so you can schedule them ito your calendar. Note all times are AEST/AEDT. If any changes are planned throughout the course participants will be consulted. (please do make allowance for changing times as daylight savings begins and ends during the year).

What are the 2024 key dates I need to be available for?

 
Program 1

Feb- Aug 2024

Retreat location: Commonground, near Seymour, Victoria.

Program 2

Jun – Dec 2024

Retreat location: Blue Mountains, NSW

Inaugural sessions

Thursdays, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

22 Feb, 7 March 2024

6 June, 20 June, 4 July 2024

Retreat 1

18 – 22 March 2024

15-19 July 2024

Fortnightly sessions

Thursdays, 11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

4 April, 18 April, 2 May, 16 May, 30 May, 13 June, 27 June, 11 July, 25 July 

8 Aug, 22 Aug, 5 Sep, 19 Sep, 3 Oct, 17 Oct, 31 Oct, 14 Nov

Retreat 2  

29 July – 2 Aug 2024

25 – 29 Nov 2024

Closing session

11.30am-1.30pm AEST/AEDT
Online via zoom

15 Aug 2024

12 Dec 2024

All applicants must be available to attend all key dates.

Applications for WELA’s 2024 National Leadership Programs have now closed. 

Financial support

Do I have to pay straight away?

We encourage payment at the beginning of the program, but we can work with you (or with your workplace) on a payment plan, to allow for budgetary considerations.

I want to come but can’t afford it, what options do I have?

We don’t want cost to be a barrier stopping  people from applying for the program. We have a range of scholarship options

Can I still do the course if I don’t get a scholarship?

If you are selected for the program, we will work with you around payment and scholarship options.

If I don’t receive a scholarship do I need to fundraise by the start of the course? 

If you are fundraising for your program fee, fundraising can take place throughout the program.

Is there support available for fundraising?

Yes, we’ll work with you to look at grants, and opportunities to support your placement in the WELA program.

Can I ask my work to pay?

We strongly encourage workplace to support you to be part of this program.  We have a great initial opening email we can share with you, with links to our data on impact and value to your organisation.

Travel

Is travel to the retreat outside the program times listed?

The retreat times listed are the days we start and finish the program. If you’re on the eastern seaboard, we can usually arrange your travel to be early on the first day of the retreat, for those coming from other states, you may want to allow an extra day for travel either side of retreats.

Is travel included in the cost?

Yes, travel is included in the cost, and will be organised for you by our program team.

About the community

What happens after the program? 

You will build a strong network and relationships with your cohort, you’ll come away from the program with contact details and platforms for support like our Slack community. We will support your group to consider opportunities for regular meetups. You’re a part of the WELA Community now!

How does the support network work?

Our community utilises Slack as a portal for communication and engagement. Our community can share and seek support and advice, wins and inspiration, ask hard questions and keep up with resources that will continue the WELA journey.

WELA holds regular events, offering the opportunity to connect with different women with experiences in the environment/climate sector.

Across Australia, WELA alumni initiate their own regular dinners and create opportunities to meet. Many of our WELA alumni are strongly connected through creating opportunities to work together and through friendship formed during the program.

Curriculum and facilitators

Can you tell me more about the curriculum?

Read more about the curriculum on our programs page.

How does WELA respond to the cohort’s needs?

From considering your initial application, through to assessing feedback, group dynamics and areas of interest we look at the whole cohort when considering speakers, guest facilitators and elements of the program. 

Who are the facilitators?

Our facilitation team includes Dr Louise Duxbury, National Program Lead and Asmaa Guedira, Learning Experience Designer. The national program is supported by Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, WELA Strategic Director and Dr. Sue Lewis, WELA Board member and founder. Read more about the WELA team.

Mentoring

What does the mentoring program entail?

The WELA mentoring program is designed to set you up with a one on one mentor to guide you through the next steps in your leadership journey. We draw WELA mentors from all parts of the environment space and know that the mentoring journey can be an important part of your development.

How much time does it take?

The commitment to the mentoring journey is a monthly meet-up, phone call or zoom, and some thought and reflection.

Do I need to know who I want to be my mentor?

We will work with you to identify who you are looking for, and ask if there are any stand out women who you look up to. We will also offer some options for mentors.

Coursework

Is there a major project or outcome required at the end of the course? 

The major outcome of WELA is you. WELA is about your growth and development. You may want to work on projects with your WELA cohort, but there is no additional major project requirement. We ask for your commitment to all the sessions scheduled, there will be a monthly phone call to your mentor at a time that is convenient to you both and there is pre-reading for most sessions, but otherwise the work and what you bring is all about you.

What is the time commitment required outside of the retreat and scheduled programming?

There is some pre-reading for sessions that will enrich your understanding of the course content. Taking time to contact each person in your group by phone, or taking part in group chat is beneficial to your experience, but not required.

WELA

How has WELA influenced the environment movement?

You can see WELA’s influence, and the powerful works of our participants on Our Impact page, and by downloading our 2022/23 WELA Impact Report

 

Program application

How can I apply?

Click here to fill out the application form.

If you have challenges working online, get in touch with Libby at libby@wela.org.au for a printable version of the application form.

Can I change my answers in my application?

You can start to fill in the application, close it, and then return later and your answers will still be there. You need to be on the same browser and device (and not in Incognito or Private browsing mode). Your answers will be kept safely in your browser’s local storage for 15 days.

When do I have to apply by?

Applications close Monday, 20 November 2023 at 9am AEDT. We highly recommend you have a look at the application and start filling it in before this date as the application can take 20-30 minutes to complete and requires references and a CV.

Help

Help! I still have questions. Can I speak to a member of the WELA Team?

Email Libby at info@wela.org.au with any questions or to set up a time to chat about the program.

Sign up to come along to an Information Session:

Wednesday, 4 October, 2023 at 8pm AEDT. Register now

 

Wednesday, 8 November, 2023 at 1pm AEDT. Register now.

 

Can I bring my child?

The WELA National Program offers a personal retreat opportunity for the participants that encourages deep reflection and is free from the distractions of daily life. Therefore it is WELA’s policy to not have babies or children in the facilitated space.

We can support you to make family or childcare arrangements to enable your participation, or you may want to arrange to have your family to stay close by, and you attend the sessions during the day. As previously mentioned, we want you to be able to attend all elements of the program, to get the most out of this experience.