In December 2016, the Victorian Government launched Safe and Strong – A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy. The Strategy tells us that women continue to miss out on the highest levels of leadership and decision making in business, government and community. We also know that Aboriginal women, women with a disability and women from culturally diverse backgrounds are underrepresented in leadership positions.

The Women’s Board Leadership program aims to support Victorian women to become influential board members and leaders. The program will offer 100 scholarships for women to gain valuable board governance training.

The program recognises that by achieving diversity on boards we are able to see:

  • Improved social performance of organisations
  • Improved innovation and decision making
  • Enhanced board effectiveness
  • Better financial performance.

In alignment with Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy, we welcome applicants that reflect the diversity of Victoria’s population and encourage Aboriginal women, culturally diverse women, women with a disability, women who live in rural and regional locations and trans and gender diverse people to apply for the program.

The new program is a joint initiative between Leadership Victoria, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors is committed to excellence in governance and makes a positive impact on society and the economy through governance education, director development and advocacy. The Australian Institute of Company Director’s membership is more than 40,000 and includes directors and senior leaders from business, government and the not-for- profit sectors.

Leadership Victoria has over 25 years experience in developing exceptional leaders who are passionate about using their leadership to create a better world. Leadership Victoria’s board leadership and governance programs which provide both technical skills and leadership development and are supported by an extensive alumni network from the business, government and community sectors.

How can the program assist me?

The Women’s Board Leadership program will assist you to gain the skills and knowledge to progress your board ambitions.

The program offers a suite of governance training options that you can choose from to meet your specific needs. The program options include:


Benefits of the Board – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? Considering a board role? Discover how you can leverage and develop your personal and professional skills to make a difference as a board member.
Hear from women in board roles about the value and impact they make to organisations and the community, as well as the valuable experience they have gained through their board role.
Learn about the obligations and responsibilities of board members, the skills required and the leadership needed around the board table to ensure good governance, open communication and sound decision making.
This seminar will engage, motivate and empower women to embark on a journey to take up a board role.

For who? This session is designed for women without board experience who are considering a board role.

Time commitment: 2.5 hours plus pre-program reading.


Foundations of Directorship™ – delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors


What? This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the main components of directorship – governance, strategy, risk and finance. You will establish a new director-oriented outlook that will prepare you for a successful board director career.
You will also have access to the exclusive benefits from a 12 month membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The program is delivered in a mixed gender environment, with opportunity to engage with participants from across business, government and not-for-profit sectors.

For who? The program is designed for new board directors, senior executives and managers wanting to gain a foundational knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

Time commitment: Three full days and approximately 20-30 hours of pre-program reading.


Board Leadership for Aboriginal Women – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? Explore excellence in board governance, examine the requirements of the board director role and enhance your leadership skills to benefit board, organisational and community outcomes in a culturally relevant and peer support context.
This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the main components of directorship – governance, strategy, risk and finance. This program for women provides the opportunity to engage with peers and guest speakers from across business, government and not-for-profit sectors. Forming a peer network, you will establish a new directororiented outlook that will prepare you for a successful board director career.

For who? The program is designed for Aboriginal women who are new board directors, senior executives or managers wanting to gain a foundational knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

Time commitment: 3 days


Board Leadership for Culturally Diverse Women – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? Explore excellence in board governance in a culturally relevant and peer support context. This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the main components of directorship – governance, strategy, risk and finance. Forming a peer network and connecting with female leaders from culturally diverse backgrounds, you will establish a new director-oriented outlook that will prepare you for a successful board director career.

For who? The program is designed for culturally diverse women who are new board directors, senior executives or managers wanting to gain a foundational knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

Time commitment: 4 days (9.30am-2.30pm) spread over 3 months.


Self Advocacy and Presenting for Success in Interviews Workshop – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? A practical skills-based workshop to develop your self-awareness, confidence and skills in communication, self advocacy and interview techniques to present positively and with confidence during board recruitment interviews.

For who? The workshop is designed for current and aspiring board directors wanting to improve their self advocacy and interview skills to support their pathway to a board role or progress their board career.

Time commitment: 2.5 hour workshop plus pre-reading and 1 hour mock interview and feedback


Ways Women Lead – delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors


What? This course will provide participants with knowledge of the competencies of effective leaders, examine the role of female directors as leaders and consider ways in which women leaders can enhance their leadership skills to improve board and organisational outcomes and performance.
You will also have access to the exclusive benefits from a 12 month membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The program is delivered in a mixed gender environment, with opportunity to engage with participants from across business, government and not-for-profit sectors.

For who? The course is designed for board directors and senior executives who are interested in understanding gender dynamics in board leadership.

Time commitment: A 60 minute pre-course webinar, followed by a one-day session and post-course reading components.


Coaching – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? You will be matched with an experienced and trained Victorian Government or community-based board director who will support you in your board leadership development in a 12 month oneto- one mentoring program.

For who? Mentoring is designed for all program participants; current and aspiring board directors, senior executives and managers.

Time commitment: Attendance at 2 hour workshops at the beginning, middle and end of the 12 month program. Includes self-directed component with participants expected to arrange regular meetings with their mentor (e.g. monthly one-hour meetings) during the 12 months.


Mentoring – delivered by Leadership Victoria


What? You will be matched with an experienced and trained Victorian Government or community-based board director who will support you in your board leadership development in a 12 month program.

For who? Mentoring is designed for all program participants; board directors, senior executives and managers.

Time commitment: Attendance at 2 hour workshops at the beginning, middle and end of the 12 month program includes self directed component with participants expected to arrange regular meetings with their mentor (e.g. monthly one-hour meetings) during the 12 months.


Company Directors Course™ – delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors


What? In this five day course gain a greater understanding of the practice of directorship and the mindset of a director as a leader of an organisation, before examining the directors’ duties and legal environment, risk oversight, strategy contribution, financial performance analysis and measuring board effectiveness. Pragmatic professional development is maximised through discussion with peers and facilitators who are practicing directors that will have a long lasting impact on your director career.
You will also have access to the exclusive benefits from a 12 month membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The program is delivered in a mixed gender environment, with opportunity to engage with participants from across business, government and not-for-profit sectors.

For who? This course is tailored to experienced directors wishing to take their performance to the next level. It is recommended that participants have completed the Foundations of Directorship program, the Board Leadership for Aboriginal Women, the Board Leadership for Culturally Diverse Women, or have equivalent professional experience .

Time commitment: 5 days and approximately 40-60 hours of pre-program reading.


Networking Event – delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors


A networking event will be held during the program to bring together all scholarship recipients, board chairs, board recruiters and Victorian Government departmental representatives.

This is a unique opportunity for you to network and explore potential board opportunities with a view to progressing your board career.

Will I be able to participate in all components of the Women’s Board Leadership Program?

The program is designed so that you can access multiple program options suited to your professional development needs.  

On the application form you will be asked to rank the top 3 course options that you would like to access. Please read through the descriptions for each option to ensure that they are suitable to you.

If your application is successful we will endeavor to offer you a scholarship in accordance with the preferences you have identified. Please note that we cannot guarantee that all applicants will be offered all of the options requested as this is dependent upon availability.

Am I eligible to apply?

The Women’s Board Leadership Program is open to individuals who:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Are able to remain in Australia to work and study for a period of at least 5 years
  • Are a resident of Victoria at the time of application
  • Have never been disqualified as a company director
  • Are able to commit to program time commitments
  • If serving on a board at the time of application, are a member of a Victorian Government or not-for-profit Victorian Government funded board.

** Update to eligibility criteria: In the interests of promoting a broad diversity of board-ready women, all women who are currently board directors on not for profit boards are eligible to apply for this program, even if the board does not receive Victorian Government funding.

Key information required

Applications will be assessed based on the following:

  1. Your skills and experiences as a leader or board member
  2. How the program will support your board aspirations
  3. What benefit your involvement in the program will bring to your board, community, industry/sector and/or workplace.

How are applications assessed?

An independent panel comprising of women from business, government and community sectors will assess the nominations.

Key dates

Wednesday 14 June
Applications open

Friday 21 July
Applications close. Please note that late submissions will not be accepted.

July to August 2017
Assessment of applications conducted by assessment panel.

October 2017
Outcomes announced

October 2017
Launch event

November 2017
Program commences

Need additional information?

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for further information about the Women’s Board Leadership Program.

To apply for the program create an account/login here.

If you have questions about the program or would like to request a hard copy application form, please contact the Victorian Government Contact Centre on 1300 366 356 or womensleadership@dpc.vic.gov.au.

If you require technical assistance with filling out the online application form, please contact eAwards on 1300 95 95 55 or info@eawards.com.au.