Reflections on the 2021 VGLP

28 Oct 2021

Reflections on the 2021 VGLP featured image

In late September 2021, nine Churchill Fellows were selected to attend this year’s Virtual Global Leadership Practices Program, hosted by our partner organisation Yellow Edge.

The Churchill Trust is grateful to Yellow Edge for their generosity in increasing the number of co-sponsored places offered to Fellows this year to nine; 2021 has in itself been a challenging learning opportunity for even the most experienced of leaders, navigating through the global pandemic and its ramifications in both professional and personal life.

Over six days, our Fellows interacted with thinkers and fellow leaders from Australia and six partner countries to learn and achieve the following program outcomes: To lead organisations in a transformational and sustainable way for the greater good; To be better positioned to lead in a turbulent strategic and operational environment; and To connect with, learn from and contribute to global experiences of transformational leadership.

This years’ program featured six incredible host organisations globally:

    • The Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA

    • Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University, UK

    • The e-Government Leadership Centre, National University of Singapore

    • Welingkar Institute of Management, Bengaluru, India

    • Public Policy Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand (postponed)

    • Knowledge Investment Programs, Tokyo, Japan

The participating nine enthusiastic, curious Churchill Fellows are from a diverse range of industries and varying career stages, you can read some of their inspiring reflections on the leadership program below:

How would you describe your experience on the program?


“Re-energising, inspiring, thought provoking, challenging, deep, reflective. Andrew is an incredible facilitator and I really enjoyed having the program guides to share the journey with.”

“Enlightening, it opened my eyes to the geo-political aspects of leadership and what is happening on a macro level that filters down to our individual micro levels. Really loved the experience of the group and especially the facilitation skills of Andrew & the other mentors.”

“All of the presentations were fantastic. I took something away from each and every presentation and discussion. Looking at leadership through the lens of different cultures is such a unique way to learn and I loved it. All of the presenters were so passionate and it was wonderful to learn from them all.”

“I had such a fascinating week. I felt so privileged to have been afforded a spot on the program, and to have the week away from work – I felt I could really get stuck into the content. I learnt so much from the presenters, the facilitators, and the other participants – about big picture leadership, and about myself. It has inspired me (and has given me a real kick in the butt) to invest in myself more, and with much more direction. What an honour to have been part of this group!”

What learnings will you take away and apply?

“As Einstein said, we can’t solve problems by using the same thinking we used to make them. There have been so many takeaways for me, but hearing from such a diversity of speakers and subject areas has solidified the need for me to create my own “Leadership framework”, to shape my own context and help organise and structure my thoughts and ambitions. I found it incredibly inspiring to see glimpses of how others – people who I wouldn’t hesitate to call true leaders – have shaped their own frameworks. I have also come to realise that investing in leadership should and can be for absolutely everyone, no matter what level or stage of their career.”

“So many learnings but my main takeaways were reflecting on my character and myself as a leader. I continue to process the week of learning as there was so much to take away. I feel reassured that the time I invest in relationships and rituals is worthy. I am reflecting more on my personal leadership style and thinking about this style in the different contexts I work in. Thinking about how I can be a shaper of context and when to be macro and when to be micro. Thinking about the importance of onboarding staff so they feel excited, safe and can clearly see the vision and how they are a part of it. Thinking about what it means to be innovative yet solid. Reminding myself that my attention and energy is finite so to focus it well. I’m reading again and will continue to process, reflect and apply.”

“There are far too many. Transformation arises out of the tension between being Supportive and Demanding. I was reminded that a leader does not have to be perfect. A leader needs to understand their own motivation, style and bias. The importance of building trust… honesty… respect, not popularity. Be prepared to take the consequences of your actions and comments. Energy and Communication style is vital. The importance of culture and context when understanding how and why different countries and people react and behave in certain ways. My notebook is filled with information about the countries we were lucky enough to visit.”

If you were to recommend this program to a friend or colleague, what would you say?


“Great investment of time – a luxury in fact. Something for everyone in the content.”

“I have already recommended the program and said that “you’d love it, you travel virtually around the world investigating leadership through the lens of different cultures all whilst deeply reflecting on yourself as a human and as a leader. You’ll be inspired, challenged, and overwhelmed because you are gaining a greater and deeper perspective on the world in which you work and how you can increase your impact to make a difference”

“This is a great opportunity to meet leaders from across Australia and the world and reflect on how you want to shape your career and leadership legacy.”

“An engaging program, great facilitators, wonderful participants, and a list of guests that expose some of the challenges faced across the world.”

“A great week meeting great people, learning about global leadership and a bit of international relations.”

“Choose this program if you are ready to think deeply about your own leadership journey, interact with other inspiring people, and invest in your future. It’s different to any other training I have ever done, and I am still buzzing about it!”