LEAD Loddon Murray held the first retreat on the 29th & 30th June 2019. This retreat had 20 registered participants in attendance, who were aspiring or emerging leaders within the LGBTI community. Participants came from a range of geographical areas, across the region and included representatives of the whole LGBTI community. Additionally, the LOUD Board were also in attendance as mentors to participants. Along with our evaluator, Dr. Linda Kirkman and community elder Noel Hourigan.

The Retreat was designed and delivered to increase the skills development and build capacity of participants, whilst providing a safe space to learn from elders and leaders within the LGBTI community.

The Retreat began with a formal Welcome to Country by a LGBTI Dja Dja Wurrung person; the Dr. Linda Kirkman walked the group through Forming a Group Agreement with a focus on psychological safety, this set the stage for the remained of the weekend.

Facilitators Harry McAnulty & Barbara Huggins provided self-reflection time for journaling, prompting participants to ask what leadership to me is and what inspires me to lead. They went on to present various leadership styles, and activities for reflection on your own leadership style; Discussing what sort of advocacy are you interested or involved in; Hearing from community elder Noel Hourigan, viewing his documentary ‘Untold History’ to give participants an historical understanding of the community.

Participants they heard from the Commissioner for Gender & Sexuality, over dinner and then had further time for reflection adn networking.

Day Two saw the cohort hear about ‘Grass roots Organizing’ and how community campaigning can see action; Providing more insight into leadership styles, specifically ‘Influencing without Authority’ and how to do this effectively; Understanding LOUD the organisation and how you can get involved and what LOUD will do to amplify the voices of LGBTI people.

Finally, facilitators lead participants to further develop their goals, leadership roles or aspirations, what they had learnt, develop further their ideas on where to from here and develop a measurable milestone for each of their projects.

The feedback from the retreat was resoundingly positive, with many asking if there will be further retreats, they can tell their friends, family and colleagues about. Attached is supporting evidence for the Retreat.

Congratulations to the LOUD Board on such a successful first retreat!