Leader’s Retreat 2022 – Fatima Merchant
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
This July, the 2022 Results Fellows had the opportunity to attend a two-day Leadership Retreat in Sydney to continue their advocacy journey. After many virtual meetings, the weekend was a fantastic chance to connect in person and strengthen bonds with one other. The retreat also provided an opportunity to continue to learn and develop skills that would enable Fellows to continue to make meaningful contributions to the Results movement. The weekend consisted of many exciting speeches, interactive workshops, and strategic meetings. The weekend was jam-packed with a total of nine workshops, six of which were delivered by Fellows themselves. The weekend began with an in-depth workshop deconstructing ‘power’, delivered by Thuy Nguyen from Sydney Alliance. We discussed our own experiences and understandings of power and practised analysing power to guide how we engage with key decision-makers. We then heard from two inspiring individuals – Ben Thurley from the International Nepal Foundation, on the advocacy sector, and Ben Eliasaf, Results’ Research Officer, on the inner workings of the Results organisation. Ben Thurley spoke on both the challenges and joys that come with his unique career working as a professional advocate. Ben Eliasaf explained the behind-the-scenes work of the organisation, consolidating an understanding of Results’ theory of change and the moving parts of the organisation. A workshop with Ben Taylor – Results’ Communications Officer – gave Fellows an opportunity to create their own campaign posts, focusing on simplicity and storytelling, that would effectively communicate a message and build political and public will around the Results initiatives.Another workshop with Damian Facciolo – Advocacy Manager – and Jawoon Kim – Grassroots Engagement Coordinator – detailed the strategic overview of how Results Australia aims to create change through the Global Fund Campaign, the tactics that enable this change, and the role of Fellows in the action. The six Fellows then had the opportunity to build their own competencies and confidence by facilitating sessions themselves. These workshops and speeches highlighted the diversity of backgrounds, identities, experiences, and skills of the 2022 Fellowship cohort, united by their passions. Toritse Mojuetan ran a presentation on medicalisation, exploring the importance of recognising intersectionality of identity and prompting both critical analysis of structures and self-reflection. A workshop on Emerging Challenges and Opportunities by Kilki Salazar encouraged re-thinking ‘wicked’ global issues such as food security and climate depending on how they uniquely impact and how they can be uniquely addressed in different regions. Junior Doctor Stella Harris introduced the Fellows to women’s global health issues, detailing the relationship between poverty and poor health outcomes and the vital role of primary intervention. Similarly, the work of Muslima Halkano as a Refugee Health Nurse Advocate was shared with the group in a moving presentation that highlighted the importance of tailored care that works to address the various inequalities and barriers to healthcare. An engaging interactive simulation run by Zachary Finch taught Fellows demonstrated the consequences of micromanaging and the importance of communicating vision as a leader and enabling others to achieve their purpose within a team. A workshop run by Fatima Merchant prompted the group to re-evaluate and assess their experiences with young people and develop strategies to facilitate engagement that is more meaningful and sustainable. A highlight of the weekend was a panel discussion on community organisation facilitated by Claire O’Brien, in which we heard from panellists Ken Matahari from the Australian Conservation Foundation and Joannie Lee from Democracy in Colour as they detailed the value of lived experience in advocacy. We also ran two incredible meetings over the weekend – one with Results UK and the other with Negaya Chorley (CEO of Results Australia). The internationalZoom meeting with Results UK allowed Fellows to gain a greater appreciation for the global nature of the organisation, and discover how different political and parliamentary systems shape the advocacy approach of Results internationally. Our second Zoom meeting with Negaya Chorley allowed Fellows to share their reflections on the experience. The words used to describe the experience included ‘empowering’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘motivational’ and the new skills developed by the cohort have already come to fruition through Lead Advocacy Groups in various states and territories that have secured meetings with Parliamentarians and begun to plan community events.