LEAD: Leadership Exploration and Development

LEAD is the pilot of a new leadership development program from GSA. It is offered free to University of Melbourne graduate students and will challenge you to think beyond your studies and drive change in your community.

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At GSA, we believe that leadership takes many forms and that everyone has leadership potential. LEAD challenges participants to rethink their perceptions of leadership.

Applying the Social Change Model of Leadership Development (SCM), which is widely used on university campuses across the world, and principles of the Rotary Young Leaders Award, which has been training young Australians in leadership and self-efficacy since 1961, LEAD aims to enable graduate students to take on leadership positions and drive positive change in their communities.

Participants are supported by a team of leaders and become members of a supportive, values-driven community. Be inspired by your facilitators and mentors as part of this first-of-its-kind program at the University of Melbourne.

Get ready to unleash your potential.

What can I expect?

LEAD is a high-impact program designed to rapidly develop your leadership skills. You can expect a transformative experience, involving reflection, mentoring and group work over a period of three months.

The program aims to help you:

  • Gain confidence in your own unique leadership style.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to articulate your value professionally and interpersonally.
  • Develop your sense of purpose by digging in to the direction you really want your career to take. Understand the next steps to work towards your goals.
  • Develop your leadership and management skills. Understand how to apply them at university, in your career, and for the benefit of your community.

Over the course of the three months, beginning in mid-September, you will take part in:

  • An overnight retreat.
  • Four evening workshops.
  • Small group meet-ups.
  • Short group projects.
  • Coaching sessions.
  • Personal reflection.

What skills and experience will I gain?

Over the course of three months, you will:

  • Develop effective professional and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Understand the value of a growth mindset, and how you can use your growth mindset to achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Gain clarity around the values that drive them and how to be authentically ‘you’ in a professional setting.
  • Develop coaching skills to help get the best out of teams you lead.
  • Learn how to handle negotiations professionally, and how to deal with difficult conversations both in the workplace and beyond.
  • Understand how to develop a vision and strategy to successfully see a project through to completion.
  • Learn how to manage change effectively.
  • Understand how to use all of these skills in a socially responsible manner.

Eligibility and selection criteria

GSA welcomes applications from any graduate student at the University of Melbourne, regardless of field of study, mode of study, or anything else.

The program will particularly suit graduate students who have taken stock of their studies and are looking for new and enriching ways to make an impact outside – either within the field they’re studying, or beyond.

We particularly encourage applications from:

  • Graduate students who have been at the University of Melbourne for at least a year already.
  • Graduate students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Graduate students from diverse backgrounds.


Applications will be selected on the basis of:

  • Capacity to attend all programmed sessions (please see key dates to confirm your availability).
  • Commitment to developing strong leadership skills and practices.
  • Potential and desire to develop as a socially responsible leader.
  • Prior public or community service or leadership experience.
  • Need and fit for the program.

Depending on the competitiveness of the program, we may conduct short interviews as part of the application process.


The full program costs are covered by GSA.


If you have questions about the program or application process, or if you wish to nominate yourself as a LEAD Host, please contact programs@gsa.unimelb.edu.au.

Apply now Program key dates