Emerging Leaders Conference reflections

Here is what some of the delegates at the 2018 Emerging Leaders Conference had to say about their experience.

Dr Candice Peters, FANZCA

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes and learn how to do it later”.
That’s a quote from Sir Richard Branson that a colleague shared with me a few years ago in an effort to inspire me to do things I thought I had no business doing. It turns out she attended what was then the New Fellows Conference and serendipitously this quote came up at the ELC. I have never really considered myself an emerging leader, but when I was nudged by one of our SOTs to apply, I figured there was no harm in trying (and in the era of Trump, absolutely anything is possible: insert smirking emoji here!).
The theme “Working Together” encompassed the unique nature of this year’s conference as participants working in anaesthesia and pain medicine from across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia joined forces with younger fellows from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for the first time with a joint agenda. This was certainly one of the highlights for me: meeting new fellows from these disciplines, sharing the highs and lows, discussing common gripes (let’s call them challenges) and actually learning from one another’s perspectives, which doesn’t happen easily during our day-to-day work, particularly with the increasing performance pressure facing us all in a stretched healthcare system.
The opening session on gender diversity by the inspirational and aspirational Diana Ryall AM, a former high school teacher and managing director of Apple Australia from 1997-2001, opened my eyes to unconscious bias and privilege (including my own) and what inclusion truly means (“Diversity is being invited to the ball, inclusion is being asked to dance”). She was so on point for what is as relevant to the corporate world as it is to modern medicine by asking some very thought-provoking questions: “If you were told the most important person was about to walk into the room, how many of you would imagine a man?” and inspired my very first tweet: “Only when we have as many incompetent women in positions of power as incompetent men will we truly have achieved equality”. Think about it.
Dr Harry Eeman, FPM Board Member and Rehabilitation Physician gave a riveting, yet sobering account of his journey to fellowship and pathway to leadership, a significant proportion of which was spent as a patient after being struck-down with severe GBS during an overseas holiday. He taught me that we all are disabled in one way or another, only some of us have insight into it!


Dr Nirooshan Rooban, FANZCA

It was my pleasure to attend the 2018 Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC) “Working Together” in the Blue Mountains.
Gaining insight into the values of the many leaders on show, difficult choices in healthcare and where some of the new challenges to our specialty lie were among the benefits of this combined meeting with the younger fellows of RACS.

Things I took away are:

Social media is something to be embraced as an educational tool.

  • The earlier we educate people about burnout, resilience and mental health, the more chance of preventing issues before they occur.

  • The importance of hearing the vision of leaders – the chair panel discussion with ANZCA councillors was particularly illuminating.

For people thinking about attending, I would say go for it. It definitely allows you to see the varying leadership styles, you make some great connections and you learn a bit more about yourself. Thank you to the ANZCA crew and co-convenors for putting on a very worthwhile meeting.


Dr Rochelle Barron, FANZCA

I attended the recent Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC) in the Blue Mountains and would really encourage anyone who is interested to apply for next year – especially any women who are looking for opportunities. Don’t put it in the “too hard” basket!! And don’t feel you need to have a lot of experience or fit the typical profile of an outspoken confident leader; it was an awesome inclusive 
weekend that played to many different strengths.
There was a lot of excellent discussion about team work, communication, and preventing burnout. We had interactive sessions on the use of social media (I’m still not convinced on Twitter, sorry guys), mindfulness and mentoring. I especially enjoyed the “Pathways to leadership” talks from our own new fellow board members – an excellent demonstration of different types of people getting involved in their own way and in their own style. Inspirational.



I was really inspired by Diana Ryall, executive, previous CEO for Apple Australia and founder of “Xplore for Success” which offers services to organisations to support professionals to achieve personal success. She spoke passionately about gender, privilege, bias and inclusion/exclusion, and
equality and equity, and challenged us to recognise our own biases and how to change the behavior of ourselves and the organisations we are involved with.
The discussion on leadership by Dr Rob Buckland, who focused on leadership styles, leadership competencies and leading change, with an emphasis on knowing yourself to optimise health outcomes by promoting effective leadership, clinical governance and sustainability. This was followed by Dr Scott Ma’s entertaining lessons to lead by; “Pathways to leadership – lessons from a goose”, which I took to heart.
Lastly, but not least, Dr Tracey Tay and Penny Reeves’ crash course in health economics introduced me to a number of frameworks for looking at improving population health outcomes that I have already been utilising in my clinical roles, and opened my eyes to learning a new language...
The ELC was most importantly an opportunity for networking, discussions and connecting the dots with an inspiring and entertaining group of like minded colleagues, incredibly encouraging when we can often feel as though we are working in isolation.

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