Cohort 1: April 2019 Intake

Module 1: Intros & awkward ice-breakers – 30 April 2019

In the first Module we learn about ourselves and each other and discuss your DISC results and how that impacts on you in the workplace.

Module 2: The Transforming world, the public sector and designing teams29 May 2019

Guest discussants Bettina Konti, Chief Digital Officer, ACT Government, and Will Story, Head of the APS Review Taskforce, Prime Minister and Cabinet will introduce participants to current thinking on this era of disruption, the digital age, possible futures and implications for governments and public sectors. Project teams will form and be briefed on the task and methodologies.

Module 3: Knowing you, knowing me – 28 June 2019

Guest Discussants: Jenny Wilkinson, Parliamentary Budget Officer, and Dr Kirsten Peterson, Performance Psychologist, former Head of the Australian Institute of Sport Psychology Team, and Olympic Teams Psychologist at 7 Olympic Games. This Module will include diagnostic assessment discussions, and introduction to evidence-based approaches to understanding yourself and others.

Module 4: What’s Economics and Philosophy got to do with it? 30 July 2019

Guest Discussants: Dr Angelia Grant, Macroeconomic Division Head, Treasury, APS and Dr Chad Lee-Stronach, ANU School of Philosophy. This module will consider core economic concepts for the APS and their implications, the ethos and values in public sectors today and through history, and what this tells us about our purpose and conduct.

Module 5: How (public sector) stuff works – 27 August 2019

Guest Discussants Steve McCutcheon, former CEO of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and Mitch Frost, Director, Hill Executive and formerly CFO, Australian National Audit Office. This module provides an understanding of those things that are integral to the life of a public servant – budget processes including the role of Portfolio Budget Statements, Annual Reports, risk management, corporate planning and integrity.  We will also discuss the role key pieces of legislation such as Public Service Acts and public sector governance and accountability Acts.

Module 6: What’s Political Science & Psychology got to do with it? 9 September 2019

Guest Discussants: Vicki Woodburn, General Manager, Engagement, Partnerships and Policy, Murray Darling Basin Commission, and Dr Trevor Webb, Principle Social Scientist and Head of the Behavioural Research and Economics area of Food Standards Australia New Zealand will reflect on their experiences working in the often contentious areas of water, natural resource management and food regulation. Participants will also be introduced to relevant concepts from political science, psychology and political philosophy.

Module 7: Project Team review session – 29 October 2019

Teams will present their projects to their colleagues and an invited panel of public sector guests in preparation for the final module – the (Whale) Shark Tank.

Module 8: Tips and tricks – Managing yourself and others – 12 November 2019

This module will provide practical advice and techniques for managing workloads and projects and teams.  The session will also examine collaborative and stakeholder engagement approaches and methods.

Module 9: Into the Whale Shark Tank: presentations and final session 5 December 2019

Teams will present and discuss their projects to a panel of current and previous senior public sector senior executives Chaired by Amamda Cattermole, Deputy Secretary Department. of Human Services. Following the Presentations there will be a ‘reflections and next steps’ session.

Module 10: This isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning – 10 March 2020

In this module we discuss planning for your future performance and career and our invited guests Sarah Chidgey, Deputy Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department and Mark Sullivan former APS Secretary and CEO and ACTEWAGL CEO will share their insights and advice.

Executive Coaching Sessions

Participants receive a minimum of 5 individual coaching sessions over the program.

Jo Schumann is an accredited level two Executive Coach. Jo’s approach to coaching is collaborative, respectful and supportive.  This encourages clients to engage safely in reflective conversations leading to learning, exploration, insights, enhanced perspectives, new behaviours, greater well-being, and improved performance. 

Coaching sessions will draw on the DISC and Emotional Intelligence diagnostic assessments and other approaches to support and deepen the impact of the program, and to help participants plan their next steps and future contributions.


The program will use a collaborative multi-disciplinary, action-learning Team approach to provide a vehicle for practice in agile, digital mastery, and design thinking approaches, and for fostering a culture of inquiry, collaboration and innovation. 

Teams will be chosen to provide a diversity of public sector experience and expertise and personality types.

Teams will select project topics in consultation with the program facilitators and the Team’s SES mentor.  Although the parameters for project choice will be deliberately broad, they will need to have a demonstrable link to preparing the public sector for current and future challenges and opportunities.  Project topics may range from small-scale, local issues all the way to high level conceptual or strategic challenges.

While the purpose of the Team projects is mostly to provide an opportunity to put program learnings into practice, teams will be asked to present their projects to a panel of senior executives and their supervisors in the final module.  They will also be asked to identify concrete next steps that they will commit to and report back on at the half-day recall.

Each Team will be expected to meet with their SES mentor at least three times to discuss project selection and approach, mid-point progress and reflection and next steps after completion.  SES Mentors will also be invited to attend the Presentation Module.

Additional free workshops

Where common issues are identified through coaching sessions or discussion during the face to face modules, we arrange voluntary, free additional workshops. Workshop topics could include How to Shine at Interview, Managing Small Teams, How to Win Friends and Influence Stakeholders.