Award goes from Strength to Strength
The Catherine McAuley Award commenced in 1999 under the auspices of the former Perth congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, with Sr Anne Tormey and Sr Sheila Sawle (now deceased) investing very considerable effort to devise and deliver the programme. For the first ten years the Award programme remained an initiative of the Sisters of Mercy, however from 2009 – 2013 MercyCare in Perth conducted the Award and has been generous in its support during this time. In 2014 ISMAPNG resumed responsibility for the Award, and as such transitions can take time, 2014 has been a year where both MercyCare and the Institute have jointly held responsibility for the Award. For the 2015 Award programme, ISMAPNG will hold sole responsibility and MercyCare will be a sponsor of the programme, along with Santa Maria College, Mercedes College, St John of God Health Care and St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital. The generosity of their support ensures the financial needs of the programme can be met without it becoming unaffordable for participants or their employers.
Leadership programmes abound in educational, non-profit and corporate worlds, yet not all of them achieve the outcomes desired by participants or their employers. In 2013 a review of the Catherine McAuley Award was undertaken to consider its impact, and without exception those who were interviewed indicated the Award had had a life-changing, positive effect on them. This of course led to the question – what is it about this leadership programme that leads to such profound changes in the lives of participants? A group of seven programme components emerged and in combination, these make this Award programme unique in Australia:
• the programme is non-competitive;
• it is underpinned by the inspiration of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy;
• it has a spiritual component that is both subtle and strong;
• it promotes inner growth as well as the external skills of leadership;
• it has a strong focus on service of others;
• it runs over a thirteen month period, fostering deeper learning and the chance to implement what is learned; and
• it is accessible and affordable for participants.
The Award is open to women aged 28 – 40 years: these women have amassed some years of professional experience and many are in the early stages of their leadership roles at work. The programme focuses on self-awareness, awareness of differences between self and others, and the attitudes and interpersonal skills that lead to rich and effective relationships. These are core tools of quality leadership, the building blocks on which the other practical skills of leadership can be constructed.
Today, over 375 women have graduated from the Catherine McAuley Award. Recently, on November 14, seventeen women who completed the Award programme during 2014 graduated and another group of seventeen women were welcomed into the 2015 Award programme. This ceremony was attended by Sr Berneice Loch from the ILT and Carmel Crawford, Mercy Ethos Coordinator, as well as Chris Hall, MercyCare CEO and Sr Maura Kelleher and Irena Harrison, MercyCare trustees.
Responsibility for the Catherine McAuley Award rests with the Institute Mercy Ethos Office, with Coordinator Carmel Crawford overseeing the programme and its delivery. At a local level in Perth, Craig Dowsett will attend to the day-to-day administration of the Award, while Award graduate Jo Pownall will be the Award facilitator.
Photo: The joy of Graduation is evident in the faces of the seventeen women who completed the Catherine McAuley Award in 2014.