OC Connect 2018 was held on 19th November in Logan, Queensland and focused on Building Sustainability. It was inspired by the question “how we can work together to influence and build sustainability of impact for Australia’s most vulnerable children to thrive?”

Following an update on Opportunity Child’s strategy by CEO Dr Dianne Jackson, local and international thought leaders in the field of sustainability and community engagement shared their views and experience on building sustainability at a local and national level.

Participants then chose collaboration clusters to explore sustainability topics and develop learnings that they can take and use for their own initiatives and communities. Resources from the day can be found here.

As a host organisation, Opportunity Child also led the early childhood design stream of ChangeFest across local, national and systems perspectives, with sessions including:

  • Brain Development in Early Childhood
  • People and How They Grow: Why Lifecourse Thinking is Important
  • Panel session: Early Childhood Development Approach to Systems Change, with Penny Dakin, June McLoughlin, Lisa McKenzie, Jessica Bunning and Michael McAfee
  • Panel session: Early Childhood Affinity Group, with Jessica Bunning, Danielle Roderick and Rebecca Fry

Sustainability focus areas

At OC Connect we worked collaboratively on five key areas of sustainability:

Sustainability of engagement and effort

With Jane Holden, Community Engagement Specialist
How can we sustain engagement and effort within community, service sector and government over the long-term to get the system changes that are needed for early childhood?

Sustainability of leadership

With Geraldine Harris, Queensland Coordinator for ARACY and consultant
Let’s dive into leadership in community and leading change across the system. What does leadership look like in social innovation?

Sustainable urgency for policy makers and decision makers

With Penny Dakin, Acting CEO, ARACY

How can we maintain the prioritisation of policy makers and decision makers on the long-term outcomes of an agreed approach without them changing course with the political cycle?

Capital sustainability

With Seri Renkin, Managing Director of ten20 Foundation
How do we make communities investible for long-term social change with sustainable capital?

Sustainability of focus on results and accountability

With Dr Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink

What challenges  are participants facing personally, within their role, their networks and across the system?

 

Building Sustainability Thought Leaders

Jane Holden

Jane has over 20 years experience in managing projects and leading teams in community development initiatives. Jane loves supporting managers and teams to lead and deliver in challenging environments. She has worked for over nine years with World Vision Australia’s community development program, a program which includes a number of community-led early childhood care and development projects with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Jane held a number of roles with World Vision, both field facing operations management and in communications, advocacy and supporter engagement. Jane was also the national Convenor of the Australian Council for International Development’s Community of Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programming.

Prior to working with World Vision, Jane worked in Victoria facilitating engagement on the State-wide native title policy reform agenda, she spent four years with Cape York Land Council and nearly seven years with the National Native Title Tribunal in roles facilitating agreement making and policy reform on complex native title and social justice matters.

Jane lives in West End, Brisbane and is active in her own community where she volunteers with Community Plus Queensland, an organisation that creates welcoming and active community spaces in Annerley, Yeronga and West End. She has a passion for yoga and the great outdoors, and has just returned from a career break spent camping her way across Australia.

Geraldine Harris, ARACY QLD

Geraldine HarrisGeraldine has 20 years’ experience in place-based leadership of collective action and management of integrated children’s services both in Australia and the UK. She is a champion of children’s rights and has a sub-speciality of embedding children’s voice through child friendly communities, the model of which has been presented both in Australia and Internationally. She has worked in government, non-government and the private sector.

Geraldine has a background in health (nursing and population health), education (early childhood) and family support and is about to complete her PhD in Place-based Leadership and Social Innovation (Early Childhood). Geraldine has designed cross sectoral and whole of community approaches purposed at co-creating more equitable childhoods, developed integrated hubs, authored texts and developed a range of transdisciplinary training and resources.

Geraldine is currently a consultant and holds the shared role of Queensland Coordinator for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY).

Penny Dakin, ARACY

Appointed as Acting CEO in June 2018, Penny has previously worked as General Manager for Policy and Strategic Engagement with ARACY. She has also worked in a number of senior capacities and with organisations including Insight Consulting, the Australian Government Department of Health, and A Village for Every Child. Penny also sits on a number of boards including that of the Belconnen Community Service.

Penny is passionate about ensuring young Australians, regardless of their background or circumstances, receive every opportunity to reach their potential and is a firm believer in ARACY’s unique role as a driver of collaboration and a leader of alliances to help achieve this.

Seri Renkin, ten20 Foundation

Seri Renkin is the Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation. She joined ten20 as founding CEO in 2012, bringing over twenty-five years’ experience in senior executive and advisory roles to her leadership of the ten20 Foundation.

Having worked across the corporate, non-profit, philanthropic and government sectors she has a unique perspective of how diverse sectors operate and utilises her strategic, innovative and entrepreneurial skills to build cross sector collaborations to ensure Australian communities are resourced to respond and work differently, so all children learn and thrive.

Convinced that positive outcomes for children depend on the day-to-day actions of individuals and organizations supporting families and other neighborhood residents within their specific geographic context, the Foundation has focused on undergirding a larger movement towards community-led, initiatives. Ten20 Foundation is backing place-based early childhood initiatives as the most promising and effective investment to address the complex issues that lead to intergenerational disadvantage.

Dr. Michael McAfee, PolicyLink

Michael McAfeeMichael is President and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action organization dedicated to advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.

He has spent more than 20 years serving as a results-driven leader in the government, philanthropic, and human-service sectors. He has partnered with community leaders to build 3,000 units of affordable housing, create 5,000 jobs, and provide hundreds of thousands of children and their families with the educational and community supports they need to thrive.

Most recently, he was one of the catalysts for ground-breaking research highlighting the corporate advantage of racial equity in America. The research showed that opportunities to create shared value by promoting racial equity occur at every point along a company’s value chain—from hiring, training, and advancing employees, to procurement, product design, and marketing, even including the company’s ownership and governance structure and its lobbying and philanthropy.

Additionally, he’s played a leadership role in investing $1 billion dollars in neighbourhoods across America in order to transform them into communities of opportunity for children and their families. This ground-breaking work resulted in the Promise Neighborhoods program becoming a permanent federal program through the 2015 authorisation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Michael is on a journey to build a legacy grounded in equity – just and fair inclusion into a society in which all are fully participating, prospering and reaching their full potential.

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