December 2022

Deep Collaboration with The Assembly

For the past 2 years Collaboration For Impact (CFI) has been working with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria (The Assembly). This work has included understanding power, cultural authority, collaboration and reflective practices on navigating differences.

One outstanding element of the work is the opportunity for CFI to take up the role as an invited and trusted outsider. This is the one of the greatest honours for those who do the role of external facilitator. The Assembly seeks external input and insight to improve their effectiveness and move through their work.

Another amazing element is the opportunity to play a role in working with the exceptional leadership displayed by the Assembly members. They navigate cultural governance, identity politics, State government systems, community expectations and internal collaboration. A fantastic concrete example of this exceptional leadership is the way that Assembly members have matured to hold the tensions of their own disagreements and conflicts with the collective higher purpose of working towards Treaties. Furthermore, they actively maintain an openness and inclusive approach for those representative groups who are not yet involved in the process but who have a legitimate stake in the outcomes.

This type of outstanding collective leadership does not happen without influence and dedication from members themselves. While supported by the staff team, the Assembly members take up a number of roles to pursue various aspects and elements of the treaty-making process. Each Assembly member is already showing leadership for their communities and for the people of Victoria. However, the roles taken up by the Co-Chairs of the Assembly carry a heavier burden that comes with their leadership and authority. 

In the first of the CFI podcasts, Mark Yettica-Paulson talks with Assembly Co-Chair, Marcus Stewart about his leadership role and the collaboration efforts of the members. Like so many active in leadership, there are few opportunities for Marcus to stop and reflect on his practice. This podcast provided a chance to identify the wisdom-in-action, for him and the Assembly members, that often goes unnoticed by those in leadership roles who are doing what comes naturally.

Authored by Mark Yettica-Paulson, Deep Collaboration Practice Lead

Image courtesy of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

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