The Leadership Development Residential: a lifechanging experience

Jake Louthean

As part of the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship program, scholars gain access to a bespoke leadership development experience that’s carried out over a nine-month period. Recently returning from a one week Residential, 2021 Future Leader Jake Louthean shared his experiences finding new inspiration, forging friendships and building his leadership capabilities. 


What can I say about the Leadership Development Residential other than – wow! Heading into the experience I was somewhat unsure about the week ahead.


There were those all-familiar nerves that came with not knowing anyone and being plunged headfirst into a new, unfamiliar situation. However, those feelings quickly made way for inspiration and elation as the 18 others who were part of the residential made me feel as I’d known them my whole life. There was a level of mutual respect and admiration that made every interaction a joy to take part in. We very quickly became a family, bonded by what can only be described as an unparalleled experience that only comes around once in a lifetime.


Being able to spend every waking moment with this group of incredible thinkers, feelers, and dreamers was both refreshing and uplifting. They asked questions that I’d never considered, engaged with panel presenters with vigour, created space for others to contribute at a level I’d clearly overlooked and, most importantly really cared about the people they were sharing this experience with.


Never before had I been presented with this level of freedom to reflect on my own journey, and share in others quests to help the world. The residential allowed each of us to take a breath, to stop and take stock, to leave the rest of the world behind and just be present.

The Leadership Program was an added level of special that tied the week together and facilitated growth in each of us. For those who had always led confidently and vocally, it taught us to step back and give others the space to shine.


For more reserved Future Leaders, it presented them with a safe, encouraging space to own their power and strength. We got to live through a microcosm of team creation and bonding that has taught and reinforced a process of best-practice when leading others towards a common goal.


We laughed and tackled new experiences during the rowing day, we forged bonds over shared struggle of pitch preparation, we watched with pride as our friends delivered talks and stepped out of their comfort zones to display their full potential.


This experience was truly special. I walk away from it with friendships that will stand the test of time. A fire that will drive me to make a difference in the world. A foundation as a leader that will help me across disciplines. And most importantly, I leave a better person. The residential was truly one of the best weeks of my life.


Good luck to anyone heading into the experience – embrace it wholeheartedly! 


Published 3 August 2022

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