Skip to main content

Seven NSW lifesavers attended the recent National Leaders’ Masterclass at the University of South Australia, with some participants describing it as “life-changing”.

The Masterclass is an annual leadership and development program for members who hold a senior leadership role in Surf Life Saving. Participants come from a variety of clubs, roles and backgrounds. They are challenged to think strategically about the future of Surf Life Saving in the company of like-minded members from clubs around Australia.

The four-day program provides a stepping stone into a 12-month Graduate Certificate program. It also provides the opportunity to use the certificate as a credit towards a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).

For some of the participants the program was their first introduction to tertiary-level education.

“The biggest thing for me was having the opportunity to learn at a university-level. I feel empowered and privileged,” said participant Nixy Krite from South Maroubra SLSC.

“I left school at 15 and never had the chance to complete tertiary education. The opportunity was life-changing for me personally. It’s huge.”

In addition to offering participants the opportunity to learn from University of South Australia’s course facilitators, industry leaders from the business sector and private enterprise also led Masterclass sessions.

Masterclass is designed to challenge participants intellectually with the aim to build strategic thinkers and advocates for change.

“It was a full-on four days. I was exhausted at the end of the program – my brain was full of new information,” said Sarah Oaten from South Narrabeen SLSC.

“We focussed on long-term strategic thinking. Looking at planning for five and ten years in advance. We really pulled apart our strategic plan and were given new tools, similar to a SWOT analysis, to use to ensure we had a balanced scorecard.

“We looked at ways to make our clubs sustainable. Just because we’re a charity doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be planning for financial sustainability,” said Sarah Oaten.

“We’ve always been very ‘instant gratification’ in our thinking. We’ve got to think long-term a bit more,” said Nixy Krite.

The other strength of the program are the networks that are created with other like-minded and passionate members across the country, who are committed to making a difference within the movement. Networking with members from clubs nationally is a highlight for participants as they share ideas and create new friendships.

“The networking is amazing. We’ve set up a closed Facebook group that the 17 course participants use to share information and ideas. It’s been really useful for us to keep in touch after the program finished. After all, we’ve all got the same core business,” said Nixy Krite.

The skills gained are designed to be taken back to clubs and into other areas of the participants’ daily lives.

“We actually delayed our club’s planning day so we could use what I learned at the program at a club-level,” said Sarah Oaten from South Narrabeen SLSC.

“Our club’s in a rebuild-phase at the moment and I’ve been able to use what I learned at the Masterclass, particularly in how we approach recruitment and community relationships, with schools and our Nippers program.”

Both participants said that they will benefit from the Masterclass experience and their exposure to the larger national movement. They both thanked Surf Life Saving for the opportunity.

“Surf Life Saving helped me challenge myself personally. When I applied for the Masterclass I wasn’t really sure I was the right person to do the program. But I came away from the course knowing I was. We’ve all been given a massive stepping-stone.” said Nixy Krite.

Surf Life Saving NSW congratulates the seven members who attended the 2019 Masterclass.

  • Ngiare Brown – Coledale SLSC (received Multicultural and Indigenous scholarship)

  • Brienna Elford – South West Rocks SLSC

  • Nicholas Huggins – Tathra SLSC

  • Nixy Krite – South Maroubra SLSC

  • Emma Larssen – Cronulla SLSC

  • Sarah Oaten – South Narrabeen SLSC

  • Nathan Spinner – Wanda SLSC

From left to right: Nathan Spinner, Nixy Krite, Emma Larssen, Brienna Elford, Sarah Oaten, Ngiare Brown, Nicholas Huggins