News

My cup runneth over: a reflection on the WCLP Opening Retreat

28 February 2012 By Peter Haasz

Peter Haasz
Peter Haasz

The 2012 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) commenced last week with the Opening Retreat at the Barwon Heads Resort at 13th Beach.  We asked Peter Haasz to reflect on what was a particularly busy and eventful opening day:

Today’s opening of the 2012 WCLP brought a mixture of nerves and curiosity. Who will I meet? What will I learn? What do they expect from me? Does the product resemble the picture on the box? And, most pressingly given the early hour, will there be good coffee?

At the end of a long day, all such questions have been turned on their heads. What can I make of the opportunity to network with such a diverse group? How can I ensure I learn what I need? What contribution shall I make? How will I shape this experience to make the most of it? Will there be better coffee tomorrow?

The 2012 WCLP group is broad in almost every obvious respect: gender, ethnicity, family structure, skills and interests, and profession. This diversity suggests there is much to learn and share, but also begs a question: In what sense can we become a community? That is, what is it that can unite us?

While we’re obviously ambitious types touting a range of achievements and have all applied for the same program, such a source of community seems unacceptably glib and shallow. “We belong together because we all desperately crave a good coffee” may be true, but it’s not sustainable. After all, good coffee must happen eventually, right?

The best answer I came up with was that we can be a community because we share a common purpose, and, perhaps more importantly, because from tomorrow we’ll be depending on each other — as sources of information, inspiration, interrogation, and probably, every now and then, irritation. But tomorrow is another day, and right now sleep beckons.

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Peter is a Director at Australian ebook startup Booki.sh (http://booki.sh) and Advisory Board Member at Unico (http://www.unico.com.au). When not at work, Peter can be found cycling along the Yarra River, thinking about political and economic issues, listening to ABC NewsRadio and drinking Australian wine. Sometimes all at the same time.