ECHO First Nations Women’s Leadership Program applications open

The 2024 Elevating Connections and Healing Ourselves (ECHO) First Nations Women’s Leadership Program is now open for applications.
27 June 2024

Here in Victoria we recognise that First Nations women have always held valued roles and responsibilities in families, communities and nations.

We also want to ensure they are represented in formal leadership roles and positions of influence, right across our state.

The ECHO program was designed by First Nations women for First Nations women to provide a culturally safe space to build on participants’ unique leadership roles in their family, community, workplace, businesses and broader society.

It equips First Nations women with the tools and insights they need to become effective leaders and modern matriarchs within their communities.

The program features online sessions from late August and a five-day residential program at the end of October.

It includes:

  • cultural activities to promote cultural connection and strengthen identity
  • coaching and mentoring support from Elders and program facilitators
  • working together as a team – participants will be paired/buddied up as part of the program
  • activities to build on the unique strengths, capabilities and experiences of participants.

This year 14 First Nations women will participate in the program, led by Karen Milward Consulting and team, including Karabena Consulting and a range of expert First Nations facilitators and community members.

This is the fourth year ECHO will run, it has been delivered to 48 First Nations women since the pilot in 2021. Previous participants have won scholarships, opened their own businesses and taken on managerial positions.

Previous participant Vicky Peters says:

‘I wholeheartedly recommend that any First Nations women with leadership aspirations consider investing in themselves through the ECHO program. ECHO provides a profoundly reflective and safe space where you can envision your next steps along your leadership pathway. You will meet a diverse range of amazing First Nations women to network with and learn from.’

Ellen Tunumafono says:

‘That it’s a great program - you meet really amazing, strong blak women and learn so much from each other- as well as all Karen, Kerry, all the sessions and other program staff.’

More information

For more information and to apply, visit ECHO First Nations Women's Leadership Program webpage on the vic gov website.

Applications close on 22 July.