Sector looks to close leadership gap

Mark Monahan (CSSV/Fiona Basile)

Engaging with emerging leaders within Catholic social services has to become a key part of strategic thinking among chief executives and “not just a nice thought”, according to a chief executive working in the sector. Source: CSSV.

“We need to be intentional and strategic about their formation and professional development because they will be leading our Catholic social services organisations into the future,” said Mark Monahan, executive officer of Melbourne’s Edmund Rice Services – Mount Atkinson.

“And it’s not something that CEOs and leaders should be considering in a few years’ time; it needs to be addressed now.

“There are a great number of young professionals and emerging leaders in their 20s, 30s and early 40s working within Catholic social services who are passionate about what they do and who have a lot of ideas and thoughts about how things could be done differently, or who just want to learn from their older peers, but they don’t have a voice or a seat around the table where decisions are made.

“When I talk to different young professionals, they value being at a Catholic social service organisation and they believe things can shift in the community and that change can happen around the injustices that exist; they have this amazing energy. So we need to get them into positions to get their voice heard, to feel more connected, and to participate in that space where they can impact decision-making.” 

Mr Monahan said the Catholic social services sector needs to be intentional about building relationships. “Our sector is very much based on relationships, which can’t be built overnight. So it’s important to have young professionals, amongst others, in senior positions, in order to build those relationships, to learn about the industry, to learn about how to respond to different experiences and dilemmas, and to share insights and wisdom. For that to happen people need to spend time together, to get to know each other, to listen and respond.”

Catholic Social Services Victoria is working to addressing this leadership gap through its Emerging Leaders Network. Established 12 months ago, the network fosters professional development, networking opportunities and relationship building among emerging leaders and young professionals working within Catholic Social Services in Victoria.


Actively engaging with young professionals and emerging leaders in Catholic social services (Catholic Social Services Victoria) 

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