Embracing opportunities at Winter School

5 Jan 2022
2021 Liveris Academy Winter School Scholars

Authored by Imogen Ryan-Kerr

The Liveris Academy’s values of innovation and leadership were embraced wholeheartedly during the mid-year holidays, as the Liveris Academy Scholars participated in an invigorating week-long Winter School. The chance to learn from each other and from global leaders was a chance for which all scholars were very grateful. Reflecting on the Liveris Academy Winter School for 2021, there are numerous highlights, opportunities, and lessons which have allowed for growth as future leaders in so many ways.

To kick off the week, the scholars attended a workshop at the beautiful Brisbane Aurecon Offices, with the chance to gain an insight into sustainable energy and plastic solutions, and their own innovation projects. The rest of the week saw the scholars participating in an array of UQ based workshops - ranging from activities such as exploring the Aristotelian narrative structure and identifying stakeholders in their own innovation projects, to group leadership workshops and a course on finance and economics. The winter school was diverse and catered to the students’ breadth and variety of interests. 

One of the most fulfilling experiences was the chance to hear from incredible leaders. As part of the Liveris Academy Distinguished Speaker Series, the scholars heard from Dutch business executive Feike Sijbesma, Pulitzer Prize Winner Daniel Yergin, CEO of Climate Real Impact Solution David Crane, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of KKR & Co. Inc. Henry Kravis, CEO of the B-Team Halla Tómasdóttir, and General Secretary of the International Trade Union Sharan Burrow. The Academy’s founding donor, Andrew Liveris, hosted each of the guests’ sessions, fostering the engagement of insightful discussions. Despite the limitations of distance due to Covid-19, this imposed no challenge. Rather, each speaker was truly compelling, passionate, and inspirational through their authenticity, which resonated despite the online boundaries of Zoom.

The scholars were also able to meet some incredible members of the community who were putting UQ’s motto of ‘create change’ perfectly into practise. Hearing from two non-profits, Orange Sky Laundry and Beddown, offered a moving insight into the true hardships of homelessness, and ways all can become involved and lend a helping hand. Also, a visit from the Council of the Aging (COTA) provided the chance to engage in meaningful conversations with people of all ages – testament to UQ’s position as an age friendly university, and a lovely way to foster interdisciplinary learning and teamwork. Amidst the discussions and collaborative activities, the scholars also enjoyed a celebratory Winter School Dinner and a tour of the Visy Materials Recycling Facility on the final day, a fun end to a busy week. 

The Liveris Academy Winter School for 2021 developed leadership skills, encouraged critical thinking, and sustained innovation. Hearing from and talking to global leaders in their respective disciplines, engaging in hands-on leadership activities, and partnering with multiple groups not only let the Scholars build meaningful connections across organisations, but to cultivate a breadth of knowledge. On behalf of the scholars, I would love to extend my gratitude to all who made the Winter School possible. Equipped with courage, fuelled by passion, and acting with wisdom, we look forward to continuing to make the most of all the great opportunities at our hands.