Supporting the next generation of "perfect nuisances"
The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship was established in 1994 by VFFF Trustee Emeritus Geoffrey White OAM, to honour Sir Vincent Fairfax.
In its current form, the Fellowship offers a select group of senior executive leaders the opportunity to engage with around 20 others in a highly advanced leadership program, delivered by Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership (CCEL) in partnership with Monash University. The Fellowship anchors leaders in a moral decision framework and coaches for the development of moral reasoning skills and leadership capabilities, applicable in the most dynamic, disruptive and complex business challenges.
In December, VFFF celebrated the graduation of the 26th Cohort of Fellows at a dinner attended by representatives from CCEL and VFFF, including Chairman James Millar AM, CEO Jenny Wheatley, Director Suzanne Cridge, along with Fairfax family members, Tim Fairfax AC, Geoffrey White OAM, Sally White OAM and Angus White. Sir Vincent's grandson and VFFF Director Angus White, addressed the Cohort on behalf of VFFF and the family, reflecting on the example Sir Vincent had set.
“My grandfather’s own example as an ethical leader is captured by Max Suich, who was chief editorial executive of Fairfax newspapers when Vincent was on the board. He described him as a ‘perfect nuisance’ in the boardroom, asking questions about fairness and decency in an environment more accustomed to discussing revenue and distribution numbers. He had the humility and patience to accept that he would not necessarily succeed, but he always had the courage to put forward ideas that were unapologetically derived from his values,” explained Angus.
Sir Vincent was acknowledged as an outstanding leader with a desire to encourage the development of ethical leadership and moral courage in Australia – themes that were discussed throughout the evening. From Uncle Michael West’s Welcome to Country to the address by Dr Leslie Cannold, Programs Director at Cranlana on ‘The Challenge of Moral Leadership in a Democratically Backsliding World’, the Fellows were reminded of the vital role a community of like-minded leaders with a shared vision and commitment to the common good can play in moving Australia forward.
As Sir Vincent's family met the graduating Fellows and heard firsthand of the impact of the program and the obvious bond the cohort formed with Program Director Dr Matt Beard, all agreed that the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship continues to be an important vehicle to honour Sir Vincent's legacy. With 400 alumni and the 27th Cohort of Fellows about to embark on their own journey and exploration of moral challenges, Sir Vincent's influence on leadership in Australia will continue for many years to come through the next generation of "perfect nuisances".