Spotlight on EMCR groups—Oceanic Nutrition Leadership Platform

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Members of the Oceanic Nutrition Leadership Platform

Jessica Danaher
ONLP Attendee, Lecturer/Early Career Development Fellow in Nutrition at RMIT and Accredited Practicing Dietitian


The Oceanic Nutrition Leadership Platform (ONLP) encompasses a network of nutrition experts working together towards sustainable food and nutrition security for Oceania by developing, inspiring and connecting a new generation of visionary leaders in nutrition.

This year’s ONLP course involved a group of 22 emerging nutrition experts, each making an impact in our chosen area of the field but wanting to go the next step and lead the profession into the future. What we needed was the tools and guidance to do so.

The intensive seven-day biennial course empowered us to develop diverse skills and knowledge, focusing on key areas including leadership, communication, team building, social responsibility, influencing policy and working with industry. The course is set up to facilitate collaboration, share knowledge and opportunities and to create new avenues to support good nutrition practice amongst early- and mid-career individuals working in nutrition-related fields.

The opportunity to establish a collaborative network with other emerging nutrition experts can underpin career development and support ambitions for becoming a future national and international leader in the nutrition discipline. The skills that we were armed with are also necessary for forming active and ongoing partnerships with key industry and public health sectors so that we can influence positive nutrition outcomes.

The ONLP course provided foundation tools to learn about the many facets of leadership and allowed us to develop our understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement within our own leadership styles. Time provided for honest self-reflection about ourselves as leaders was an invaluable step in our growth. These insights have already helped me to become a better lecturer and research supervisor, the type who can influence, motivate and inspire students to embrace a rich learning environment.

My personal goal was to build on my capacity for growth as a leader and develop a greater self-awareness—and that was certainly achieved. The most valuable lessons I learnt were:

  1. To know which parts of my role I can start delegating. The team's coach does the purpose setting, motivating and planning of the moves—not the playing!
  2. That a key measurement of a good leader is the creation of opportunities for others to grow so that they too can become leaders.
  3. To always bring my unique strengths to the table—the weird and the wonderful.

Armed with the knowledge gained from the course content and facilitators, it is with confidence, influence and intent that this year’s ONLP delegates will move forward and take our places as future nutrition leaders.

© 2019 Australian Academy of Science