Leadership Development

Ross Lewis 


MOBILE: 0409 670 111

EMAIL: ross@sasinc.com.au 

What is this funding all about?

Since June 2019, Self Advocacy Sydney (SAS) has been funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency to give leadership training to people with intellectual disability. This is called Leadership Development.

This funding can help individual people with intellectual disability to become future SAS leaders.  It can also help SAS as an organisation by having more leaders with intellectual disability.

SAS has some great leaders with intellectual disability already.  People like Julie Loblinzk, Robert Strike and our board.

This new National Disability Insurance Agency funding will help SAS to have even more great leaders with intellectual disability.

What does it mean to be a leader at SAS?

SAS leaders help other people with intellectual disability to speak for themselves.  SAS leaders can also help the community to understand the rights of people with intellectual disability and they should be able to be to be part of the community, just like everyone else.

It is important that SAS keeps on training new leaders, particularly younger leaders.  New SAS leaders will help even more people with intellectual disability to speak for themselves.  New SAS leaders will help SAS do its important work for many years.

New leaders can help the community understand that people with intellectual disability can be included and have an ordinary life like anyone else.

What things can SAS leaders do?

SAS leaders can do lots of different things.  Some of these things are:

  • Running training for SAS members.
  • Helping to run a small group to train people with intellectual disability.
  • Speaking to disability services about SAS.
  • Helping research into intellectual disability.
  • Becoming a SAS staff member (paid or a volunteer).
  • Providing peer support to other people with intellectual disability.
  • Being a technical expert for things like Disability Service Standards or NDIS audits.
  • Helping to organise community events.
  • Speaking to local community organisations about SAS.
  • Help to increase SAS’s membership.
  • Being on the SAS board.
  • Being on a board subcommittee.


When can new SAS leaders do these things?

Sometimes it might take a while for new SAS leaders to learn to do these things.  Sometimes new SAS leaders might have to wait until positions are available.   For example, to be a board member there needs to be a vacancy on the board and the new leader would have to be interviewed for the role.  Even though new SAS leaders might have to wait until positions are available, they can still keep learning and practising to be a leader. Sometimes a new SAS leader can do some leadership things very quickly.

Finding new SAS leaders

SAS can find new leaders in many places.  Sometimes we might know people with intellectual disability who might be like to become a new SAS leader.  Some new SAS leaders might already be a SAS member or already attend SAS events.

Sometimes we might have to look for people we don’t know but who might be good future leaders if they are trained and learn to speak for themselves.  Here are some ways we can find potential SAS leaders:

  • By telling people on our Facebook site.
  • By putting information on our website.
  • By speaking to disability services, like Disability Employment Services (DES), Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE’s), other advocacy services or any other disability groups.
  • By talking to local government such as Blacktown City Council and the City of Parramatta.
  • By working with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and Local Area Coordinators (LAC’s) who will promote SAS.
  • By talking to specialist services such as those who support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Leadership plans

We need to know your individual leadership goals and what areas you want to develop.  We will use Client Action Plans and add a section for Leadership Development.  If the new leader is already a SAS staff member, we will use their Staff Development Plan.

Each new leader will have different needs.  They will work with Julie, Arthur, Ross or other SAS leaders to write down their goals, who will support them, what they need to do and how long this will take.  These are called learning objectives.

We will make a development plan for every new SAS leader.  These individual plans will be reviewed at least every 3 months and then a changed plan will be put in place for another 3 months.  You don’t have to wait for three months if you think of new ideas you would like to learn or practice.  It is possible that this can happen straight away.

How we will develop new leaders

There are many ways to develop new SAS leaders.  Each new SAS leader will choose what is best for them.  It is important that SAS leadership training meets your own needs.  Some training may be in other languages.  Some training may have a deaf interpreter.  Sometimes technology will be used, such as assisting people who are blind or have low vision.  If people have mobility issues we can use things like Skype, Facetime, Messenger or a teleconference.

At SAS, we help each other to become better leaders.  If you want to become a SAS leader, we will help you.  You are not on your own, you will become part of the SAS team and we will support you.

What are some things new SAS leaders can learn?

New SAS leaders can learn many things.  Here are just a few things you might learn.  Not every new SAS leader learns all of these things:

  • Learning about leadership in small groups of other new leaders.
  • Understanding different leadership styles.
  • Increasing the ability to better speak up for yourself.
  • Using training such as developed by NSW Council for Intellectual Disability.
  • Using a leadership mentor who is best for your needs. You may choose a number of different leadership mentors or change people over time as you want to learn new things. A mentor is an experienced leader who has experience that will help you learn and who you can talk to privately about your leadership learning.
  • Assertiveness training- this means being honest to other people but also respecting other people’s rights.
  • Interactive people skills training. This includes how to listen to other people and understand them. It also means how you can better communicate with other people with intellectual disability so that they understand you.
  • Meetings with other new SAS leaders and SAS staff. This might be in small groups or one to one.
  • Developing more confidence and presentation skills.
  • Running small group sessions after you been trained.
  • Work experience as a trainee leader at SAS.
  • Work experience as a Technical Expert in audits or other fee-for-service work.
  • Visiting support organisations like Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS).
  • With current SAS leaders or support people, educate the community on the value of people with intellectual disability.
  • Confidentiality, privacy and correct relationships. Being a SAS leader means that you sometimes have to keep things to yourself.  Sometimes if means that you have to let other leaders know of problems, such as abuse.   You should not become dependent on other people and they should not become dependent on you if this is not what you both want.
  • You will be part of a leadership team who supports each other. Being part of a new SAS leadership support group will use reflective practice to see how everyone is going. New leaders will support one another to develop even more.
  • Providing peer support to other people with intellectual disability. This is called being a Peer Leader and includes mentoring others to speak for themselves, providing advice on practical support (such as budgeting, housing, healthy eating and using public transport). Also providing information on services such Centrelink , DES or the NDIS.


What areas do we cover?

SAS’s head office is in Blacktown but we can support people who live anywhere in Sydney.

What should you do if you would like to talk about being a SAS leader?

We would love to talk to you about becoming a new SAS leader.  Here are some ways you can contact us:

  • Ring Ross Lewis on 0409670119 or
  • Leave a message at the SAS office on (02) 9622 3005 and we will call you back. 

We are very happy to meet with you wherever you would like and where you feel safe.  You are welcome to bring along a support person or a family member if that is your choice.

If you prefer let us know about other ways we can provide information for you, like through an interpreter (language or signing) or by technology such as Messenger or FaceTime.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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