Select Page

Advanced Mentoring Program

Join the Advanced Mentoring Program: Mastering Engagement through Group Coaching and Mentoring.

Want to take your practice to the next level? Co-create your own learning journey and topics to explore with a collaborative group of 12 peers, guided by an industry leading group Mentor, in this new approach to your professional development at the Advanced Level of Engagement Practice.

Stay tuned for updates to the program.


This is your opportunity to:

  • To learn from leaders in engagement
  • Connect with other practitioners and strengthen networks in a collaborative environment
  • Challenge, stretch and hone your skills
  • Benefit from your group Mentor’s expertise and the experience in the room
  • Apply learning to your ongoing work
  • Elevate your career and professional development
  • Build confidence

This exclusive program will only be run once in 2024.

Consisting of 9 x 90-minute sessions, you will research and prepare a presentation on a contemporary and relevant topic,  for discussion and learning points from the Mentor and the group. Each session will also feature discussion of current events and their impact on Engagement practice.

Each program is capped at 12 participants for maximum benefit, and only one program will run in 2024, so this is an exclusive opportunity.

An application process will apply.

Program aim

You will extend and expand your knowledge and practice by exploring aspects of Advanced Engagement Practice through research, reflection on current practice, Group Mentor and peer feedback, networking and sharing experiences.

Program outcomes

As part of the program, you will:

  • Explore key aspects of Engagement practice at a complex, strategic and advanced level
  • Reflect on your practice, complete a before and after self-assessment and capitalise on a framework for ongoing professional development
  • Discuss topics of advanced Engagement and draw conclusions for improving practice
  • Research in detail a specific topic of interest and present to the wider group
  • Keep current with immediate issues and trends in the industry and practice
  • Increase your networking skills and reach as Practitioners within the industry
  • Share advanced practice and experiences within a diverse group of practitioners.

Is this right for me?

  • This program is aimed at engagement practitioners at senior levels within the practice – (Managers, Consultancy leaders, Practice leaders and with a significant level of experience – 10 to 15+ years), with complex Engagement projects and processes experience
  • Practitioners from all and diverse backgrounds from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to apply

About the mentors

You will be guided in your exploration of your engagement topics by senior Leaders in Engagement Practice, who have been selected based on their skills, experience and connections in the industry.

High level overview of the characteristics and skills of the mentors

Mentors possess considerable and significant experience (equivalent of 20 plus years) in highly complex and deep engagement practice in a range of industry sectors, and are recognised as Leaders and Role Models in the Engagement industry and practice in Australia and NZ. They typically have contributed significantly to the industry through networking, governance, research and other leadership activities.

Mentors also bring skills and experience in facilitating group mentoring, coaching, learning processes and dialogue.

Meet the mentors

Max Hardy

Max Hardy

I am delighted to be selected as an IAP2 mentor. Let me tell you a little about me, my story and what I can offer as a mentor.

After working as a social worker, and then in project management and social policy roles I moved into a consulting role at Twyfords in 1996. I found myself working as a “Senior Community Consultation Consultant” and mostly engaging communities and stakeholders on major water projects up and down the NSW coast.

In 1998, along with 9 others, I helped to establish IAP2 Australasia. Then, I became an accredited licensed trainer for IAP2, working mostly across Australia and New Zealand, and to some extent in North America. Delivering the IAP2 Certificate Course was the major part of my work. It led to me being selected as a Master Trainer for IAP2, and co-designing and facilitating training academies in the UK and Canada, as well as overseeing practicums of emerging Australasian trainers.

In recent years I have moved more into project work, especially in designing and facilitating deliberative engagement projects, including Citizens’ Juries. I am especially interested in the legacy left by engagement projects; working toward achieving greater trust, mutual respect, and wiser decisions/solutions. I’ve always wanted to do my bit to build a better world!

I have been very fortunate to work in many different sectors over the past 25 years (OMG, 25 years!), including health, urban planning, environmental issues, infrastructure, local government, agriculture and natural resource management. I’m increasingly interested in and developing my skills and understanding of codesign, collective impact/systems change and deep democracy. I never stop learning. I love exploring new ways to tackle complex challenges.

Anyway, what about mentoring and what can you expect from me? I’m a huge fan of appreciative inquiry, strategic questioning and being a resource to those I am mentoring. I have lots of stories, examples and ideas. I also expect mentees to bring plenty to the table. We will all get smarter as a result of our conversations.

I believe I have lots to offer around culture change in organisations to support meaningful engagement, building support for processes with executive teams (especially skeptical ones) and in developing remits/questions worthy of engaging the community about. Anything to do with collaboration, deliberation and co-design is my specialty.

Leisa Prowse headshotLeisa Prowse

A couple of things happened in 1991: Daryl Braithwaite released ‘The Horses’ and I graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Regional and Town Planning.

Early on, while working as a strategic planner at Brisbane City Council, I got to coordinate responses to community submissions on Livable Brisbane. I loved reading the community’s ideas for Brisbane’s future, and I realised that it was this aspect of planning that I enjoyed the most.

At the time, there were not a lot of people specialising in community and stakeholder engagement. But, I found a great mentor who helped me to understand what the industry could offer, and the skills I would need.

I went back to university. I studied communication, majoring in organisational communication. I knew that my combination of planning and communication skills would provide a great foundation for the work I wanted to do.

I have worked in local and state government, and the private sector. My 25 years working in consultancy environments has included working for a communications consulting firm, a multi-disciplinary multi-national firm, and my own business, which I established in 2013.

I have worked on more than 255 public and private sector projects across Australia during my career. These projects have included highly complex projects, and large and small scale projects. These projects have been delivered across a range of industry sectors, including transport, resources, energy, water, property, health and social services, defence, education, agriculture, and planning.

One of the brilliant things about working on infrastructure and planning projects is that they get built or they take shape on the ground. It has been satisfying to deliver work that has helped to shape neighbourhoods, towns, cities and regions.

I have had some great mentors throughout my career. People who have taken the time to listen, share their learnings and insights, and help me grow personally and professionally.

Over the past almost 30 years this industry has given me some incredible experiences and challenges, in incredible places, with incredible people. It would be a privilege to share this experience with others.

Amanda NewberyAmanda Newbery

Community and stakeholder engagement is my passion. I’ve been lucky enough to consult on the ground in Qld, NSW, Victoria, NZ, Northern Territory and on national projects. I’ve been on the Australasian Board, committees, judged awards and won an International Project of the Year award. I created Australasia’s first AR app for community engagement, and was a co-developer of the Australasian Certificate of Engagement training program. I’m a long-standing weekly ABC radio panellist.

Along the way I’ve been a university tutor and sessional lecturer, and been a student mentor for 20 years at QUT. Most importantly, mentoring is a joy and a privilege.​ In every mentoring relationship I think I’ve gained as much as I’ve given. Inspiration. Joy. Friendship. And new insights.​

This is my story.

I started life as a journalist before moving into communication. I got used to groups fighting and arguing. But I knew there must be a better way.

Defining Moment #1 – Lesson #1 Fight fake engagement

In my first “engagement project” I was asked to ask the community to name a public facility – but was told they had already selected a name. I declined the project and instead launched a research project to understand action groups to urge decision makers to do better at engagement. Since then I’ve carried a passion for evidence-based practice.

Defining Moment #2 – Lesson #2 Trust in humanity but stay safe

At a fiery engagement event, a man in his 70s was so angry he tried to backhand me across the face. I felt the wind across my cheek but somehow he stopped. Shocked, somehow I realised he felt powerless and scared, so in that moment I handed him my notebook and invited him to read it and edit it so he could trust me. He taught me to trust people, but to keep safe.

Defining Moment #3 – Lesson #3 Everyone gets scared

I was setting up for a Summit with half the Cabinet and about 40 mayors to determine infrastructure priorities, when one of the elected officials whispered with calm concern “Can you please just make sure I don’t say the wrong thing. I really need to listen today.” That moment guides how I support our leaders to engage.

Defining Moment #4 – Lesson #4 Sometimes we work long hours but it shouldn’t be the norm.

To finish the report for our largest ever engagement project I worked 36 hours straight. With my colleagues, we checked and polished and edited until we knew it was right, and until I knew we’d properly represented the views of the 270K+ people we’d engaged on the project. From this I learned better ways to analyse.

Defining Moment #5 – Lesson #5 We hold privileged positions.

When times are tough we need to focus on the fact that we do “work that matters”. I think about the hundreds of times where we reach an outcome or community consensus or pride – like ending a 10-year community stoush, saving $20million to spend on public housing, working in COVID, or holding the hand of a crying woman to give her the confidence to tell her story to decision makers.

My engagement journey is filled with joyous moment, hard moments and memorable moments. But I’m excited to think that the best moments are still to come, and I’m looking forward to sharing these with the Advanced Mentoring Program.

Delivery mode

Due to the nature of the participation across Australia and New Zealand, sessions will be virtual via zoom.

Application process

To ensure the optimum learning experience, participation is by application. If you have any questions about the program, please contact info@iap2.org.au .

To secure your place in the program you will need to make your payment and complete the online form including:

  • Your details
  • Evidence of level and depth of experience, including a current CV
  • A statement about why you want to participate and intended application of learning to the workplace
  • Commitment to attend all the program sessions, complete learning tasks and the Code of Conduct
  • Up-front payment of fees (to be refunded if unsuccessful)
  • Referee contact details, (preferably a current supervisor)
  • Applicants are required to be a financial member of IAP2 Australasia

Applications will be considered by a panel against the following criteria:

  • Commitment to the program work and collaboration
  • Level and depth of experience
  • Intended Application of learning to the workplace
  • Commitment to the Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Requirements (Chatham House Rules).
  • Current IAP2 Australasia member

Stay tuned for updates to the program.


The total program fee is $1,500 plus GST.