The “best investment” this CEO ever made

Victoria MacKirdy

For Victoria MacKirdy, an experienced leader within local government in South Australia, a master’s degree appeared to be the typical stepping stone to reach CEO-level.

“I had been contemplating doing a masters of ‘something’,” Victoria said. 

“I had been a director and an acting CEO but felt a master’s degree was important to becoming a CEO.”

After hearing about Professional and Continuing Education’s Transformative Leadership Program (TLP) and meeting with the Program’s subject matter expert, Andrew Stevens, Victoria’s perspective changed. 

It became evident that the opportunity to solidify and build on her existing leadership strengths through the TLP would provide Victoria not only with a distinct advantage, but a confidence boost, too. 

“Before applying for the TLP, I met with Andrew and talked about what it was that I needed to do next in my career to step up,” she said. 

“I wanted confirmation of the leadership skills I had, but also to understand them more.

“He told me that the TLP is about leadership tools and how to apply them and understanding your own leadership style.

“The program gave me a confidence boost, and really reassured me that I was ready to take on the next challenge.” Victoria MacKirdy

Over a 10-month period in 2017, Victoria, along with 20 other high-performing senior leaders, had the opportunity to engage in deep, experiential learning and develop skills in advanced complex and adaptive thinking capabilities.  

Having access to a strong cohort of fellow professionals through the TLP was a highlight for Victoria, whose key takeaway was the value of networks. 

“I realised that while the leadership journey can be quite lonely, you’re not alone….in fact, you can’t be a good leader on your own,” she said. 

“Leadership is not a solo journey.

“A lot of people are going through similar challenges, and there’s so much value in having a network around you.

“In fact, I still have a connection to the students I studied with, we sometimes exchange commentary about challenges we’ve had.”

Soon after completing the TLP, Victoria was appointed Chief Executive Officer at the City of Victor Harbor: a thriving coastal city nestled on South Australia’s picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula. 

Reflecting on her experience, Victoria credits the TLP as “the best investment I’ve ever made.” 

“I’d encourage anyone to do it…even if you don’t plan on being a CEO, the program is fantastic.” Victoria MacKirdy

“It has helped me both personally and professionally, and really made a difference to my outlook on different aspects of my life. 

“It’s equipped me to see things differently and take on any challenge.”

Since completing the TLP, Victoria has joined the TLP Alumni network. Comprised of hundreds of high-performing leaders who have completed the Program over the past decade, in 2023, she attended their first ever inaugural retreat. 

“I’ve been blessed to be part of the TLP 2 as well,” Victoria said. 

“I’ve made plenty of new connections, who are already speaking the same language as me, and already have something in common.” 

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