New ACT awards acknowledge under represented men in leadership
International Men's Day 2023 saw the inaugural Under-Represented Men in Leadership Awards presented in the ACT.
Conceived by governance specialist David Maywald, who describes himself as a Board Member and father, the awards were set up to inspire and encourage leadership among men in Australia's capital.
“The purpose of these new awards is to inspire and encourage men, as well as to provide practical support for future leaders," he told City News.
“When boys and men strive towards being better, the results are positive for our entire society.”
A group of six extraordinary men were presented to the gathered audience, with Torrien Lau and Rohit Borekar named as winners.
Torrien is an experienced senior executive and owner of a bespoke community sector consulting business. He has worked in non-profit executive management for a decade, including as CEO of YMCA Canberra and as CEO of Focus ACT. More recently he has been leading an organisation called Self Help Organisations United Together (SHOUT). Torrien's personal and professional objective is to see a sustainable and vibrant charitable sector that delivers important services to the community, disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
Rohit Borekaris Managing Director of Solution Tech, which operates in the IT and Cyber Security industry. He has dedicated the past four years to mentoring and guiding aspiring individuals in this field (recently he was recognised as Cyber Security Mentor of the Year). Since his arrival in Australia 20 years ago as an immigrant, Rohit has has authored a book titled India to Australia, which has become a source of motivation particularly for international students.
Each award includes a $10k scholarship to undertake further studies or professional development in the areas of leadership and governance and a structured mentoring program with David Maywald along with networking opportunities and introductions that are tailored to each specific winner.
Addressing guests at the Hotel Realm in Barton, former Menslink CEO Martin Fisk spoke about kindness and the need for more men in caring profession. There was also an inspirational panel of diverse and impressive men: Eshan Ahuja (ACT Govt Director and Engineer); Alfred Chidembo (Charity Founder and TEDx speaker); as well as Mainul Haque OAM (Board Member and Community Leader).
Maywald intends to offer the Awards every International Men's Day on November 19. They are open to men who work and live in Canberra, and who have high leadership potential for driving positive change.
Selection criteria includes being a positive male role model, the demonstration of agency in his life, and making a significant contribution to our community. Men from all under-represented categories were encouraged to apply: Indigenous, cultural/ethnic backgrounds, young men aspiring to senior leadership, various types of economic/social disadvantage, disabled, and others.
He says was overwhelming support for the Awards initiative, with positive feedback that there is a large need to do much more for boys and men.
He is seeking corporate sponsors and individual donors to scale-up the number of scholarships, along with a supportive organisation (DGR status) to house this initiative in the medium-term.
“Gender relations aren’t a zero-sum game, I’m seeking to bring moderate women and moderate men together in co-operation," he said.
Maywald is a full-time company director serving on five boards, including registered charities and a public company in the ACT.
He told City News that throughout his two-decade professional career as an investment manager he has has taken a keen interest in the life outcomes of boys and men.
“Boys and men are performing poorly in key areas of education, health, and wellbeing,” he said.
“The return from investing time and money into boys and men is exceptionally high. Healthier, happier and higher-performing men are better for women, children and for society.
“It’s often said these days that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and there are many men who don’t see themselves represented in the current leadership of our public sector, companies, non-profits, or educational institutions.”