Laila Gampfer runs a successful raw treats business, Rawsome, in Perth, Western Australia. Taking time away from her small empire and team of 14 staff members seemed an almost impossible luxury. But when she won a Ruby Mary Reibey scholarship to attend a six-day General Managers course at AGSM, she knew it would be a once in a lifetime experience.

“I couldn’t believe it when I won! To be picked from thousands of entrants is a real honour,” says Laila.

Designed to help leaders fine-tune their strategy and management skills, the course takes participants on a transformational journey to show them how their leadership, decisions and behaviours impact overall wellbeing, employee engagement, organisational culture and performance.

“I went in wanting to learn innovative processes and tangible ways I could improve my business – and ultimately come out a better, wiser and stronger leader.”

The AGSM experience

The five and a half day residential course requires participants to participate in evening activities as well as daytime sessions.

“Every day was packed with back-to-back activities, lectures, presentations and wellbeing sessions. We’d start with a group exercise at 6:30am and finish the last lecture around 10pm,” Laila recalls. “Although they were long days, there was never a dull moment and the wellbeing sessions gave us a chance to recharge and find balance – something that’s easy to let slip in your normal day to day.”

“The lecturers were all passionate, committed and enthusiastic, and the way they delivered the course content was engaging and interesting.”

The focus on wellbeing and overall holistic approach of the course was something that both surprised and delighted Laila.

“The course is structured around the sa​me principles it teaches. Taking time for reflection, relaxation, socialising and exercise – and discussing the effects this can have on your ability to lead – was a welcome yet unexpected addition. I was really impressed to discover that health and wellbeing were integral components of the course.”

The outcome

Laila has returned to her business full of energy and ideas – and a clearer idea of where she wants to go.

“As soon as I got back into work, I started implementing changes,” she says. “Adopting the agile meeting process has made a real difference to the way our creative team approaches new product development. We spend ten minutes a day for two weeks writing all thoughts and ideas down on a whiteboard. On the 14th day, we make the call on whether an idea will progress or not. If it does, we keep going with it until we have a new product to go to market with, or we go back to Day One and start coming up with new ideas.”

The experience was extremely rewarding for Laila and has inspired her to continue learning – and she hopes to return to study to complete her MBA.

“Speaking in general terms, I feel much more confident tackling challenges now than I did before the course. I think bigger than I ever have – and so does my team.”

She has also integrated regular yoga and meditation sessions into her routine, which she says keeps her head clear and focused on the tasks at hand.

“I refer to the concepts I learned daily and the processes have become second nature. I’d recommend this course to all business leaders. It was life changing.”

Find out more about the General Manager Pro​gram.​