Empowering autistic adults to contribute to decision-making in the corporate environment

2019 Governance Program

In July 2019, the Governance Program was developed and run by the Sylvia Rodger Academy. The 2019 program included 14 autistic adults aged 25-59 from across Australia. Four of the seven project team members identified as autistic, and five of the seven members of the project team were experienced in corporate governance.

After completing online modules, a three-day residential workshop was held in Melbourne and created an environment for people to learn about corporate governance from experienced directors, share their experiences in corporate governance and network with each other. More formal sessions covered corporate governance-related topics such as financial literacy, risk and strategic planning.

Governance Program participants also undertook board observation placements to further develop their corporate governance skills. Our 14 Governance Program participants will graduate from the program in April 2020.


To be eligible to apply for the Governance Program an applicant needed to:

  • identify as autistic
  • be aged 18 or older as of the 12th of August 2019
  • live in Australia
  • be willing and available to participate in all of the program activities
  • have an interest in both:
    • contributing to corporate decision-making
    • developing their potential in corporate governance.

What was the application and selection process?

There were three parts to the application:

  • Part A asks you questions about who you are and some of your experience
  • Part B is a series of selection questions
  • Part C is a series of marketing questions and a declaration that you have filled out the application yourself

Part A and C were answered using the online form; Part B were answered by using the online form, recording a video, or submitting a PowerPoint presentation. Information on how to submit video or PowerPoint presentation responses is provided in the Application Information Pack.


Below you can find answers to some of the questions you may have about the Governance program.

Corporate governance refers to how a group enables an organisation to achieve its goals, control risks and ensure compliance. It involves decision-making, policy creation and more, and take the form of a Board, advisory group or management committee.

Corporate governance is equally important to the running of both corporations and non-profit organisations.

We are looking for autistic people who want to make a difference by contributing to decision-making in the corporate environment. This means we aren’t looking for a set amount of governance experience.

However, as this is an advanced leadership course, successful applicants will need to demonstrate their interest in and readiness to pursue a representative or participative role. A fundamental understanding of decision making, and organisational behaviour or foundational leadership training would be considered an advantage in the selection process.

The selection questions will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your interest and potential in corporate governance.

For those who are interested in emerging leadership, or looking to develop your leadership skills, consider applying to our Future Leaders program.

There is no cost to participate in the Governance Program, and travel and accommodation expenses for the workshop will be covered.

Corporate governance is a skillset that is applicable across all types of organisations, not just autism-specific organisations. The skills taught in the Governance Program are applicable to any corporate environment.

No, you can’t submit an application on someone else’s behalf.

However, you are welcome to tell someone you think they should apply.

No, unfortunately we are not able to offer our program internationally.

The Governance Program is for autistic adults and so you are not eligible this year. We hope to run the Program again in the future. To receive notifications about Programs offered by the Sylvia Rodger Academy, click the link below.

Keep Me Informed

Yes, you are eligible to apply on the same basis as other applicants. This means your suitability for this Program will be assessed using the information you provide in your application.

If your application is successful, you will need to complete another online form. This will ask you to tell us things like who we should contact in an emergency and what your dietary and accessibility needs are.

There won’t be any interviews.

We will only ask more questions during the application process (by email) if something in your application is unclear.

TThe exact venue and city for the workshop is still being determined. It will take place in an Australian capital city, and Autism CRC will pay for your travel and accommodation costs.

Decisions will be based on several different factors including:

  • where you live
  • your specific motivation to be involved in corporate governance
  • what we know about your areas of interest from your application

No, this is not an employment program.

No, however on completion you will become a graduate of the Governance Program and a member of the Sylvia Rodger Academy.

Unfortunately, no. We expect to receive a lot of applications and won’t be able to give specific feedback about why an individual application was not successful.

No, we consider attending the residential workshop to be an essential part of the Governance Program.