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Melbourne Business School launches scholarship in memory of Jo Leonard

Melbourne Business School and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre have launched a new scholarship for women working in cancer treatment and research.

Melbourne Business School facilitator Jo Leonard

The scholarship was created in memory of Jo Leonard, a long time Melbourne Business School facilitator and coach who died of ovarian cancer in 2016.

"This scholarship is such an honour for us all. It is a fitting and wonderful gesture and so great a reminder of how loved and admired Jo was in her workplace," said Jo's husband, Ian Hart.

Each year, the scholarship will be offered to women working in leadership positions within one of the 10 institutions that make up the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Recipients will take part in the five-day Leading for Organisational Impact: The Looking Glass Experience program, designed to give senior leaders the skills and perspective to have impact across an entire organisation.

"The criteria to select an experienced senior female manager is especially relevant to Jo's executive education goals and interest in cancer research, trials and education," Ian said.

"She combined a passion for leadership with humour and wisdom. Those are the traits she encouraged in her clients and modelled with them."

Associate Professor Sue-Anne McLachlan, Medical Director of Oncology and Cancer Services at St Vincent's Hospital, will be the first recipient to take part in the program later this year.

"I look forward to stepping away from clinical duties to immerse myself in all the course has to offer and to network with women in non-medical fields," she said.

St Vincent's Hospital has around 7500 malignant cancer admissions and 6000 same-day admitted episodes annually. Associate Professor McLachlan said she hoped the scholarship would allow her to offer stronger support to junior colleagues and work towards achieving gender equality in the medical field.

"Our medical schools have an even split of women and men entering the profession now, however few women progress to the top," she said.

"I feel it is my responsibility to 'step up' to support my junior female colleagues and to work to action change and address some of the challenges faced by women in the medical profession at both my institution and within the VCCC alliance."

Clarence Da Gama Pinto, Melbourne Business School Senior Fellow in Leadership, said Jo's dedicated approach to education continued to inspire her colleagues even after her death.

"Jo was associated with Melbourne Business School for over 20 years. She undertook personal development and professional accreditations regularly so that she could give her best to her clients," he said.

"Having worked closely with her on many programs, Jo's enthusiasm for the Looking Glass Experience simulation was infectious.

"Jo's colleagues continue to miss her greatly and are elated at the creation of this prestigious scholarship in her memory."

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