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SHIFT Foundation

​The SHIFT Foundation, head quartered in Melbourne, Australia was a global organisation serving future leaders around the world.

What was the vision?

To produce world leaders with the capacities to both envisage and implement how the world needs to be organized to create a unified, sustainable and evolvable global society.

What was our mission?

To provide education, mentorship, community and opportunities for the world’s future leaders.

How did we accomplish our mission?

  • Working with extraordinary young leaders, businesses and government leaders

  • Conducting bench-marking research on the unmet needs and educational opportunities for young leaders

  • Using research results to inform educational design and planning

  • Attracting social investment to programs

  • Securing a world class faculty of educators, mentors and guest speakers


SHIFT Foundation was in dialogue with great young leaders around the globe learning about their passions, aspirations, challenges and fears. Their passion varied from commercial to social to political to cultural interests. Their aspirations were intrinsically linked to who they were and an expression of the opportunities they saw to create a better world.


Their greatest challenges were encountering systems and paradigms that are behind the level of expansion that their aspirations represented and that they lacked the skills and experience to break through them. The result is that they felt frustrated, disappointed, disempowered and isolated and when they hit roadblocks their resolution was slow.


Today, in an age of speed, technology and globalization, the issues facing our leadership are deeply complex and interwoven, characterized by leadership that is at best authentically trying and barely staying afloat, and at worst deceitful, utilitarian and utterly incompetent.


SHIFT researched what it means to be a great leader. We looked at the greatest leaders of our time including Ghandi, Mandela and Luther King. When you consider the qualities that have made these leaders exceptional and some of the most revered in history, it has been their ability to transcend self interest, connect with a larger vision, find a deeper knowing and inner certainty, and then utilise that to create unprecedented large-scale transformation in the face of ignorance and opposition.


In 2005, SHIFT Foundation consulted 15 extraordinary young global leaders to establish where existing leadership education was failing to meet their needs and what new capacities would best support them. The research found that despite the success these leaders had achieved and the resources available to them; they still sought a more advanced, deeper level of development that provided access to:


  • A greater awareness of themselves as a key capacity in leading change

  • An increased capacity to enter and embody multiple perspectives and worldviews

  • A capacity to steward more transcendent views that integrate mind and heart and are rooted in love, not fear

  • An increased ability to cultivate new spaces where creativity, innovation and critical thinking is ignited, and where assumptions can be questioned and opposing perspectives explored and mined for opportunities


The SHIFT Foundation created a number of programs specifically tailored to serve the sophisticated learning needs and aspirations of these young global leaders.


What did SHIFT accomplish?

  • Secured seed capital from two North American philanthropists

  • Secured $1.5 M in pro bono support for the development of the organisation

  • Established International Advisory Board

  • Established National Advisory Board

  • Developed a Prospectus for Social Investors

  • Initiated and developed volunteer involvement

  • Represented SHIFT at major global forums (Tallberg Forum, Sweden and Waldzell Meeting, Austria, Be the Change, London, UK, World Blu, Washington, USA)

  • Selected as one of three global nominating organisations for “Architects of the Future”, Waldzell Meeting, Austria (SHIFT Foundation, Ashoka, Echoing Green)

  • Successfully nominated 5 young leaders from Australia, India, China and East Timor to be selected as “Architects of the Future”, Waldzell Meeting, Austria

  • Participated in Global Leadership Network (USA) Research Study

  • Represented SHIFT at Global Leadership Network Meeting, Omega Institute, USA

  • Designed, developed and conducted Future World Leaders Needs Assessment

  • Convened SHIFT Conversations

  • Convened The Space

  • Emerging Leaders Events (held monthly commencing May 2010). Sessions and programs for emerging leaders around the themes, challenges and questions they might face around leadership. 

  • Delivered SHIFT Coaching and Mentoring Services for emerging leaders.

After sixteen years the SHIFT Foundation is no longer offering its programs and initiatives.

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