Because when the ppl with influence don't care, we need the ppl who care to have influence. 

If you're committed to the common good - the public purpose - and want to equip yourself with the tools, skills and confidence you need to lead change for a better world, then MSDI ppl ('people') is for you.

Step into your life's work, no matter where you're working.  

Register your interest 

“This is an exciting new phase in the evolution of an idea that has already empowered and connected change-makers across the planet”
– Jason Clarke, co-founder of CSL

About the program

MSDI ppl will help you build:

  • A leadership plan to guide your future development and grow your influence
  • An action plan to help you tackle a significant work-related challenge
  • A strong network of like-minded people who will push you and hold you accountable


MSDI ppl will help you grow your skills and knowledge so you can:

  • Understand complex problems
  • Use your passion and strengths to serve the public purpose
  • Communicate the challenges and sell the solutions
  • Design interventions that have a greater chance of success
  • Get projects off the ground
  • Influence the direction, policy and practice of your networks and organisation

MSDI ppl will be a catalyst for personal and professional growth. So, if you’re ready to step up, we’re ready to help you.

What you'll learn

MSDI ppl will focus on five key areas:

  • Leading self – including self-awareness, lifelong values, self-improvement and self-regulation
  • Leading others – including empathy, diversity, feedback, collaboration and relationship building
  • Sense making – including global context, problem definition, systems thinking and human behaviour
  • Implementing change – including scoping, structuring, planning, coordination and execution
  • Communicating effectively – including understanding audience, pitching, storytelling and advocacy
Who is the program for?

We’re looking for applicants who have the potential to influence change in a variety of ways and who come from a wide cross-section of professional backgrounds, skills and experience. We're looking for people who:

  • are committed to the common good – the public purpose
  • want to do something to create change 
  • come from diverse sectors – business, government, academia, social sector

The course is best suited to people who have 5-10 years of work experience. No formal academic or professional experience in sustainable development is required. Alumni of previous programs have gone on to be:

  • Partners in global consulting firms and leading law firms
  • Members of state parliament and local government councillors
  • Award-winning entrepreneurs
  • Impact investment professionals
  • Directors in city, state and federal governments
  • Senior academics and researchers
  • Founders and CEOs of leading non-profit organisations
  • Change makers across a variety of roles in business, government and non-profit organisations
Structure and duration

MSDI ppl runs over 6 months and includes the following:

  •  3 weekend retreats (Friday-Sunday)
  •  4 x evening workshops* (18:00 – 21:00)
  •  Weekly interactive, online content, delivered on an engaging and easy-to-use learning platform (2-3 hours required per week)
  • The opportunity to work on an individual, professional challenge
  • Peer-to-peer learning

MSDI ppl is developed by experienced educators from MSDI and is delivered by various experts in their field, including specialist facilitators, public purpose leaders and subject matter experts.

*For those living interstate or outside of Melbourne, you are still eligible to apply for the program. The 4x evening workshops can be completed via Video or Zoom for people living outside of Melbourne. The 3x Retreats are compulsory attendance in-person.



Aaron is a dynamic facilitator, energetic community builder and creative experience designer. He has designed and built transformational growth experiences for groups, teams and organisations all over the world. His passion for education and social impact has seen him working at the coalface with young people as well as designing programs at scale with leaders and stakeholders across multiple sectors. He has been a lead facilitator at the Centre for Social Impact Strategy (University of Pennsylvania) and is an Associate Facilitator with Kaospilot business, design and leadership school (Denmark) and current Faculty member at The School of Life.


Claire is a facilitator and collaboration designer working at ClimateWorks Australia. At ClimateWorks she designs and facilitates participatory and collaborative processes and activities to foster system level change towards a decarbonised future. She's passionate about enabling people to work together well on the really tricky problems of today, understanding that without collaboration we can't solve complex problems. As an alumni of the CSL program she provides a continuation of what was and what will be for this program. 

Key dates

In the interest of the public purpose – MSDI ppl is postponed

We have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the Public Purpose Leadership (MSDI ppl) program that was scheduled to start in May.

Monash University is closely monitoring the global health emergency of COVID-19: we have implemented our pandemic plan and we are continuing to work closely with and follow the advice of Australian health authorities and the World Health Organisation. In the interest of safeguarding the health and safety of our entire community, we cannot continue with this program until the public health situation improves. The action best serving the public purpose right now is for everyone to follow the medical guidelines on preventing the spread of the virus. Practice physical distancing and social solidarity.

At this stage, we do not for how long we need to postpone the program. We will publish any updates as soon as there is some clarity.

Please contact or if you have any further questions.

If you would like more detailed information about the University's comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to visit our dedicated webpage or email .

Previous dates (to be updated soon)

Online information session:     12 March 2020
(if you missed it - access the session slides here!)
Applications close:                     29 March 2020
Pre-program reception:             21 April 2020
Retreat 1:                                     1-3 May 2020
Workshop 1:                                26 May 2020
Workshop 2:                                23 June 2020
Retreat 2:                                     17-19 July 2020
Workshop 3:                                4 August 2020
Workshop 4:                                25 August 2020
Retreat 3:                                     11-13 September 2020
Graduation:                                  October 2020


Register before 1 March 2020, and pay $7,975 per person (inclusive of. GST).

After that, the program fee is $8,525 per person (incl.GST).

A select number of scholarships are available for successful applicants who lack the means to participate in the program. Please get in touch if you would like to be considered for a scholarship.

Please read the Participant Fees, Refunds and Cancellation Policy outlined on our website.


The 2020 MSDI ppl program will run in Melbourne only.

All workshops will take place in the Melbourne CBD (at a venue to be determined) and retreats will be held within 150 kilometres of the city.

Program history

MSDI ppl is a program for leaders of the future that builds on the legacy of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL) and its flagship Future Makers Fellowship program. After transforming the careers of more than 700 people with its award-winning courses, CSL closed its doors in December 2018.

Over 13 years of continual improvement, CSL adapted the program to better meet emerging needs, while still maintaining its core objective.

In 2009, the program was extended to Sydney and renamed the Fellowship program and in 2018 it was renamed again as the Future Makers Fellowship (FMF).

Since taking the reins from CSL, MSDI undertook a review of the program and, in December 2019, it introduced the revamped Public Purpose Leadership (ppl) program. A program designed for leaders of the future.

About MSDI Education

MSDI is one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary research and education institutes for sustainable development, based at Monash University — Australia’s largest university. MSDI looks for innovative ways to address some of the biggest environmental, economic and social challenges facing our world, with a focus on delivering largescale, interdisciplinary projects that address global issues aligned to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

At MSDI Education, we offer forward-thinking study programs and courses that enable people and organisations to engage with and respond to these environmental, economic and social challenges.

Through our academic and professional courses, including the new Public Purpose Leadership program, we’re creating a network of leaders and thinkers who have the capacity to collaborate, lead and deliver positive societal change.

Our offering includes tailored-made training for professionals and organisations; postgraduate and undergraduate accredited courses; as well as research degrees and extra-curricular programs designed to inspire emerging change agents in their career and beyond.

We also work with the Monash Business School to offer undergraduate and post-graduate units, including as part of the Monash MBA, and run a variety of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) programs, both online and in-person.

Our longest running education program is Green Steps, an award-winning sustainability leadership program for students which has equipped more than 1000 students with the skills, tools and knowledge needed to become effective leaders and sustainability change agents.


Ellen Sandell

State MP for Melbourne, The Greens

Meg Fricke

Partner, Sustainability Strategy, EY

Michelle Isles

Sustainability Integration Manager, City of Melbourne

Emily Boucher

Principal Environment Officer, City of Kingston

Simon Kuestenmacher

Co-Founder/Director, The Demographics Group

Jen Rae

Practice-led Researcher.

Briony Rogers

Chief Research Officer, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Lachlan Feggans

Director of Sustainability Asia Pacific, Brambles