They had come from all four cardinal points of South Africa: the north, south, east and west — and also the centre. Each individual brought with them what they thought was a unique set of institutional and personal challenges. By the end of the introductory session the attendees had realised that their peers faced similar challenges, just from different contexts.

This was a group of 30 comprising heads of schools or departments and academic or programme leaders who were brought under one roof for a leadership development intervention.  The two-day event, titled Foundations of Leadership/Management Programme, was taking place under the auspices of the Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) programme of Universities South Africa. It was hosted in Hatfield, Pretoria.