Meet our team:

Tom Henderson

Photo of Tom Henderson

Tom Henderson

Stanmore, New South Wales (Eora Nation)

Co-Founder, Polykala

Tom is a facilitator with roots in community development, media, and politics. He has an extensive track record facilitating complex, multi part processes for state, local government, and community organisations.

Tom is a graduate of the Groupwork Institute and Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Art and Practice of Leadership Development program. His work across Australia combines a core maxim of person-centre facilitation, ‘the wisdom is in the room’, with an inquisitiveness about group dynamics that fuels his graduate study in social psychology (University of Melbourne). Tom is a co-founder of Polykala, which seeks to bring the best ideas practice from around the world to sectors and communities that are often under served. A communications specialist by training (BA, University of Melbourne), Tom believes in the power of conversation to share stories and write new ones.

Tom has designed and delivered whole of organisation culture change projects that help people bridge the gap between reality and aspiration – particularly when it comes to values and ways of working together. This began in 2012 working with young people, people living with disabilities and newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees in community gardens and community centres to help develop skills and confidence in leadership practice and advocacy. Working at the grassroots level has equipped Tom with an abiding respect for the resilience and creativity of communities despite structural disadvantage and inequality.

In his capacity as co-founder and co-director of Polykala, Tom is currently delivering (in partnership with Australian Rural Leadership Foundation) nation-wide leadership and resilience training for 20 remote, regional and rural communities to tackle the socio-ecological effects of drought and economic transition. Of all his professional experiences across Australia, Tom has been most educated and inspired by working with and learning from First Nations people. Whether it is supporting emerging and established Elders in communities in Papunya or Santa Teresa or being introduced to Wiradjuri philosophy from Elders on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, Tom believes the work of facilitation cultivates genuine relationships and connection with Country before leaping to policies or ‘solutions.’

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