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Outstanding regional and rural leadership


ARLP Course 20 reach halfway

ARLP Course 20 reach halfway


Find out what it’s like halfway down the leadership rabbit hole…

The halfway point of the Australian Rural Leadership Program – as only a participant can tell you – is a fascinating point. Perhaps even a turning point, and ARLP Course 20 is currently right there.

Here our leaders share their reflections on what they've experienced, and the journey that remains.

On leadership:

“I have found a safe and supportive environment within the ARLP in which to explore my leadership aspirations, weaknesses, strengths and future focus … Already, I am a more effective, aware, skilled-up and responsible leader who is able to think critically and act more ethically.” Kate Riddell, sponsored by Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation

“My ideas of leadership prior to the course were that leadership was only for an exclusive and small section of the population. Now I believe that many people are leaders in our society and there are many different levels of leadership. Leaders don’t have to have all the answers, know everything and make all the decisions. Good leaders empower others.” Anne Wilkins, sponsored by Woolworths

On highlights:

“The indigenous cross cultural component of the program was a highlight as it got me thinking of how people displayed leadership to survive during the development of my region,” Sam Duinker, sponsored by Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation

On the ARLP opportunity:

“I am at a life stage that faces some fairly important decisions, which will certainly impact on my life’s contribution to the world. The skills and experiences of the ARLP are helping me build my capacity to make these decisions and to create the most effective pathway I can. The ARLP is an extremely valuable tool – one that is carefully building supported, skilled, and resilient leaders with a passion for rural Australia.” Sarah Galloway, sponsored by Health Workforce Australia.

“My ARLP experience to date has been the most valuable professional and personal development process I have yet undertaken. I now view leadership as a role that all people can contribute to, not just the person standing at the front.” Nigel Metz, sponsored by Grains Research and Development Corporation

“What the program has shown me is the value that can be gained from exposure to a diverse range of leaders, rural and social issues and networks in order to expand leadership capacity and creative thinking.” Mark Watt, sponsored by the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries

On courage:

“A common message from the leaders we have met with has been how important it is to have courage. There are a few different reasons why courage is important. You initially need to have courage to stand up and say “this is important, this is why and this is what we need to do about it”.  A leader must also have the courage of their conviction and be willing to stand up for what they feel is right, even if many others don’t.” Elizabeth Stott, sponsored by Cotton Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Australia

On the cohort:

“To be thrust into an unknown group, presented with unknown challenges was amazing.

Being a part of this diverse and gifted group who I can relate to has honestly shifted me sideways, backwards, and now forwards.” Jedd Routledge, sponsored by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

“Feeling connected with such a diverse group who have had a shared the unique ARLP experience builds resilience. These individuals will be a lifelong resource.” Katy Hamilton, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Health

On being halfway:

“Now having finished Session 3 in Canberra and Sydney, I have a more subtle and authentic expression of leadership. I’m not ‘trying’ so hard to be different or better.” Anna Carr, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture

“The ARLP sessions to date have allowed for personal discovery and self-awareness, Indigenous awareness, technical skills associated with lobbying, media engagement, communicating a message effectively, to name just a few. These are all tools required of leaders who will contribute to rural and regional Australia. The focus the ARLP brings to these relevant topics is unique. I am not aware of any other program that can provide such a learning environment and experience to those wishing to contribute more to their industry, community and personal development.” James Palfreeman, sponsored by the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association

On the future:

“My current role is about rural community capacity building and knowledge sharing at a regional level to empower and encourage farmers, community members and groups to trial innovative farm practices and share their learning. It is a challenge to involve new people and to influence change particularly with those who have not been involved in Landcare previously. I see this as an exciting opportunity to develop trust and relationships that in turn leads to respect and a change in attitude and later on, ground practice change.” Karen O’Keefe, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture

“Where to from now ... I am determined to inspire more potential Indigenous Leaders, by continuing to grow, learn and lead change. Of particular interest is gaining a greater insight into the challenges, threats and opportunities facing rural and regional Australia.” Ragina Rogers, sponsored by Health Workforce Australia

“As leaders in the meat processing sector, if we acknowledge the complexity of issues and remain committed to our values, we will find and deliver sustainable solutions for the industry." Beau Taylor, Australian Meat Processor Corporation

On being rural leaders:

“Whether we live in the rural, the regional or the city, there is an invisible chain that connects us all. We are social beings, without a good relationship with others we accomplish not much.” Noemi Cummings, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture

On applying the ARLP:

“You cannot undervalue what this course can do for you through your personal struggles with life. Our region of Tasmania has been hard hit by forest industry closures, factory and food processing closures, mass exodus of our younger residents as they leave to find employment and a drastic increase in the number of benefit-dependent families moving in to take advantage of the cheap rent. So, there are many social challenges as well and I often think about how I can establish ways to engage people in creating a positive, supportive social environment." Jan Hughes, sponsored by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

“Each segment of the ARLP course has been challenging and often it is not until I have stepped back and watched my new attitudes that I have realized that my world view has changed. Since starting the ARLP program my views on what leadership means have changed and I am working on my leadership skills with fresh eyes and purpose.” Robert Watson, sponsored by Dairy Australia

On giving back to industry:

“I think FRDC is on the money with the ARLP sponsorship, as Patrick Hone (executive director) said at the latest board function in Canberra, investing in people is investing in the long-term industry. I think the cross sector learning is fantastic and seeing how other land-based industries deal with issues such as labour shortages, skills shortages and innovation gives a great sounding board for solving those issues that are now arising in the seafood industry." Ben Cameron, sponsored by Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

The value of leadership can be easily seen in Australian Rural Medicine. The rural hospitals without medical leadership churn through locums and don’t ever get beyond crisis management of staffing the facility. However a rural hospital with long-term medical leadership has stable experienced staff with mentorship of juniors. The value of the ARLP to me is that it has crystallised my future goals in resilient rural leadership, which in turn will meet the goals of the Department of Health for a healthier rural Australian community.” Blair Koppen, sponsored by the Department of Health

“I want to make a wider contribution to my industry as, like across most of agriculture, much of the work force is ageing and nearing retirement, yet there are few new leaders being developed from younger generations to bridge this widening skills and leadership gap. While I am young, enthusiastic and passionate about forging a life-long career in Agriculture, I recognize the need to further develop my leadership skills in order to make a real impact. I chose to enroll in the ARLP as I hoped it would greatly enhance my leadership skills, confidence and knowledge and help me become a more effective and professional leader within my organisation and the wider Australian Pork industry.” Bjorn Ludvigsen, sponsored by Australian Pork Ltd

“The value of the ARLP to me is huge as it supports my education and development in becoming a better leader and a more socially aware person. For my sponsor, Fairfax Media, there will be ongoing benefits, which will include the opportunity to work together to deliver innovative IT solutions to the rural sector with more resilient leaders that can and will make a difference.” Anna Speer, sponsored by Fairfax Media

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