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Outstanding regional and rural leadership


ARLP Course 21 Graduate in Wagga

ARLP Course 21 Graduate in Wagga

The sixth and final session for the 21st Australian Rural Leadership Program cohort was part Riverina case-study, part farewell to Course 21 sessions, part welcome to the Network, part celebration and all fun.

It was run in and around Wagga Wagga from Saturday 12 September to Saturday 19 September, and the cohort, along with program facilitator Graham Smith, reached as far as Griffith.

"Wagga has been a great session. It’s been an interesting place to visit and an appropriate ‘wind down’ and time for reflection. The session ticked all the boxes. Congratulations on a fantastic program all round," Course 21 graduate, Jim Wilson, said.

The focus of the session as always was on experiential leadership development and included sessions run by the course group, and for the course group, by local and visiting leaders.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed growing as leader by learning predominantly from others,” Course 21 alumni Julie Rynski observed, as the immersive ARLP experience drew to a close.

Site visits included engaging and thought provoking tours of Teys, Charles Sturt University, Southern Cotton, De Bortoli, Pacific Fresh and the Leeton Visitors Centre.

"C21 Session 6 showcased one of Australia’s most productive agricultural regions, and accessed behind the scenes of some of Australia’s most innovation secondary industries including the Leeton Sunrice Mill, Southern Cotton Gin and De Bortoli Wines," Graham Smith said.

"The key people in these organisations are inspirational leaders and excellent role models for course participants."

Sessions with industry leaders, local government leaders, primary industry, secondary industry and a tertiary institutions were included in the program. Individual presentations took place during the week, and team preparations by course participants for Graduation day were key parts of the session.

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Board and staff contributions were also greatly appreciated. Family, friends, partners, colleagues and alumni joined C21 for the final day's ceremony and celebratory dinner made the occasion particularly special.

“Thank you to the whole ARLF team for this amazing experience,” Course 21's Tanya Lehmann said during Graduation.


“I’ve had the time of my life,” Peter Forbes of Bendigo, remarked.

The ARLF would like to acknowledge and thank all the ARLP sponsors, supporters and friends who were able to attend the ARLP C21 presentation and graduation in Wagga Wagga. The Foundation was honoured to have representatives from many of its partners including the Torres Strait Regional Authority, James Cook University, Rural Finance, industry organisations and government departments. It is the commitment of these organisations and departments that enable the ARLF to pursue ‘outstanding regional and rural leadership’.

An opportunity for all Foundation partners to engage with the ARLF, alumni and participants will be when ARLP Course 22 gather in Canberra and Sydney in the week beginning 9 November 2015.

The ARLF was also honoured to have Race Discrimination Commisioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane deliver the 2015 John Allwright Memorial Address during Friday's Graduation.

Dr Soutphommasane spoke to Course 21 graduates about the need for their leadership in nation-shaping, and the fact that "Australia is at its best when it is bold and open".

His inspiring speech proved a fitting close to the transformational ARLP experience.

“This week was a nicely paced natural closure with lot’s of time for reflection and graduation,“ Course 21 researcher and cotton industry leader, Sharon Downes said.

And Course 21's newly graduated Karina Coombes, of Tiwi Island, said the conclusion of the ARLP would mean a whole new set of skills and perspectives to implement into post-program life.

“The program has given me the confidence to rise as a female leader in my community” Karina said.

Applications for Course 23 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program close at midnight on Friday 25 September. Apply here.

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