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TRAILblazers 2013 reunite

TRAILblazers 2013 reunite

The 2013 TRAILblazers cohort formed a particularly strong bond as Kari Arbouin, Geoff Kent, Basil Lenzo, Bryan Skepper, Peter Haydon, Stephen Butt and Ian Taylor participated in the eight-day program last October. Each of the seasoned leaders taking part gained new approaches to leadership challenges and opportunities, plus a refresh in their energy levels and perspectives. But one of the most significant things the group gained was the tight, supportive network they have in one another.

The entire TRAILblazers 2013 cohort of seven, along with their facilitator Zoe Routh, reunited for a three-day weekend at Katoomba in late October 2014, 12 months after their course. The weekend involved a mild physical challenge, some professional development and more than a bit of fun.

Bushwalking around Katoomba each day provided some spectacular scenery and a walk down the giant staircase and back up again provided great exercise and clear heads.

The professional development activities the cohort undertook covered the subjects of corporate culture and spiritual intelligence, while the group quickly reaffirmed their strong bonds with a few kitchen challenges: "We tried our hand at cooking lasagne with home-made pasta (with rolling pin!) and attended a BBQ seafood cooking class at Sydney Fish Market," Professor Geoff Kent said.

He said that sharing an experiential leadership development program like TRAILblazers meant his cohort of seven would be a lifelong resource of mutual support and friendship for each other.

"We were a group that really ‘clicked’," Geoff, who works for the Queensland University of Technology’s Sugar Research and Innovation Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, said.

"Getting back together after a year, we slipped right back into the groove like we hadn’t been apart. We were able to recreate a lot of the feeling that we had during the course."

The reunion also provided an opportunity for the program's graduates to reflect on the lessons they had carried through and put to use over the twelve months since TRAILblazers.

"For myself, the course gave me a lot of enthusiasm and confidence that I’ve been able to maintain for the most part over the past 12 months," Geoff said.  

"Many of us have had significant changes in our professional lives during the year and have weathered them remarkably well, with some ongoing support from each other.

"As far as specific items for the personal toolkit, the main one for me was a brief comment from Craig Rispin about a concept called ‘getting things done’ that has helped me enormously in terms of time and task management. The other one that I have used successfully is Ken Hudson’s ‘Blitz’ technique for brainstorming."

The group has already started intial planning for their two-year anniversary.

TRAILblazers is an exclusive eight-day residential advanced leadership development program for experienced leaders working in complex contexts on multi-faceted issues. It takes place in Canberra, ACT and surrounds and is delivered by the Foundation’s senior facilitators and leading edge thinkers. It covers post-conventional leadership concepts; systems thinking as a tool for strategic intervention; and creative thinking for innovative solution-finding to difficult problems. It also examines political influence and shaping the national and international agenda in rural Australia.

Registrations for the next program in February 2015 are now open.

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