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Outstanding regional and rural leadership


TRAILblazers Program Feb 2015

TRAILblazers Program Feb 2015

The Foundation's first TRAILblazers program wrapped up on Monday, 24 February, with a graduation dinner celebrating the six seasoned leaders who completed the eight-day, experiential program.

The short program is designed for leaders who have been engaged in a range of roles and who have worked in complex contexts for a significant period of time.

Participants Susan Benedyka, Darryl D’Souza, Carl Jensen, Suzi Moore, Alex Ogg and Michael Wilks all work in or for rural and regional Australia, and represent the industries of regional development, pork production, finance, sugar, fisheries and Indigenous business.

As well as building relationships and networks with the Foundation’s 900-strong alumni body, the TRAILblazers’ cohort examined political influence, the 'leadership maturity framework', and heard from a range of speakers, including futurist Criag Rispin.

Susan Benedyka, an experienced facilitator with the Regional Development Corporation, is also a graduate of the Foundation’s flagship Australian Rural Leadership Program, which she graduated from in 1998.

“The ARLP helped me to recognise that I wanted to work with rural and regional communities for the rest of my life,” Susan said recently, of her work engaging rural and regional communities.

For Susan, TRAILblazers offered the perfect opportunity to refresh and recalibrate her leadership and her focus as well as honing new capabilities.

“Things that really motivate me are community and stakeholder engagement, facilitation and using facilitation really wisely, strategic planning and leadership development,” Susan said.

TRAILblazers covers post-conventional leadership concepts; systems thinking as a tool for strategic intervention; and creative thinking for innovative solution-finding to difficult problems.

Foundation CEO Matt Linnegar said TRAILblazers plays an important part in sharpening the focus for leaders who may already appear to be ‘at the top’.

“We know that good leaders never stops learning, and this TRAILblazers group are all great examples of self-aware individuals who are committed to ensuring they are able to give their best to their industries and communities,” Matt said.

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