A message from the new ARLF Chair – Rick Sawers 

I am honoured to take on the role of Chair as I enter my final term as an ARLF director.  

My focus will be to guide and support Matt and the team to deepen our collaboration with aligned organisations, increase our reach, and push harder to activate leadership in rural, regional and remote Australia while ensuring that the Foundation is capable and sustainable.  

Thank you to Mike Carroll for all that was achieved during his last six years as Chair. The ARLF is more financially sustainable, more diverse and more highly regarded playing a thought leadership role and setting high standards in the programs and services offered.  

Having the confidence to push on during the covid years was a tangible demonstration of capability and purpose and of the adaptive leadership we seek to create across the country. While many others stopped or stalled, the Foundation chose to design new ways forward and deliver to the sectors and communities that we cherish. All the best for the future Mike and family. 

It is very humbling to play a role in an organisation that has existed for 30 years. In our 30th year, we took on a much larger and broader portfolio of offerings in pursuit of an acceleration of leadership to respond to challenging times. We are proud to have commenced delivering the Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC) program, secured funding for the second component of the Drought Resilience Leaders Program (now known as the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative), developed new partnerships with funding partners and mission-aligned organisations, grown the team by 14 new staff, and continued to grow our alumni network who are having a great impact across the country.  

2022 also had its challenges with delivering programs during another year of the Covid pandemic, requiring the team to be flexible while providing genuine learning experiences to participants. This year, we also started a review of our flagship program, the ARLP, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of all stakeholders into the future. 

A sincere thank you from myself and the Board to all staff and Associates for a job well done. For having the vision and courage to lead and deliver our established national programs through Covid and at the same time to seek, win, and successfully execute a larger portfolio of program activity. This a clear example of the leadership capability the ARLF seeks to build across rural, regional and remote Australia. 

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