Thanks for helping us celebrate!
The 26th October finally arrived, and so did our Gala dinner.
About 270 people including ARLF alumni, representatives from sponsor organisations, staff, board (as well as former staff and board), politicians and special guests came together at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, to help us celebrate 30 years of leadership.
Aboriginal custodians of the Ngambri-Ngunnawal peoples, Ambrose and Leah House, welcomed us with a smoking ceremony at the entrance of the Museum. Guests were invited to wave the smoke over themselves, not only as a gift from the traditional owners of the lands upon which we were gathered, but for its cleansing properties.
ARLP alumni Sally Branson Dalwood and Mena Waller were our guiding lights on the night as our fabulous emcees.
Highlights of the evening included a speech by AgriFutures Managing Director, John Harvey, who talked through our beginnings in 1992 when the need to support leadership in agriculture was initially recognised. Keynote speaker Shane Fitzsimons, Commissioner of Resilience NSW, talked us through all the events that have hit us as a nation since the catastrophic bushfires of 2019. From fires, to floods, mice plagues, and then a global pandemic, it was a stark reminder of the trauma and uncertainty faced by us all over the last few years. He also spoke passionately about the importance of community and connection, and highly commended the broad work of the Foundation in relation to that. (As I write this, my hometown community of Bathurst, and the greater Central West NSW region has just suffered another devastating flood event!).
It was also a privilege to have the Hon Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, join our celebrations, share some of her own leadership journey and officially launch our 2022 Impact Report. This report shines a light onto the significant impact the Foundation has had through our 2212 graduates across rural, regional and remote Australia since 1992. But it also explores the impact beyond the individual through industry sectors, communities, regions and even economies. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, it’s definitely worth a look. 2022 ARLF Impact Report
I was determined to capture a photo of all alumni in attendance at the dinner. Not an easy ask of our fabulous photographer Paul Chapman but just as well I had my trusty ladder in attendance to help give him some extra height and a chance to capture the people filled image. I really love it. See photo attached.
I hope those who could join us enjoyed the night and thank you so much for making the effort. It was a pretty special feeling to look around at all our guests and see such a wide range of amazing people, all together and connected to our 30-year journey in some way.
And to those (and there were quite a few) who were unable to join us due to flooding (or COVID!) you were absolutely missed!
Alumni Gatherings for 2023
Next year will look a bit different for alumni gatherings. We are planning to take a much more state-Based approach, conscious that an event in Canberra is very difficult (and expensive) for many to attend. I’m keen reach out to a few of you to get your ideas and thoughts – so stay tuned.
Alumni Spotlight – Alison Mobbs
If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, make sure you read about the recent study tour of ARLP 27 graduate Alison Mobbs. Her ARLP scholarship from the John B. Foundation also came with additional funding for an overseas study tour. She’s just returned from north America, having taken inspiration from their use of council run showground spaces through the lens of ag innovation. It’s definitely worth a read. Check it out here.
Round 3 Mentoring Graduation
I also had the pleasure of helping the Mentoring team celebrate the graduation of 37 mentor/mentee pairs this week, all of whom will join our fast-growing alumni network. As part of the graduation ceremony, Mentoring Coach Maree McPherson interviewed mentee/mentor pair Miguel and Kate and together they explored the impact the program has had on each of them, including the immense value of being ‘accountable’. Congratulations to all involved – graduates and both ARLF and NFF teams.