2,000 alumni & counting

Exclusive access to portal and Mighty Network for program alumni only.

When you graduate from an Australian Rural Leadership Foundation program you become part of our alumni network.

The network of more than 2,000 members across Australia is the cornerstone of rural, regional, and remote leadership.

Our alumni form a valuable and broad resource of expertise with an enormous capacity to lead, inspire and create change.

They provide a powerful vehicle for exploring and addressing the many, and often difficult, issues and challenges facing rural Australia and its industries and communities.

They contribute to their industry, community, or sector by:

  • demonstrating leadership and supporting others
  • instigating change and development at all levels
  • taking part in policy development
  • engaging in debate about social or structural change/reform
  • working with their program sponsor to ‘give-back’ to Australia
  • working with us, so we can be well-advised and responsive to the needs of Australia.

Honorary Fellows

We award this title to individuals because of their long term support of the Foundation and their commitment to rural, regional and remote Australia.

Rob served on the ARLF Board from June 2013 – November 2018. Prior to this time, Rob has provided long and distinguished service to rural Australia, particularly through his roles in agribusiness, banking, and retail. He is considered a best practice leader in branding and customer engagement, cultural change and employee engagement, risk and issues management, governance, and reputation strategies. First and foremost Rob has exhibited over a significant period of time his contribution (often unpaid) to something beyond his own interest or that of his employer.

Marion Dolby, a Gooniyandi woman from the Galeru Community, and Rosemary Nugget, a Gooniyandi woman from the Mimbi Community, were recognised for their integral role in the Kimberley session of the Australian Rural Leadership Program on 20 October. From the start of the program, these women have willingly and proudly shared their stories, their culture and their land with participants which has greatly enhanced the Kimberley experience for each cohort. In recognition of their valuable contribution, they were both made Honorary Fellows of the Foundation.

On 20 October, Patrick Hone was presented with an Honorary Fellowship by the Foundation. He was recognised for his strong support of leadership development and his dedication to the greater good of rural, regional and remote Australia. Patrick’s support of the Foundation through his role at the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has been constant and he is one of the few people who understands that the investment of an Australian Rural Leadership Program participant goes beyond the individual and the industry.

On 22 September 2016, at the Foundation’s Gala Dinner Leigh Radford, Head Rural and National Programs ABC Regional was recognised for his work of almost 30 years in sharing the stories of rural and regional industries and their communities. He was presented with an Honorary Fellowship, which is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation on a person. In 2018 Leigh co-hosted the ARLF Annual Gala Dinner.

Dr Wendy Craik AM was presented with Honorary Fellowship on 3 March 2016 in Canberra. She was recognised for her outstanding service to the Foundation and her ongoing contribution to leadership development in rural, regional and remote Australia. Wendy was appointed Chair of the Foundation in 2010 and for six years oversaw a period of growth in program offerings, partnerships and curriculum development. Wendy’s contribution to the Foundation was immeasurable.

In a ceremony on Wednesday 25 February 2015, Tim Fairfax AC and his wife Gina Fairfax were honoured for their philanthropic investment in the Foundation’s work. Since 2008, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation (TFFF) has sponsored invaluable ‘untied’ scholarships for leaders from any background or industry to participate in the ARLP. They have also supported the Foundation through various donations for specific projects throughout the life of the organisation. Tim Fairfax has also given generously of his time to the Foundation, voluntarily serving on the not-for-profit’s Board as a member and as Deputy Chair.

The Foundation presented one of its founders, John B Fairfax AO, with an Honorary Fellowship on Tuesday 10 February 2015. John has supported the Foundation in developing leaders for a thriving rural, regional and remote Australia for over 20 years. As a founding member, John has supported the organisation from day one. His personal interest in the fortunes of the Foundation and its growing alumni hasn’t wavered over two decades. Most recently the philanthropic leader attended the graduation of the 20th cohort of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) in Darwin in September 2014.

Grant Cochrane started work as a journalist with Rural Press Limited in 1990 in Queensland and through his various roles has supported the Foundation since its inception. In 1998, Grant became general manager of Queensland Agricultural Publishing, and later of Agricultural Publishing Australia and New Zealand. When Rural Press Limited and Fairfax Media merged in 1997, Grant was appointed CEO Agricultural Publishing, Fairfax Media overseeing its agricultural media assets in Australia, New Zealand the United States. Grant’s relationship with the Foundation has been positive and supportive and has grown over the years. The Foundation, its graduates and rural Australia have benefited from this relationship.

Dr Lesley Fitzpatrick provided seven years of leadership to the Foundation in her role as its Chief Executive, from 2007 until 2014. In this time, she drove the diversification of the Foundation’s program offerings and educational frameworks, as well as broadening the spectrum of those undertaking its leadership programs. Lesley was also responsible for attaining university accreditation for the Australian Rural Leadership Program through James Cook University. Lesley has a Doctorate and a Masters degree in sociology. A fellow of the Sir Gustav Nossal International Fellowship for Leadership in Health Reform and a Finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Lesley is also the recipient of an innovation award from the Australian Institute of Management. In 2012 she was named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence.

The Honourable John Kerin AM worked at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics  (ABARE, now ABARES) before being elected to parliament in 1972. Since leaving parliament, John has held senior positions with the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation, among other organisations. In 2010 he was appointed Chair of the Crawford Fund, which aims to increase Australia’s engagement in international agricultural research, development. John Kerin was awarded an Honorary Fellowship for his contribution to rural Australia in 2013.

Mike Beckingham was one of the driving forces behind establishing the Foundation. His drive, enthusiasm and ability to communicate with the right people to gain the support for the first ARLP program that established the basis for the Foundation. His legacy lives on today in in the many fellows who make a difference in rural and regional Australia. Mike was awarded Honorary Fellowship in November 2009.

John Brockelsby, known as ‘JB’, has been associated with the Foundation since the first ARLP was run in 1993 and has been instrumental to the Foundation through his involvement in every ARLP outdoor session, up to and including Course 17, with the exception of Course 3. John has been firmly committed to the Foundation’s aims and objectives and takes great pride in his long association with the Foundation, believing that it plays a vital role, not only in enhancing the strength of the rural sector to position Australia in facing its future, but also in bringing together all the peoples of Australia.

David is one of the longest serving board members, chairing the Foundation board from November 2000 until March 2008. He was appointed chair of the board when he was president of the NFF, chair of Meat and Livestock Australia, director of FKP Properties, president of Queensland Rugby Union, and director of GRM International. David brought a passion for developing young rural leaders and a determination to improve the Foundation’s governance. He opened doors for the Foundation and facilitated conversations with key people, inducted and supported new chief executives and provided a role model for many graduates and aspiring leaders.

Anne Dunn was a previous Board member. She brought with her a wealth of executive experience in community development, training and women’s issues and governance experience with the Australia Council; the South Australian Training and Skills Commission; the Local Government Cultural Development Task Force; and, the National Regional Women’s Advisory Council. Anne is passionate about the role Foundation fellows (particularly women and Indigenous graduates) play in communities across Australia. Anne was recognized as an Honorary Fellow in November 2009.

Karim Haddad joined the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation in 2008, bringing his own special touch to the Foundation’s unique and specialised approach to leadership development. As Manager of Leadership Education Programs, Karim was an integral part of the Foundation’s iconic Australian Rural Leadership Program. Working in this role until 2013, he forged lasting bonds with multiple cohorts of the ARLP. Prior to joining the Foundation, Karim spent 14 years with Outward Bound Australia in a variety of leadership roles from Group Instructor, Course Co-ordinator to CEO. He has consulted extensively in leadership program design within Australia as well as in Oman, Madagascar, Indonesia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

After active service as an army officer in Zimbabwe, rising to the rank of major, and as a special forces squadron commander for the Sultanate of Oman, Colin worked in senior management roles in South Africa, the United States and Australia. In 1994 he founded Outback Initiatives (OI) which has provided the Kimberley session of the ARLP since 2010. Colin is well known to hundreds of ARLP and short program graduates. His influence on their personal growth is highly regarded, not only by participants of the programs, but also by facilitators and Foundation staff who have had the privilege of working with him.

Dennis Mutton served on the Board from 2000 to 2007, and was treasurer and chair of the Foundation’s Audit and Finance Committee. Dennis had a long and distinguished career in the South Australian public sector as chief executive of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia and, prior to that, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Woods and Forests Department. Dennis also held positions as deputy president and commissioner of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. He is now a consultant in natural resource management, industry development, primary industries and mineral resources, regional growth initiatives, business–government relations, leadership and human resource development.

John Quantrill provided much of the expertise and organisational skills required to set up the Australian Rural Leadership Program and make the concept work and remain viable. Over the years of his involvement he held many Foundation positions including executive director and program director. As a founding member of the staff, his efforts made a significant contribution to the ongoing success of the Foundation. Recognised for his contribution to the Foundation, John accepted his Honorary Fellowship in November 2009.

Australian Rural Leadership Program Graduate Directory

Find all alumni in 30 years of program delivery. More than 764 people have completed the flagship Australian Rural Leadership Program.