December 2023 alumni column

Wow. It’s an extremely hot December for most of the country at the moment – a December which is always closely followed by a new year!  

Yikes 2024 – hard to believe you’re nearly here! 

A big welcome to recent graduates 

It’s been a big year this year, and although the end of it is upon us, we are still welcoming a heap of new alumni into the network.  

We’ve had four Regenerate Regional Leadership programs conclude in the last month. Graduations were celebrated in both Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven in mid-November. Plus, two cohorts from the Canberra region joined forces to celebrate their graduation together as part of the Regenerate Capital Region program.  

Our Milparanga Emerging leaders completed their program in the west in late November and graduated in style at a celebration in Perth just a fortnight ago. 

And we have 30 mentoring pairs who have finished their 12-month program just this week – with an online celebration held to recognise their completion.   

Such a warm welcome aboard to you all! We love to see our network growing and we’re so glad you’ve joined us. A network is only as strong as the people in it, so we encourage you to lean in.  

Regions Rising 

I was thrilled to attend the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) Regions Rising event in Orange back in late November. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to attend, to check in with Liz Ritchie and her RAI crew, as well as to also connect with those working locally in Central West New South Wales.  

And of course, there were alumni in attendance as well as presenting on the day. I sat with the Elders team, as their guest – thank you Elders, and caught up with Australian Agribusiness Leadership Program alumni Lauren Marchant and Rob Hardie. Rob also did a wonderful job facilitating a panel session too – great to see him in action.  

Breaking gender-based barriers in the seafood industry  


My colleague Kerren Britton and I were invited to attend the Women in Seafood Australasia (WISA) round table presentations in Canberra in November.  

We listened to a range of solutions aimed to help break down the gender-based barriers that exist within the seafood sector. Thirty women who have each undertaken Turn the Tide – Entrepreneurship and Leadership Action Program, shared ideas, strategies and solutions to challenge industry identified barriers faced by women.  

The vibe and excitement in the room on the day was palpable. The process of collaboration over the previous weeks and the sharing of ideas about what’s possible, and the potential for positive change for this industry was exciting to hear. It was such a pleasure to be in the room.  

Congratulations to current C30 participant, Kirsten Abernethy, the Executive Assistant of WISA, who has done an amazing job during her brief time with the Association. We’ll do a deeper dive on Kristen and her success in the coming months.  

The opportunity also allowed us to re-connect with alumni Kate Brooks, Lowri Pryce and Kylie Dunstan. It also provided another chance to see the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation team  – Patrick Horne, Sally Roberts and fellow C30 participant Josh Fielding too.

Bits and pieces….  

There’s always a heap going on across the network. Alumni moving up or across in their roles. Alumni acknowledged. Alumni taking on more. Or alumni just simply doing remarkably interesting things.

Here’s a little splattering for you… 

Storing seeds from around the world 

Dr Sally Norton, ARLP Fellow from C28 is the National Leader for the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG), based in Horsham in Victoria. The AGG stores seeds from around the world for research and breeding. Now, a $30 million co-investment between GRDC (Grains Research and Development Corporation) and the Victorian Government will help connect the AGG with plant genetic resources around the world and fast-track development of new grain varieties. How exciting! If you’re keen to know more, there’s a great podcast you can check out featuring Sally and plant pathologist Dr Joshua Fanning.  

Award recognition for academic work 

We were thrilled to hear that ARLF Fellow from Course 21, Dr Janine Gertz, announced as the winner of the prestigious 2023 Stanner Award! Janine is a Gugu Badhun and Ngadjon-ji woman from North Queensland and her thesis was chosen from a record 21 entries! Judges described her work as ‘exciting and beautifully written’.  

Dr Gertz’s winning entry was her PhD thesis, titled ‘Gugu Badhun Sovereignty, Self-Determination and Nationhood’. She said the award was a shock, but also an honour, as the thesis was one that encompassed her identity. 

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) biennial award recognises the best academic writing by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author. This long running award acknowledges the significant contribution of the late Emeritus Professor WEH (Bill) Stanner to the establishment and development of AIATSIS. A huge congratulations to you Janine!  

Exciting moves   

Congratulations to Fellow Dr Chris Parker, who was recently announced as the new CEO of Cattle Australia. And, to Georgie Somerset AM, and Fellow from Course 16, who has been recently appointed to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland.  

Event planning for 2024 underway 

We’re scheduling new virtual Cuppa’s @ 3pm for those programs who’ve graduated in the last 12 – 18 months. It’s just a chance for you to reconnect with your cohort, and to reconnect with us. And it’s an opportunity to share any leadership challenges you’re experiencing and source some ideas from your cohort. It only goes for an hour – tops! We’d love to see you there.  

Plus, a heap of regional events and a bi-monthly “Lunch and Learn’ webinar series planned too.  

The calendar below is what we know so far with more detail to follow in the new year. We will reach out to you about events that are happening close to you, or involve your cohort so please make sure you keep your contact details up to date. We love staying connected with you. 

A detailed plan for the rest of 2024 will come out early in the new year. 

  • 7 February – Cuppa Tea at 3 – ARLP 28
  • 12 February – Alumni gathering – 5.00 to 7.00pm, Finley, NSW
  • 14 February – Cuppa Tea at 3 – TRAIL 2022
  • 16 February – Alumni gathering – 5.00 to 7.00pm, Dookie, VIC
  • 19 February – Alumni gathering – 5.00 – 7.00pm, Port Augusta, SA
  • 21 February – Cuppa Tea at 3 – Agribusiness 2022
  • 22 February – Alumni breakfast (EvokeAg) – 7.30 to 9.00am, Perth, WA
  • 28 February – Cuppa Tea at 3 – Regenerate Snowy Valleys 
  • 6 March – Cuppa Tea at 3 – Regenerate Nambucca Valley 
  • 13 March – Cuppa Tea at 3 – Milparanga Established 2022
  • 20 March – Cuppa Tea at 3 – Milparanga Emerging 2022
  • 27 March – Alumni gathering – 5.00 to 7.00pm, Deniliquin, NSW
  • 27 March – Cuppa Tea at 3 – ARLP 11 20-year anniversary

Festive greetings and wishing you a wonderful and safe 2024 

And finally …for those of you who have the chance to slow down a bit over the festive season, I hope you spend your time EXACTLY how you want! And that you get the chance to re-charge those tired batteries.

And for those of you, such as emergency service and essential workers, and for whom this time of year is either relentless or incredibly dangerous, or both, we acknowledge and thank you for all you do.  

We look forward to connecting with you again in 2024. 

Julia Strang – Alumni Engagement Manager 

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