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The ARLF leadership blog

Happy holidays and farewell 2021

13 December 2021

Well, it’s coming around again folks and seemingly faster than last year (is this always the way?) – the end of the year. I’d like to wish everyone and their families a happy and safe Christmas and hope you all get to connect with each other in the new normal.

While 2020 was an absolute shock to the system, 2021 uncovered a few silver linings in what for many was a long grind in and out of lockdown. Like everyone, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation continued to adapt to the changing context and I am proud of the ability of our team and board to keep making progress despite the disruption.

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation is in a better place than it was at the end of 2020. We have diversified our work and the places and people we work with and have grown the impact of the organisation in an uncertain time. Some reflections on the past year include:

  • Commenced delivery of the Drought Resilience Leaders Program (DRLP) – the largest single initiative in the Foundation’s history covering 12 regions nationwide and directly engaging up to a thousand people. The DRLP involves leadership development, mentoring and small grants components. Pilot programs in Central West Queensland and the Goulburn Valley in Victoria are complete with a further 10 programs to go.
  • Continued innovation in our curriculum design and delivery of programs. We have successfully completed multiple program sessions in a multi-modal format involving regional hubs, community immersion and online.
  • The continued support of our partners and donors – including a rention rate of over 90% in very trying times.
  • Collaborations including with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), Rural Economies Centre of Excellence, National Farmers Federation, Sefton & Associates, Australian Resilience Centre and with many other leadership organisations and ARLF alumni.
  • Moved to a distributed workforce including staff in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Dubbo, Bathurst, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay.
  • Grown our ARLF Associate network who bring specialist skills and connections to our planning and delivery of programs and initiatives.
  • Deepened our international connections through our leadership networks.
  • Grown the number of donors to the ARLF from our alumni network – this is vital in the ARLF securing ongoing funding from other sources so thank you to all who have provided this support.
  • We were oversubscribed in terms of alumni interest in many ARLF activities including program interviews – demonstrating again the willingness of our alumni to give time and talent as well as treasure!
  • Find these and more highlights in the 2020/21 Annual Report.

Looking ahead to 2022, we plan to expand our community and regional resilience-building work including in bushfire affected communities in NSW and look forward to more face-to-face leadership development program sessions.

Finally, I’d like to welcome team members who joined us recently, who combined with our existing team, will play a strong role in shaping our future.

Thank you for your support in 2021.

Matt Linnegar, December 2021

Our Canberra and New South Wales teams at their recent Christmas gathering.

Our Queensland team at their recent Christmas gathering.