Get to know our board: Sally Branson Dalwood

We are delighted to welcome Sally Branson Dalwood to the Australia Rural Leadership Foundation Board.

Sally is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and deeply connected to rural Australia, with over 24 years of experience in crisis management, leadership planning, and strategy.

As part of welcoming Sally to the ARLF, we sat down for a Q&A about the importance of advocacy through storytelling and her passion for promoting rural, regional and remote Australia.

Can you share a bit about your professional background and how it aligns with the ARLF’s mission?

With a mix of politics, diplomacy, community development, media and crisis PR, there is something for everyone in there. These skills will complement and support the growing staff as our foundation works in an increasingly competitive environment. It’s important that we show leadership in how we show up publicly and what we do behind the scenes.

What inspired you to join our board?

As an alum, I have admired the work of the board – not just the work they do supporting the ARLF staff but also the work many of them have done as individuals in their own areas of influence and interest. Additionally, and importantly, I wanted to contribute robustly to the ARLF. I was only in my twenties when I did the course – at the time, the youngest participant – the impact the Australian Rural Leadership Program had in my life from that time was among the greatest before and since – and I wanted to -in an entirely different stage of my life, express my gratitude through service. 

What are your key goals as a board member?

Along with my other board members, elevate our foundation and its work – not just hearts and minds, but funding and awareness of the work the ARLF does across the nation – the progressive and culture-enhancing work that the ARLF has indeed been doing for over thirty years. 

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the ARLF and/ or leadership in rural, regional and remote Australia in the coming years?

Continuing to tell the stories that come from rural and regional areas of innovation, creativity, growth and best practise. As stories become increasingly binary, and we find it harder to engage in debate and disagreement in a respectful way, we can lead by example in the way rural and regional communities come together. Even in the changing demographics of the regions, how can we make sure that leadership in regional commutes- whatever form it looks like or whoever it is that steps up – has the appropriate scaffolding and support – both on a high level and granular one – to meet the challenges facing us all as a country. 

In what ways do you hope to engage with ARLF stakeholders?

I want our stakeholders to understand the depth of commitment and support the board has for the program, its past, and its longevity. Equally, as an organisation of 30 years, our continued growth, leadership in practice, and commitment to experiential learning and theory mean we are an organisation that can face new and modern challenges of creating the space to grow good leadership for and in our regions. 

What leadership qualities do you think are most important for driving positive change in rural, regional, and remote communities?

Authenticity in leadership and understanding of the diverse and varied needs of our regions and their people. A willingness to learn, listen and act. The work. The follow through. A passion for promoting rural and regional challenges and triumphs. 

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