The ARLF leadership blog

Welcome to 2022 and 30 years of leadership

13 January 2022

While our Chief Executive Matt Linnegar is taking a well-deserved break, Learning Director Andrea Hogg took over the monthly update for January and overview for what is a special year for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Welcome to 2022. As the ARLF team returns to work, we want to extend warmest wishes to you, your families, communities and regions. This is a very big year for us in terms of program development and delivery and we anticipate a bumper harvest of graduates from our programs to join our thriving alumni network by the end of the year.   

For those of you with very good long-term memory, you may have already calculated that in 2022, we will celebrate our 30th Birthday. The Foundation was registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on 3rd September 1992 and by October was housed in a room provided by Rural Industries RDC within NFF House in Canberra.  

Thirty participants were selected for Course 1 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program which was conducted between April 1993 and September 1994. Paul Brown of Kangaroo Island, South Australia was a wool grower and stud merino breeder when he was selected to participate in Course 1. Brown recalls: ‘It was the best and worst thing I have ever done for the same reason. It taught me to look at the big picture and think outside the square…. It certainly changed my thinking and has led me to changes in my life that I probably would not have attempted if not for the experience of the program.’  

From the very beginning, the Foundation has been supported by the generosity of a range of funding organisations equally committed to the viability, prosperity and sustainability of rural, regional and remote Australia. Initial funding was provided by the Rural Industries RDC and in time additional funding was provided by corporations representing grains, dairy, sugar, meat cotton, fisheries and egg research and development.  

We can proudly say we have been supported by a total of 188 funding partners in 30 years and several of them have been with us for the entire time. We truly value the relationships with all of our partners and hope to be able to share in celebrations with them at some time this year.  

A total of 1,782 people has graduated from our programs in this time, each of them continuing to increase the network of leadership action and collaboration coursing through the veins of Australia. When we look at a map of where our graduates reside, there is recognition of the reach of ARLF work and at the same time there is aspiration to continue to offer opportunities to more people from very remote and under-represented regions to take part in one of our programs. By the end of this year we will definitely see more locations and growing clusters of our alumni highlighted on the map of this very vast country.  

We continue to pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather for our programs and we honour the legacy of the past, the immediacy and complexity of the present and the possibility and curiosity for the future. Leadership development has and always will be essential to address challenges and to generate big ideas, fresh thinking and bold actions.  

Our team is excited to be part of many gatherings this year – conscious and intentional opportunities to bring us together, to shape the way we think about, feel about and make sense of the challenges we are faced with. We will convene in our programs and other events to solve problems that can’t be solved on our own, celebrate memorable moments, make decisions, show strength, honour legacy and acknowledge the complexity of transformative change. 

Celebration has been far from the minds of a lot of our alumni and broader networks in recent times as so many regions continue to bear the burden of disruption and in some cases destruction. We acknowledge the loss and pain that has prevailed for such a long time in many communities and for individuals.  

In this very significant year, we will grasp the moments of joy to celebrate the continued work of the Foundation and of the incredible people living in and working to support rural, regional and remote Australia.  

Best wishes  

Andrea Hogg 

Director Learning