November 2023 Alumni Connect

And in a flash, here comes November. The end of the year is in sight! 

Welcome newest alumni

Congratulations to all of you who recently graduated from the Regenerate – Bega Valley Leadership Program. I’ve only heard great things about your group. This two-session program, held over 8 days, connected those working in the non-profit sector in the Bega Valley region. 

One graduate noted:

“I feel that the cohort have connected on a deep level and have already proven to be a great support network both socially and professionally. It would have taken years to build these relationships organically with such a diverse, creative and driven group of people. There are so many collaborative ideas and projects simmering away already.”  

Welcome to the network, team Bega. We love to hear that you are so well-connected with each other. We look forward to connecting you with the broader network. 

Movers and shakers 

Did you know that, to help us here at the ARLF keep track of all the great things you (alumni and participants) are doing, we have a dedicated news and content feed? 

Here is what the team collected in the last month:

  • Recent ARLP graduate Tim Brennan received the Australian Lot Feeders Association Young Lot Feeder of the Year Award for 2023. He is among three talented young feeders, including another alum Jacob Leak, a graduate of our TRAIL and mentoring programs. 
  • Fellow Lukina Lukin has been appointed to the Commission for International Agricultural Research by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong. The commission comprises seven leading Australian experts who provide strategic advice to the minister. 
  • We’ve had three alumni appointed to two Australian research development boards:    
    • Natalie Sommerville, ARLP 30, has been appointed as a non-executive Director of the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC).
    • Sharon Starick has been re-appointed to the GRDC, where she’s been a director since 2018. Sharon is a graduate of our Murray Darling Basin Leadership program. 
    • Fellow Bernie George, ARLP 3, is a new appointment to the Cotton Research Development Board.  
  • Fellow Melissa Rowe (ARLP 17) has been named the WA Automotive Businesswomen of the Year for her proactivity and true leadership for all women in the automotive industry.
  • Fellow Cath Marriott, also from ARLP 17, was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship.
  • We’ve had two Fellows elected to the Broome local council, Ellen Smith (ARLP 27) and Johani Mamid (ARLP 24). 
  • ARLP 30 participant Dr Julia Cornwell McKean has been elected as the first Indigenous Mayor of the Berrigan Shire Council where she has been a councillor since 2021.  
  • And just last week, Fellow David Jochinke and Trail Blazer alum Hamish McIntyre were both elected onto the board of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) – David as President and Hamish as a Director. I would also love to acknowledge another Fellow, Georgie Somerset, who too was in the running for President.  

We are always thrilled to see so many of our alumni raising their hands to stand for leadership positions and with a genuine desire to make a positive difference. 

And you can see why we need a feed to try keep track of you all. Apologies if we’ve missed something that you’ve recently achieved. It’s hard to be across it all. But please let us know. We’d love to hear about it.     

National Farmers Federation (NFF) Conference – Canberra 

Speaking of the NFF, their annual conference was held in Canberra last week. My colleague Gemma Gordon and I were lucky enough to attend and took every chance we could to connect with alumni, and our partners and sponsors too. Congratulations to the NFF team for hosting a great event and providing us all another important opportunity to converge and connect.    

And thanks to all the alumni who responded to my photo call. And then for smiling too. A quick meet-up like that also provides an opportunity for alumni to clock in and connect with alumni they may not have met before, or not known were ARLF alum too. 

Fellow’s commitment to support farmers

Fellow Kate Gunn (ARLP 27) and some of her team from ifarmwell were in full flight at the recent NFF conference. Kate is the Founder and Director of ifarmwell – a free online resource for farmers providing practical ways to cope with the ongoing difficulties and challenges of farming.

Kate, having grown up on the land, knew there was a need to support farmers in this way. With her inherent understanding of farm culture, together with her specialist skills as a clinical psychologist – Kate was perfectly placed to bring this resource to life. And she has! With the support of her team too. 

Check out ifarmwell.

Please spread the word amongst your networks and those you think would benefit.  

Again – always proud to share the work of our alumni. If you are working on something, or involved with a project that you’d like to share with the network, please contact us. We’d love to hear about it and share it.  

Future webinars – what interests you?  

Would still love to hear any suggestions you have about possible webinar topics or speakers for next year. 

  • What are your leadership challenges?
  • Where are the gaps in your knowledge?
  • What are you curious about?

We are currently planning to host one webinar a month from February to November in 2024. Send a quick email with any suggestions you have for webinar topics/brilliant speakers/wild ideas etc. to Would love your input.    

Upcoming alumni events    

With staff moving around the country delivering programs or attending events/conferences we take full advantage of this movement by bringing local alumni together. 

We’ve got one remaining event in Coral Bay on 8 November 2023 – register now.

Then things start to slow down a bit as we reach the end of the year. But events will pick up again in early 2024. 

Julia Strang, Alumni Engagement Manager

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