October 2023 Alumni Connect

Canberra was the place to be for many of the network back in September.

Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 29 participants completed their final session in the nation’s capital and graduated. Congratulations and we warmly welcome you all into the alumni network. Be sure to lean in. And we are here in support of you. 

The AgriFutures Gala Dinner and announcement of the 2023 Rural Woman of the Year Award at Parliament House was also held that week. A big congratulations to Nikki Davey and Michelle Leonard, named as winner and runner-up respectively. What an amazing field of nominees! And we were so very proud of C30 participant, Eileen Breen, representing the Northern Territory as their state finalist. 

Plus, we were so thrilled to meet with, and capture a large group photo of alumni at this event. In true leadership form, Fellow Georgie Sommerset grabbed the microphone to help corral alumni. The result is above! And no surprises that in a room full of determination, passion and drive for rural, regional and remote Australia, the ARLF network was very well represented.    

And so, with a heap of our network in town (did I mention that the Regional Australia Institute National Summit was on in Canberra too), we arranged for an alumni and participant breakfast event. 

This gathering was a blend of board members, exec, alumni, current participants and staff. We love and take advantage of any opportunity to foster cross cohort connections so thanks to all who made the effort to join us. And the team at the Lonsdsale Street Roasters looked after us a treat! 

Strong ARLF alumni representation at National Drought Forum 

About 180 representatives attended the National Drought Forum in Rockhampton in late September, and we were chuffed to see that a third of the panellists presenting at the forum were ARLF alumni! 

This forum brought together leaders from right across the agricultural sector to work on plans to help regions better prepare for drought.  

ARLF staff Philippa Woodhill and Jorunn Lorenzen were also in attendance and had great fun finding and connecting with the many alumni present.  And, to take full advantage of the numbers of alumni in Rocky, a night-time gathering was held to connect local alumni with those attending the forum. Great conversations were held and connections created. 

Future webinars – what do you want to delve into? 

After the success of the “When Everyone Leads” webinar in late September, we are keen to offer more of learning opportunities like this.   

Over 50 people joined the recent webinar, and we received lots of positive feedback.  The three hour session was facilitated by two experts in leadership; Julia Fabris McBride, CEO of the Kansas Leadership Centre (KLC) and author of the book “When Everyone Leads, and Joseph Shepard, Chief of Staff from Lead for America

Most attendees were alumni from the ARLF and Tasmanian Leaders network, with 95% indicating that they are keen to join future learning opportunities like this. 

So, we asked attendees what leadership challenges they’d like to see us explore. These is what came through….

  • How to create and maintain “safe spaces” for discussion. And how to do this on issues that create divide.
  • Real life examples of great leadership (from across the world).
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Trauma informed practice.
  • The latest evidence-based research on leadership.
  • Advocacy – How to step into this and to how to mobilise others.
  • Effective techniques to support others into leadership.
  • How to influence leaders in senior roles.

What are your leadership challenges? Or possible gaps in your knowledge?   

We know that webinars are a convenient and cost-effective way to connect, remind and energise the network about the activity of leadership.   

We are looking to host one webinar a month from February to November in 2024 and we would love your input. Send a quick email with any suggestions you have for webinar topics/brilliant speakers/wild ideas etc. to alumni@rural-leaders.org.au. Think outside the box. All ideas welcome.   

Alumni buddies – an enriching and beneficial experience 

A big shout out to all those ARLP alumni who raised their hand to engage with the network and support a current participant – through one conversation after the completion of session one. 

Feedback suggests that this initiative has proven to be an enriching and beneficial experience for both participants and alumni. The conversations have helped to foster a deeper understanding of the wider ARLF network and allowed participants the chance to reflect on their personal growth journey.  With self-awareness a cornerstone of effective leadership, the insights gained through these discussions can only help participant development around leadership. What a great thing.

Here’s a quote from a participant….

“I found the conversations with my Fellow extremely helpful…  the Fellow shared personal experiences and asked powerful questions to help me reflect on Session One and prepare for Session Two.  These conversations are definitely helping me squeeze some extra juice out of the program experience!”

Again – thanks to those alumni who chose to be part of this. We are so grateful for your willingness to step up to support those in our network. Thank you. And we will look to running this again in 2024 for our next lot of ARLP participants.

Opportunities and resources

Rural Women’s Award applications open now….

There’s still time to apply for the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award 2024.  But you’ll need to be quick – they close Wednesday 25 October 2023.

This is Australia’s leading award acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities. 

It might be you. It might be a woman you know that needs a bit of encouragement to apply! 

The Kansas Leadership Centre – a resource to connect with… 

I know you’ve heard lots about the Kansas Leadership Centre recently. But they are such a great organisation and worth connecting with (if you haven’t already). Even just for that international take on leadership. 

They also release a monthly journal and regular podcast. And there’s lots of other great information on their website. And it’s free.   

Upcoming alumni events    

With staff moving around the country delivering programs or attending events and conferences, we are keen to take full advantage of this movement. So – see a list of events below coming up over the next month.  

Click the links bellow for more details about each event and to register your attendance.  We will also reach out to local alumni in each of these locations via email.

These events start to slow down a little as we reach the end of the year – but will pick up again in the new year.


Thursday, 2 November 2023 from 5.00 – 7.00 pm

RSVP here.

Coral Bay

Wednesday, 8 November 2023 from 1.00 – 2.00 pm

RSVP here.

Julia Strang, Alumni Engagement Manager

Blog categories
Support rural leaders!

Help us deliver programs to more people in more places. Every donation makes a difference.

Upcoming events

Popular articles

05 Mar

Mentoring is a key thread in Kristie’s leadership path
Author: Claire DelahuntyAustralian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) alum,...
Man in hat

07 Mar

Mentoring passes culture and custodianship to the next generation
Author: Claire DelahuntyTrevor Meldrum has mentored three young...

07 Mar

Leading through grief on the Larapinta
Life is short, precious and it can change...

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

Verified by MonsterInsights