By Alumni Engagement Manager Julia Strang
The National Farmers’ Federation Conference was held on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra on 5 and 6 April. I was a last-minute call-up, and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to finally attend an event in person. And it was so lovely to meet with valuable stakeholders and lots of alumni face to face for the first time.
In fact, I was surprised by the number of Australian Rural Leadership Foundation alumni in attendance. On reflection, I’m surprised at myself for not fully understanding that! So, my plan for next year’s conference will be to host an ARLF alumni/ current participant gathering to coincide with the conference. Stay tuned if you are a regular NFF conference attendee!
On Tuesday night, the beautiful Cocktail function provided the chance to meet with even more alumni. And when Georgie Somerset used her well-honed leadership skills by helping herself to the microphone to call up anyone connected to the ARLF for a quick photo, I was again amazed by the number of people who came forward.
A Wednesday morning breakfast near the conference venue allowed those participants who are currently mentors or mentees on a joint NFF/ARLF program a chance to catch up too. Such a lovely opportunity to check in with people after COVID prevented any face to face catch ups last year.
Meeting two Australian Rural Leadership Program newbies at the brekky, Latarnie and Tracy, both part of the recently announced ARLP 29 cohort, was also a highlight. I loved listening to their excitement about the journey ahead, but also about their lives, their work and their communities.
One thing I am learning in my time with the Foundation is that it doesn’t seem to matter how people are connected to the ARLF or what program they have completed with us. There’s a common thread of curiosity, friendliness, openness and obvious dedication to regional, rural and remote Australia that binds us.