Meet our team:

Annette McCarthy

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Graduation Day 17/10/2019 at the Realm Hotel Barton Canberra ACT

Annette McCarthy

I work in the ‘background’ and provide high-level administrative and coordination support to the Chief Executive, the Board and the overall executive team so that the ARLF’s management team, including the Board, are achieving the organisation’s strategic outcomes. My primary role is corporate governance, policy development and compliance but I also support the HR functions, WHS, and see myself as a bit of a generalist and office all-rounder in Canberra but also providing support to the remote working staff. 

In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the Canberra landscape, cooking for and spending time with friends, I have a bizarre fascination with ghost stories and listen to many podcasts and indulge in horror films, I also care for others’ pets which I often pretend are my own!   

Where does your passion for rural, regional and remote Australia come from?

Growing up in the remote desert town of Alice Springs instilled in me a love for open spaces, red dirt, heat and isolation. All these things characterise remote Australia to me, and it will always be in my blood even though I live thousands of kilometres away in the subalpine regions of southeast Australia. 

What’s your favourite memory or most memorable moment in rural, regional and remote Australia?

I have strong memories of flying across the expanse of Australia from Canberra to Alice Springs as I return home for a regular visit, I witness the changing and contrasting colours and landforms that make up the canvas and palette that is rural, regional and remote Australia. From vibrant green rolling hills, bountiful rivers and snowcapped mountains, vast wheat and crop fields, tiny, speckled dots that are cattle and sheep stations that run for miles. Lake Eyre looms in the distance sometimes full of water and home to many migratory birds, or sometimes a salt plane dry to the bone. And then finally I cross the thousands of sand dunes that make up the Simpson Desert which ends with the mountain ranges and dry, ancient riverbeds of central Australia. My home. 

What’s your professional background?

Before working at the ARLF I worked as a governance support officer for one of Australia’s largest (and possibly oldest) Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations in Alice Springs – Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. I often travelled to remote communities, including Mutitjulu which is based at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, so I was very privileged to witness how different communities managed their governance in varied ways from one another. My employment background is mainly working with Aboriginal organisations and with matters relating to Aboriginal health, land, heritage and culture. 

Three things you love about working at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation?

What I enjoy most about working for the foundation is the team. I have witnessed first-hand the changes, small and large, that ARLF leadership programs can have on an individual. The ARLF has a culture like none other I have experienced. There is a lot of trust and respect for one another. 

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