What’s making news in the alumni network: June 2024

Leadership on the Larapinta

Alum Donna Digby and her team of nine walkers (seven of whom are also ARLF alums) completed their fundraising walk on the Larapinta Trail in late May. Their efforts, combined with our ARLF ‘end of financial year’ fundraising campaign, mean Donna’s goal of raising $50,000 has well and truly been reached.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” was Donna’s response when I reached out to congratulate her on the fantastic result. A Northern Territory leader will now join Cohort 32 of the ARLP next year. 

Again, we absolutely acknowledge the determination and drive of those in our network who are dedicated to fundraising so that others can benefit from a leadership development opportunity. 

Beef Week Panellists 

Thank you to our four Beef Week panellists for their engaging conversation around “How to meet unique challenges as a tool – raising leadership stakes in rural, regional, and remote Australia.” Thanks to Rob Hardie (AALP 2023) for taking the reins, and also to speakers Fleur Anderson (ALRP 25) and Jessica Loughland (AALP 23). We must also express our appreciation for Brett Hall (ARLP 18), who stepped in at the last minute for panellist Aaron Kiely (ARLP 29), whose cotton picker had broken down, requiring him urgently back on the farm. 

We are always thankful when our alumni say ‘yes,’ even when the timelines are tight. Jorunn Lorenzen, ARLF Comms Manager, was in attendance and spoke highly of the conversation. 

We must also acknowledge and thank alum Sabina Knight and the team from James Cook University (JCU) for convening such valuable conversations and inviting us, and our alumni, to the table. 

Call out to ARLP Fellows 

With Cohort 31 just about to launch on their Australia Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) journey, we are calling out again to any ARLP Fellows (or any current ARLP 30 participants) who would be happy to connect with a C31 participant after their completion of session 1 of the program on June 22nd. 

It will require time for one phone call with a participant, providing a chance to help them debrief and process their program experience and learnings from someone who has walked a similar journey. 

If this is something you’d like to be part of, please send me a quick message via email, and I’ll add you to the list. I’ll be in touch with you in the coming weeks.

Agribusiness Program and Graduation in Orange, NSW 

It was great having the 2024 Australian Agribusiness Leadership Program (AALP) participants complete session 2 of their program in my region in mid-May. It gave me the chance to join them for some of their program (which is always so valuable) and to also attend their graduation to help celebrate and welcome them to the alumni network. 

We look forward to staying connected with all our new graduates as they continue to walk their leadership journey.  

A big thanks to those local alumni in the Central West region of NSW who joined us for graduation too. I made some fantastic new connections that night. 

Inaugural International Agribusiness – Dates Set for October 

Speaking of Agribusiness, dates have been set for our inaugural International Agribusiness Leadership Program in late October. This program is designed for senior executive leaders who are keen to understand their own leadership styles and gaps while also being immersed in an international ecosystem. The country of focus is Indonesia, and the cohort will travel from October 29 – November 7. The program will be facilitated by alum Catherine Marriott. 

Applications are now open. If you’re interested or know a colleague or someone in your network who might be, please reach out and let them know. Check out our website for more information and program costs.


Alum Bernice Hookey is the focus of our latest monthly podcast, ‘Rural Leadership Unearthed.’ An Indigenous leader based in Far North Queensland and a graduate of ARLP 29, she touches on her connection to Country and Culture and the role we can all play in sharing the responsibility for reconciliation. She’s also a fabulously engaged alumna working hard to connect and network with other ARLF alumni local to her. Check it out here.

Speaking of podcasts, Mentoring Alum Steph Schmidt has also launched a new podcast – Farm Life Psych, where she shares her lessons and learnings as a psychologist and farmer through bite-sized, practical strategies. Give it a listen here.

Upcoming events

We are just about to plan for the next 12 months of alumni gatherings. On the agenda are gatherings planned for Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Bendigo, Newcastle, Adelaide, Albury, and Orange, to start. If you’re keen to see something happening in your part of the world, let me know. With some local support from you, we can add it to the list. 

See our upcoming events already in the pipeline:


Where: Market Grounds, Market Bar – 10 Telethon Ave, Perth WA 
When: Monday 17 June, 5.30pm – 7.30pm 
RSVP: https://events.humanitix.com/alumni-event-perth-wa-june 
Cost: $20 per head – a selection of nibbles and canapés will be provided. 



Where: Alice Springs CBD – exact location to be confirmed 

When: Wednesday 19th June, from 7.30 am 

Reach out to Laura to express your interest in attending LauraC@rural-leaders.org.au 



Save the Date: Wednesday, 16 July  

Matt Linnegar and Philippa Woodhill will be in Darwin and keen to gather alumni. Details to follow, but please save the date. 

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