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Next generation learns leadership ropes | Grains Producer

Alistair Lawson | Grains Producer

Eight of the grain industry’s rising stars are boosting their leadership skills as part of the first intake of Grain Producers SA’s newly-established Emerging Leaders Program.

As part of the program, GPSA will provide opportunities for the participants to develop professional skills and networks, while gaining experience in advocacy through engaging in policy forums and consultation with GPSA members.

The program initiates structured pathways for future leadership development and offers access to a range of industry leaders and partner organisations working with GPSA to deliver its mandate to be the voice of South Australian grain growers.

Selection for the program was based on a competitive application process overseen by the GPSA Board.

The inaugural ELP cohort is:

  • Rebekah Starick, Punthari
  • Natalie Sommerville, Spalding
  • Luke Stoeckel, Renmark
  • James Heaslip, Appila
  • Dion Woolford, Kirnba
  • Chris Moloney, Arthurton
  • Chad Nickolls, Pinnaroo
  • Andrew Lehmann, Unley

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services and South Australian Senator the Hon Anne Ruston announced the group at a function on Thursday, 30 May.

GPSA chief executive officer Caroline Rhodes said the program will help to support succession planning for GPSA, as well as Primary Producers SA and its member organisations, through participation in in committee structures and eventually at Board level.

“To deliver our mission, we need skilled and capable individuals involved in setting policy and to manage and anticipate emerging issues relevant to grain producers and the wider industry,” she said.

“That’s why GPSA wants to inspire and motivate the next generation of industry leaders and I am thrilled to be hosting this program.

“Our inaugural cohort of emerging leaders are at different stages of their leadership journey and the Emerging Leaders Program will help to accelerate their leadership potential.”

Participants will learn more about advocacy, effective communication, industry networking, research and innovation and the political landscape.

The ELP cohort has already had three sessions as part of the program, including a tour of Parliament House in Adelaide hosted by President of the Legislative Council Andrew McLachlan CSC MLC and a session with 2019 SA AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner Deanna Lush on engaging with the broader public and building trust in agriculture.

A third session held in September saw the group travel to Canberra to learn more about advocacy and national representation of Australian farmers. This included meetings with the National Farmers’ Federation, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and key regional Federal MPs as well as the newly elected Senator for South Australia Alex Antic.

Later in the program, ELP participants will gain a global perspective of agricultural leadership with an international study tour to the United States and Canada which will focus on international trade, advocacy in the US farm sector, biotechnology and other emerging technologies.

Ms Rhodes – a participant in the highly successful SAFF Future Leaders Program established in the early 2000s – said she was committed to developing the next generation of agricultural leaders in South Australia, helping to build their skills and networks through the work of GPSA.

“The inaugural Emerging Leaders Program group have an appreciation for the role of grower representation and an awareness and capability to respond to challenges and opportunities facing agriculture,” she said.

“I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the Australian grains industry to apply to be part of next year’s Emerging Leaders Program intake.”