It is my dream to empower an army of change agents to combat the pattern of contraction, decline and exodus in rural Australia. Why? I was born and raised in a small farming community in South Australia, and went on to have a successful corporate career in the city. When I returned to my roots many years later, I was distressed by the deterioration of small country towns that I witnessed - communities that had been vibrant in my own lifetime. I embarked on a mission to do something about it. An idea was sparked by the recognition that country sporting clubs are one of the most reliable lead indicators of community health, and one of the few remaining incubators of leadership that people in rural areas have access to. I envisioned a culture of mentoring that could be embedded within those organisations, and designed a framework called Champions Academy, borrowing from the latest breakthroughs in social cognitive neuroscience; the principles of participatory media; specialist coaching; and life-skill training, to deliver a unique model for personal development, community leadership succession and advocacy.
I'm on a mission to show rural people that they not only have the ability to influence significant positive change, they have an obligation to snap out of autopilot and become part of the solution, if they want their community to break the holding pattern of survival and move toward a brighter future. Champions Academy is constantly growing and evolving, and has become my full time job. I run the social enterprise from a home office on a farm in Wharminda (in South Australia's Eyre Peninsula), where I live with my partner Caleb and our two young children, Tex and Scout.
Skills & Expertise
- Social cohesion
- The capacity of champions to inspire, motivate and influence change
- Rural contraction, decline and exodus (regional migration)
- Community resilience, wellbeing and legacy
- Mentoring and next generation leadership
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