North Queensland Future Leaders Program - Alumni

Meet the Alumni from past program cohorts, and read some of the success stories of North Queensland.

Aaron Power - Participant

I was a proud participant of the emerging leaders program in 2017/2018. My primary motivation for enrolling was to broaden my network within Townsville. I also greatly valued the unique opportunity to be mentored, which was a crucial aspect for me. I had the privilege of being mentored by Bruno Cullen, the former CEO of the NRL Team, the Brisbane Broncos, and the ex-Chairman of the Queensland Country Bank. Our interactions were enriching and covered a plethora of topics from life and business to family, making it a genuinely open and profound relationship. The program was invaluable to me. It provided me with a practical experience in project management, which I now incorporate daily in my role as a commercial real estate agent. Additionally, the networking opportunities and knowledge I gained about different commercial, cultural, and community aspects of Townsville were unparalleled. The program provides a rich blend of networking, relationship-building, and a deeper understanding of Townsville as a community. Not to mention the unmatched opportunity to be mentored by established professionals. Being a part of this organization and its alumni network is a testament to a supportive community focused on a bright future.

You can possess immense talent, but without the right direction, it can easily be misdirected. This program does an exceptional job of guiding talented individuals, helping them harness their potential, and directing them towards avenues where they can make a meaningful impact, both professionally and personally. The program was a cornerstone in my career. Today, I work for Peter Wheeler, a mentor from the program and the Managing Director of Colliers in Townsville. I believe my participation put me on his radar, showcasing how the program serves as a platform for tangible career advancements. The networking aspect of the program is unparalleled. I've maintained connections with a significant portion of my cohort and alumni from other years. These relationships have been instrumental in my professional endeavours and have led to many successes. The program not only influenced my career trajectory, but it also introduced me to amazing individuals. Today, I work under the mentorship of a TEL board member, which I believe was influenced by my active participation in the program. It's a testament to how the program can open doors and present opportunities.

Claudia Brumme-Smith - Mentor

During my tenure at the Port of Townsville, I would host the Emerging Leaders for site visits and I could really feel the energy among the group of participants. The participants all had a real passion to grow their careers here in our beautiful city for the benefit of our community – they had what has been referred to as ‘the why’, and I wanted to be part of that. I was pleased when Eleni – a previous manager of the program at Townsville Enterprise - asked me to be Nikki Smith’s mentor for the 2018 cohort.

Both Nikki and I went through some challenging times personally during the year of mentoring and while we mostly talked about career progression, we also supported each other during that time on a personal level. I think mentoring can translate to many levels and it’s not a one-way street either. We all learn from each other. Nikki and I “just clicked” and it became a mutually beneficial partnership, and I am proud to see where Nikki has progressed to today. She stands up for her beliefs, her ambitions and her favourite town – and that makes me a proud mentor.  I will always be part of her cheering squad and I love seeing her at our Townsville Enterprise events as she is a great advocate for our city, her community and of course the Future Leaders program.

Our city and region will not continue to grow without our current leaders passing on their knowledge and experience. The Townsville Enterprise Future Leaders Program is our succession plan as a city and region. Like any well-run business, we need the leaders of tomorrow mentored by the leaders of today. I truly believe it’s part of giving back to our community. I am pleased to say we have had a lot of great leaders putting up their hands to support the program already.

The program is an amazing opportunity to visit and learn about the key businesses in our community, and be matched with a wonderful mentor that no doubt will make a huge difference in all aspects of your life.

Jane Meredith - Participant

I was motivated to join the program as I had colleagues and friends go through the program before me and saw the value in it. My mentor was Moya Steele and we’ve kept in touch over the years and more recently when I was working for Townsville Enterprise and Moya was part of the Board. Future Leaders gives you behind the scenes, money can’t buy access to the region and its leaders. I’ve made valuable connections which has helped me professionally and personally. I would definitely encourage others to participate, if you’re looking to step up in your career, want to increase your knowledge of the region and make connections across different industries this is the only program in the region to do that. There’s a real need for this type of program. We need to mentor the leaders of tomorrow so that they want to stay in our region and we can retain their skills.

John Bearne - Mentor

In 2008 Trevor Goldstone (TEL CEO) and I (Chair TEL) visited the Geelong Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the visit was to engage with the Geelong Chamber and seek details of their successful Community Leadership Course. We had read about their programme online and in a report from a business magazine. 

The TEL Board were getting concerned about the aging of the established city leaders and was seeking some pathway where new leaders could be encouraged to participate in the city’s decision making.

On arrival at the Geelong Chamber, we were immediately made welcome. They were excited that we were thinking of introducing their programme into Townsville. They assisted us with all the details and we spent the remaining part of the day with the programme Manager.

Bringing the programme back to Townsville, Trevor and I drafted a Business Case for the TEL Board to consider. The Board was very enthusiastic to move forward and we named the programme Emerging Leaders Programme.

The Emerging Leaders program was a community leadership program that aimed to support emerging leaders in the Townsville region. It provided strategic leadership support, education and exposure around advocacy and influence for the economic and social prosperity of Townsville. It was to be run by Townsville Enterprise, an independent, non partisan, membership based organisation.  

The success of the programme was due to four main factors:

  • Strong interest from potential emerging leaders
  • Strong support from the organisations they worked for
  • TEL Members who became mentors
  • Continuing faith and support from the TEL Board

Like the Geelong Chamber, TEL shared their knowledge of the programme with other like-minded organisations who then started their leadership programmes.

The programme which TEL runs now is different from the above, however, its roots are very much linked to the Emerging Leader Programme and Geelong Chamber of Commerce.

John Bearne

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