Future Leaders Program 2018

By November 14, 2018

The transition of Newcastle from a great regional city to an emerging global city has been the centre of attention recently, as 30 of the brightest young professionals presented their solution on how “They can arrest the brain drain and not only keep our bright minds here but also attract talent, skills and businesses from outside the region”.

These young professionals participated in this year’s HunterNet Future Leaders Program; they were formed into 5 multi-disciplinary teams to consider how they can stop the young people of our region taking their degrees and leaving the Hunter.

Using the skills they attained throughout the program in which 12 Leadership topics were delivered by leading academics and business leaders nationally and from the region, the challenge was set.

The teams were assigned mentors that are regarded as leaders in their own right who guided the teams in the development of strategies to reduce the brain drain, this involved producing a 20 page report and delivering a 30 minute presentation.

This year’s mentors included:

  • Kerry Walker – Principal Consultant, Safety Works
  • Clayton McSeveney – Regional Manager NSW, Telstra Enterprise
  • Paul Cragg – Regional Executive Newcastle/Hunter Region ANZ Business banking
  • Samantha Cross – Director, Cross Connections Consulting
  • Trudie Larnach- Manager Environment and Community Relations, Port Waratah Coal Services

The program encouraged each of the teams to think outside the box when researching and scoping their strategies. This included presenting a detailed analysis of how each team would identify what Newcastle and the Hunter can do to arrest the brain drain, not only keep our bright minds here but also attract talent, skills and businesses from outside the region.

The submissions and presentations were judged by a stellar judging panel consisting some of the most experienced and credentialed leaders in our region and indeed nationally:

  • Barbara Crossley – Managing Director, Umwelt
  • Kirsten Molloy – CEO, HVCCC
  • Andrew Chapman – Head of Engineering, BAE Services
  • Geoff Crowe – Hunter Business Chamber
  • Tony Cade – CEO, HunterNet

The judging panel deliberated over the submissions and presentations and assessed each of them on their merit. Team Worrimi’s project, aptly named Ninety Degree, was announced the winner at the Program’s Annual Gala Dinner on Friday 2nd November 2018. The team consisted of:

  • Kate Thomson-Australian Business Lawyers
  • Teegan Bell-Newcastle Airport
  • Tyler Plowright-Pacific National
  • Jude Sneesby-Hunter Industrial Ceramics (HIC)
  • Amanda Murray – Amp Control
  • Adam Fisher-Amp Control

Team Worrimi were mentored by Trudie Larnach from Port Waratah Coal Services.

The CEO of HunterNet, Tony Cade said “We have received 5 practical and innovative submissions, all of which are able to be implemented and could help arrest the brain drain of the region. The program is very fortunate to have such a high calibre judging panel and a group of mentors that were focused and committed to the development of our regions young leaders.”


Click here to view photos of the Future Leaders Program Gala Dinner (credit: 3L Photography).


Click on the links below to view the teams presentations:

Team Awabakal

Team Wonnarua

Team Geawegal

Team Worrimi

Team Darkinjung


Click here to view the teams written reports. 

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