Regional Development Australia Central West (RDA Central West) has launched the fourth year of the TEN4TEN Leadership Dialogue, with a networking and dinner event at The Greenhouse of Orange.

The program partners ten Year 11 students from Orange, Blayney and Cabonne with ten local community leaders for a unique mentoring experience.

This year’s guest speaker was former mentor David Waddell, CEO of Orange City Council.

RDA Central West acting director, Lynda Smart, said the program continues to be a great success.

“Research shows that mentoring is integral to life success, and we are so proud to continue to deliver this opportunity. The long-term benefits of connecting motivated youth with experienced community leaders are truly immeasurable,” said Ms. Smart.

This year the TEN4TEN Leadership Dialogue featured new and returning mentors to the program, including local MPs Andrew Gee and Phil Donato. It also welcomed four specially chosen program ambassadors to broader career exploration and given the students access to a wider network.

“The Central West is home to so many amazing people who are exemplary leaders in their fields,” said Ms Smart.

“We are so grateful to our ten mentors and four ambassadors who have willingly volunteered their time to contribute to our community in such a valuable way.”

This year’s group will visit both state and federal parliament, explore the CSU campus in Orange, attend afternoon tea at Orange City Council, participate in a Bullyology workshop with motivational speaker and author Jessica Hickman, and attend regular careers breakfasts at Anything Grows. Other group activities are added throughout the year, giving students an opportunity to build a network and learn from each other.

RDA Central West Deputy Chair and twice former mayor of Orange, Reg Kidd, said the program has proven a great opportunity for young people at a time that is critical for exploring career options and quelling anxiety about choices.

“I have now been involved in this program for four consecutive years and have seen firsthand the tremendous benefit to these young people,” said Mr. Kidd.

“Connecting students to mentors with vast years of experience to talk about future study pathways and career options, as well as dispel fears about making the wrong choice, is an opportunity I encourage these students to make the absolute most of.”

The 2023 mentee and mentor pairs are:

Emily Thomas, Canowindra High School & Phil Donato MP, Member for Orange

Thomas Pell, James Sheahan Catholic High School & Ben Watts, Director, Bralca

Charlotte Lapins, James Sheahan Catholic High School & Peita Mages, Director, Clever Cookie Academy

Angel Tresa Tom, James Sheahan Catholic High School & Craig Murphy Senior Project Manager, CSU

Zoe Bird, Kinross Wolaroi School & Amy van de Ven, Franchisee, Quest Orange

Alice Wilson, Kinross Wolaroi School & Jessica Hickman, Founder, Bullyology

Charlotte Roach, Molong Central School & Andrew Gee MP, Federal Member for Calare

Luke Reed, Orange Anglican Grammar School & Sonia Thew, Medical Doctor and Lecturer CSU

Alexandra Milne, Orange Anglican Grammar School & Gerald Power, Deputy Mayor, Orange City Council

Ellen Dolbel, Orange High School & Alison Neville, Solicitor, Blackwell Short Lawyers

The 2023 ambassadors are Reg Kidd, RDA Deputy Chair; Sophie Durham, Director, Digital Wonder; Ben Chiarella, Clinical Director of Innovation, Ramsay Connect and Clint Giddings, VET Curriculum Project Officer, NSW Department of Education.

To learn more about the program, please visit the RDA Central West website