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Regional Development Australia (RDA) Central West is excited to continue the TEN4TEN Leadership Dialogue in 2023 and connect ten selected Year 11 students with ten local community leaders for a unique mentoring experience.


The Central West is home to a high calibre of leaders and mentoring plays a major role in fostering the next generation of young leaders in our community.

Since its inception in 2020, the TEN4TEN Leadership Dialogue has forged new partnerships, opened doors and provided an insight into the countless opportunities that are available in regional New South Wales and more specifically – right here in the Central West.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to take part in the following:


  • Attend the program launch and dinner in early April and participate in the speed networking activity with all mentors;
  • Afternoon tea at Orange City Council Chambers with Mentor and Deputy Mayor Gerald Power;
  • Visit Parliament of NSW in Sydney, hosted by Mentor and Member for Orange, Phil Donato;
  • Visit Parliament of Australia in Canberra, hosted by Mentor and Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee;
  • Attend the end of program breakfast and presentation in November; and
  • Take part in additional events that will be organised throughout the duration of the program.


Andrew Gee MP

Phil Donato MP

Jessica Hickman

Amy van de Ven

Craig Murphy

Sonia Thew

Gerald Power

Pieta Mages

Ben Watts

Alison Neville


Emily Thomas

Thomas Pell

Charlotte Lapins

Angel Tresa Tom

Zoe Bird

Alice Wilson

Charlotte Roach

Luke Reed

Alexandra Milne

Ellen Dolbel

Wrapping up 2023

The Hive Orange was our host to mark the end of the 2023 TEN4TEN Leadership Dialogue.


Ten year 11 students from Canowindra High School, James Sheahan Catholic High School, Orange High School, Kinross Wolaroi School, Orange Anglican Grammar School and Molong Central School have now graduated from the fourth year of the annual TEN4TEN leadership and mentoring program.


They have been wonderful ambassadors of their school and community.


RDA Central West would also like to thank the mentors and ambassadors involved in the program this year for their time, commitment and contribution which was greatly valued by their mentees.

Careers breakfast with the mentors

Students, mentors and ambassadors met up for a casual breakfast at Anything Grows in Orange.


Students heard all about the mentors’ and ambassadors’ career journeys and talked about their own ambitions.

Talk & tour at Charles Sturt University

TEN4TEN students gathered at CSU’s Orange campus with former mentor and CSU Director of Community Engagement, Julia Andrews, as well as staff from the medical and dental faculties..


Four current medical school students joined them for afternoon tea and chatted about why they chose to study medicine and the different paths they took to get there.


A visit to the dental simulation lab followed with mentor Andrew Gee MP joining in to have a go at some dental work.

Visit to Australian Parliament

What a wonderful day in Canberra for our TEN4TEN 2023 students, hosted by Andrew Gee MP.


The students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour providing a glimpse into the workings of Parliament not seen by many, watched the unveiling of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s official portrait, dined in the Sir Richard Baker Dining Room with Andrew Gee MP, sat in on Question Time, and a had special meeting with The Hon. Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government & Territories.

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley

RDA staff and TEN4TEN 2023 students were invited to Charles Sturt University to meet the NSW Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley.


Students enjoyed delicious canapés catered by @agrestic_grocer and got to meet Governor Beazley in person.


In was a fantastic night highlighting NSW Education Week and the vital role education plays in our lives.

Visit to the Parliament of NSW

A brilliant day accompanying TEN4TEN 2023 students to Sydney for a behind-the-scenes tour of Australia’s oldest parliament – Parliament of New South Wales.


Member for Orange Phil Donato MP and his team hosted the day, introducing students to Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Greg Piper MP and Minister for Youth Rose Jackson MLC.


Students attended Question Time witnessing topics being debated such as transport, health and current state debt, before a group lunch with Mr Donato within Parliament grounds.


Before departure students enjoyed a visit from Rose Jackson MLC, and expressed their concern for regional youth access to mental health services and future housing affordability.


A brilliant morning for our July TEN4TEN 2023 Breakfast Conversation.

New RDA Central West Director Steven Bowman was interviewed by @jumbledonline‘s Pip Brett, talking about his vision for the region and career journey to date.


Pip was fantastic at relating Steve’s answers to key takeaways for students, and guests enjoyed a delicious networking breakfast before we began.


In attendance were TEN4TEN students and mentors, RDA staff, and local leaders welcoming Steve to the top job.


TEN4TEN 2023 students visited Orange City Council to learn all about how the council operates and meet key decision-makers for the city.


They were joined by three mentors and six Orange City Council staff including Mayor Jason Hamling, Deputy Mayor Gerald Power, CEO David Waddell, Director Community Recreation and Cultural Services Scott Maunder, Director Development Services Mark Hodges and Director Corporate and Commercial Services Rachelle Robb.


Conversation between TEN4TEN students, mentors, and senior council representatives resulted in an understanding of council operations, the different aspects of local government and the variety of careers available, as well as some life advice.


A brilliant morning at Anything Grows for the first of our TEN4TEN 2023 Breakfast Conversations. Ben Chiarella took on the task of interviewing TEN4TEN Ambassador Reg Kidd, giving students an insight into Reg’s career path and the joy of giving back to communities through voluntary work.


Reg wowed us all by sharing his commitment to life long learning – he is currently studying sustainable agriculture at university to add to his long list of tertiary qualifications.


We were once again given the opportunity to volunteer at The Huddle, an event created by 2020 Mentor Pip Brett of Jumbled.  The Huddle brings together inspiring female business owners and change-makers in one room.


The girls were tasked with helping to prepare morning tea and lunch, listening to the Huddle mentors and speakers, and enjoying the day.   



We kicked off the year with a ‘meet and greet’ with Nedd Brockmann, a Central West local who ran from Perth to Sydney raising $2.5 million for homeless charity Mobilise along the way.


The students then attended the ‘Lunch and Learn’ event with 350 others to hear Nedd talk about his epic journey across Australia, from the amazing support he received to all the trials and tribulations that featured in his 46.5 day run. He also shared his unique toolkit of tips, tricks and strategies to inspire the audience to harness their own potential and tackle their own personal challenges, no matter how big or small. 


It was great to see a number of previous TEN4TEN students in the audience. 

Meet the Mentors
Sonia Thew
Medical Doctor and Lecturer in Medicine, Charles Sturt University
5. Andrew Gee
Andrew Gee
Federal Member for Calare
Peita Mages
Owner, Clever Cookie Academy
3. Phil Donato
Phil Donato
State Member for Orange
_DSC7184_pp (2)
Alison Neville
Solicitor, Blackwell Short Lawyers
Gerald Power
Deputy Mayor, Orange City Council and Owner, Indigenous Cultural Adventures
Amy van de Ven
Franchisee, Quest Orange
Ben Watts_photo
Ben Watts
Director, Bralca
unnamed (21)
Jessica Hickman
Founder, Bullyology
Craig Murphy
Senior Project Manager, Charles Sturt University and previous business owner and technology consultant

This year the TEN4TEN program will also welcome four TEN4TEN ambassadors in addition to the ten mentors, who will be championing the TEN4TEN program within the community and available for an individual mentoring session with any student that expresses interest in connecting with them.


The four specially selected TEN4TEN Ambassadors are:

  • Reg Kidd – twice elected former Mayor of Orange and Agricultural Consultant
  • Sophie Durham – Founder and Director of Digital Wonder, Business and Life Coach, and Orange Supper Club Founder
  • Ben Chiarella – Director of Clinical Innovation, Ramsay Connect
  • Clint Giddings – VET Curriculum Project Officer Skills and Pathways at NSW Education and NSW VET Teacher/Trainer of the year 2022

proudly supported by: