Regional Development Australia Central West hosts the TEN4TEN Future Leaders Year 11 Leadership Dialogue again in 2023

Regional Development Australia Central West (RDA) is excited to be hosting the inaugural TEN4TEN Future Leaders Year 11 Leadership Dialogue – a unique opportunity for ten specially chosen year 11 students to come together with ten community leaders for a fantastic two-way conversation and mentorship opportunity.

Students from across Orange, Blayney and Cabonne are invited to submit a written application of up to 300 words outlining why they believe they should be selected to participate in this program.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a meet & greet event, followed by dinner, with ten local community leaders selected as TEN4TEN mentors for 2023
  • Visit NSW Parliament House in Sydney, where they will be hosted by the State Member for Orange, Phil Donato MP
  • Visit Parliament House in Canberra, where they will be hosted by the Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, MP
  • Attend regular group activities throughout the year
  • Connect with and be mentored by our inspiring community leaders and innovators

The ten inspiring mentors have now been announced, who are from a range of backgrounds, industries, and sectors.

RDA Central West director, Wayne Sunderland said the mentors will offer participating students an opportunity to be part of a unique and inspiring experience with these recognisable local leaders.

“We are excited to announce the wonderful local mentors for our TEN4TEN 2023 program,” said Mr. Sunderland.

“This is the fourth time the program has run, following three successful years of the mentorship program, from which we have received so much positive feedback from both students and mentors, as well as the schools and wider community.”

“Students have the opportunity to learn from and connect with our community leaders through this experience, while also getting a direct insight into what career opportunities are available right here in the Central West.”

The mentors for the 2023 TEN4TEN program are:

  • Gerald Power – Deputy Mayor, Orange City Council
  • Peita Mages – Director at Clever Cookie Academy
  • Phil Donato MP – Member for Orange
  • Amy van de Ven – Franchisee, Quest Orange
  • Andrew Gee MP – Federal Member for Calare
  • Jessica Hickman – Founder of Bullyology
  • Sonia Thew – Medical Doctor and Lecturer in Medicine at Charles Sturt University
  • Ben Watts – Owner of Bralca
  • Alison Neville – Solicitor, Blackwell Short Lawyers
  • Craig Murphy – Senior Project Manager at Charles Sturt University and IT Consultant

This year the program will also welcome four TEN4TEN ambassadors, who will be available for an individual mentoring session with any student that expresses as interest in connecting with them, as well as be involved in several group activities as guest speakers.

“We welcome interest from passionate community members who are leaders in their field wishing to share their expertise and guidance as a mentor or ambassador.  The addition of four specially selected ambassadors will ensure students have mentoring access to a wider range of career insights and leadership expertise within our community,” said Mr. Sunderland.

The four specially selected TEN4TEN Ambassadors are:

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

Mr. Sunderland also explained that there is great value in the program for senior students as they navigate their final two years at high school and consider what opportunities lie ahead after graduation.

“This is an important chapter for Year 11 students and TEN4TEN offers another source of guidance and a new perspective on what careers they could pursue here in the region,” added Mr. Sunderland.

Students are reminded that applications close Tuesday, 7 March 2023 and can be submitted online via the RDA Central West website at