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The Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, supported by NAB Agribusiness, is an intensive five-day workshop conducted on the college campus at Geelong. The program, which commenced in 1992, is recognised as one of the longest running rural leadership programs in the nation. It has developed a strong reputation in the agricultural and agribusiness sector, attracting support from a wide range of industry and rural community groups from diverse regional backgrounds.

The industries represented include livestock grazing for meat and fibre, broad acre summer and winter cropping, dairy production, poppy production, cotton production, horticulture, apiary and a range of agribusiness support businesses.

With an average of approximately 35 participants per course, there are in excess of 780 graduates from the program across Australia. A number of these graduates are now representing their industries or rural communities at the decision-making level in the boardrooms of both community and industry groups.

The program will develop the skills and knowledge of participants to enable them to:

undertake a leadership role in their industry or community
competently represent their industry or community in decision-making forums
understand and address the issues facing rural industries and rural communities


Rural Leadership Program 2018

The Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, supported by NAB Agribusiness, is an intensive five-day workshop conducted on the college campus at Geelong. The program commenced in 1992 and is recognised as one of the longest running rural leadership programs in the nation. The Rural Leadership Program is run annually from the last Sunday of June each year.

Key Points

Where Marcus Oldham College
When Sunday 17 June 2018 to Friday 22 June 2018
Applications Close Friday 18 May 2018
Early Bird Discounts Close Friday 13 April 2018
More Information Nomination form


  MORLP 2018 Flyer MORLP 2018 Flyer  (1673 KB)

  Fairfax and ABIF Scholarship Flyer Fairfax and ABIF Scholarship Flyer  (205 KB)


Enquiries Program Enquiries - Jenny Hendricks

Ph: 03 5247 2901
Fax: (03) 5244 1263

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Program Leaders

David Cornish
Program Director, Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program
David has over 30 years experience in Agriculture Finance including roles such as Agricultural Economist, Agribusiness Marketing Manager and senior banking roles in regional NSW and Victoria for the National Australia Bank. He was the initial CEO of Rabo Financial Advisors and spent five years as a Farm Consultant with Mike Stephens & Associates focusing on agricultural investment opportunities for wholesale investment funds.
David has worked at Landmark as the Regional Manager for Western Victoria and then as a strategy manager for the organisation. Since 2012 David has consulted to agricultural investment companies supporting their farm investment strategy in Australia. In his spare time, he is involved in a family farming operation based at Casterton in Western Victoria. David is a full-time lecturer at Marcus Oldham, in Marketing and Business Communications.

Mike Stephens
Director, Meridian Agriculture

Mike is the founding Director of Meridian Agriculture a major agribusiness consultancy group with a client base in southern Australia.
Mike has 20 years’ experience in human resource management and provides consulting advice to major agribusiness companies. In addition to a large number of rural clients, Meridian Agriculture provides project management and training for a wide range of agricultural organisations including Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Land and Water Australia and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Mike is one of the founding members of Working with People Pty Ltd, which is experienced in delivering the Working In Groups (WIG) workshops for Meat & Livestock Australia. Over 2,500 people have been trained by the Working with People Company and their record in delivering the WIG’s program to a standard above all expectation, speaks for itself.
Mike has been involved in the design, delivery and management of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program since it’s commencement

Fiona Chambers
CEO, The Wheen Bee Foundation

Fiona has 30 years business experience in the production and marketing of agricultural and horticultural commodities, both in Australia and overseas.
Before taking up the position of CEO with the Wheen Bee Foundation, Fiona lectured in business management and marketing at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Victoria.
As convenor of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and the Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) ‘Emerging Leaders’ Program, Fiona developed extensive networks across a range of rural industries throughout Australia.

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The Program

The five-day workshop involves facilitators who have both the training skills and empathy to understand the issues facing rural industry and communities, and industry background to assist in the development of solutions.
Training sessions include:
• goal setting
• developing action plans
• leadership and team building
• community leadership
• learning and communication including public speaking and working with the media
• understanding self and others
• negotiation
Formal dinners during the week provide the opportunity for the participants to hear and debate the views of keynote speakers on a range of issues, which have relevance for rural and regional Australia. Issues such as the impact of climate change, water as a natural resource, building regional and rural communities, and native title legislation have been debated during previous programs. The dinners offer the opportunity to access these speakers and their views – an opportunity which may not be available in a regional or rural community.
The Leadership program features an Industry Dinner, supported by NAB Agribusiness. The dinner enables participants, industry supporters and a number of invited guests to be challenged and uplifted by keynote speakers sharing their views on current industry issues. The dinner also provides the opportunity for the participants to network with the industry supporters and industry guests.

Learning Outcomes

You can expect to gain:
• an appreciation of the demands of leadership within the current economic environment
• awareness of the primary leadership styles
• an understanding of your own strengths and development needs, and how these interact
• communication strategies
• decision-making skills
You can expect to understand:
• how leadership styles can be influenced by different business and personal contexts
• strategy development and implementation
• confidence to implement knowledge into your specific work and community context
• a range of issues that need to be considered for successful succession planning
You can expect to experience:
• time to reflect on the events of your personal and work life up until now
• networking opportunities with agri-related industry and community leaders who face a range of similar leadership challenges in their work, family and community lives.

Participant Selection

The program is open to leaders and emerging leaders from across rural Australia. Applicants are accepted based on their:
• potential to contribute as a leader in their community and industry
• demonstrate a desire to develop their leadership skills, self-confidence and personal effectiveness
• capacity to contribute to our diverse national industry, sector and role representation criteria
There are no maximum age or experience criteria, however, it is preferable participants are at least 21 years of age.