Leadership Illawarra Program names six scholarship winners for emerging leaders

LIP Scholarship presentation: Robert Kempton, Julia Frith, Rod Clark, Madline Cross, Graham Lancaster, Grace McCarthy, James Welch, Daniel Rowan and Debra Murphy. Not able to be present was Kristen Day. Picture: Greg Ellis.
LIP Scholarship presentation: Robert Kempton, Julia Frith, Rod Clark, Madline Cross, Graham Lancaster, Grace McCarthy, James Welch, Daniel Rowan and Debra Murphy. Not able to be present was Kristen Day. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Leadership Illawarra Program (LIP) has announced six candidates as recipients of full scholarships and half scholarships for its 2018-2020 program.

Rod Clark, Madeline Cross, Kristen Day, Julia Frith, Robert Kempton and James Welch were named as full and half scholarship winners at SmartSpace in the Enterprise 1 building at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus on Tuesday.

Candidates met alumni from past program cohorts and key stakeholders involved in the innovative two-year experiential learning program for emerging leaders.

LIP is the result of partnership between Regional Development Australia Illawarra (RDA Illawarra), the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong and The Illawarra Connection.

The aim is to inspire and connect visionaries who will lead the region into the future.

RDA Illawarra chief executive Debra Murphy said more winners were chosen for the next intake because there was saw a strong field of applicants.

“There were an extraordinary number of applications for the three full-time scholarships and one half-scholarship available,” she said.

“So many, in fact, that the committee decided to increase the number of scholarships as well as the funding support provided.

“This intake will have six scholarships (two full and four half scholarships).”

The Illawarra Connection president Graham Lancaster named Flagstaff Group’s Life Choices manager Rod Clark as recipient of a full scholarship.

“Rod embodies the spirit of the LIP scholarships. He is committed to continuous improvement and developing his skills as a local leader,” Mr Lancaster said.

“In his current role Rod is responsible for providing support for over 250 people with disabilities to develop vocational readiness, social skills, community engagement and independence.

“Rod belongs to a number of committees representing the interests of people with disabilities in the Illawarra and is a dedicated disability advocate”

Mr Clark said he was hoping to continue his development as a leader, not only in his role at Flagstaff but also in the Illawarra community.

The GPT Group business development manager Madeline Cross was awarded a half scholarship.

She was described as a standout candidate because of her commitment to causes close to her heart such as surf lifesaving, charity and women in leadership.

“I would hope to use the lessons learned through this program to fulfil my vision of becoming a transformational leader for the team at Wollongong Central and the wider community,” she said.

University of Wollongong Sydney Business School dean Grace McCarthy named Kristen Day as the recipient of a full scholarship.

Ms Day is the operations manager at Southern Youth and Family Services where she had worked for 19 years.

She is highly committed to her own improvement and education and how that translates to results for her organisation.

Ms Day developed an International Student Program at SYFS and said she is motivated to make a difference.

“I hope that this program can support me to develop strong and positive relationships with my peers and other potential leaders in our local community,” she said.

Leadership Illawarra Program Steering Committee chair Daniel Rowan presented a half scholarship to UOW Advantage SME manager Julia Frith who is hoping to develop more skills in the area of strategic thinking and critical analysis.

She is passionate about breaking down silos and collaboration in business development 

“I think the best way to lead and inspire is through passion and enthusiasm… I hope to become a strong business leader and a good role model for my young daughter and son,” she said.

Mr Rowan also presented Cardno senior project manager Robert Kempton with a half scholarship.

Mr Kempton is a long-time volunteer and active member of the Illawarra business community

He manages a team of up to 20 internal staff plus subcontractors.

Has taken on roles mentoring graduate engineers and supporting others in leadership positions and said “I am passionate about seeing the Illawarra region and its people reach their full potential and continue to grow as an essential part of an increasingly global economy.”

Another half scholarship went to Access Law Group director and solicitor James Welch.

Mr Welch’s role involves running the day-to-day business at the busy law firm which employs more than 20 people.

He manages a team of five and focuses on the development of young employees and mentoring young professionals in the workplace.

He said he was interested in promoting regional interests in industry and local business chambers.

“I want to develop connections with my peers, better understand the relationships between the private and public sectors, and how these can be levied to benefit the Illawarra community,” he said.

Ms Murphy said there was such a strong field there were many unsuccessful applicants for the 2018-2020 program.

Applications for LIP participants close on September 30 for the program commencing on November 13, 2018. 

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