Our Strategic Partner

In 2019, the Young Regional Leaders Summit focuses on


Our Big Idea

The Young Regional Leaders Summit offers a high-quality think tank opportunity, challenging the thinking of leaders and potential leaders who are under the age of 35 roles and the people who mentor them.

Be 'Cause'

Unless we ask better quality questions, then nothing will change for the better! We need to invest in our young people, because they are the future and learning the art of asking quality questions is a gift everyone deserves…!

Backtrack Youth Works

We enable young people who have lost their way to reconnect with education and training, become work ready and secure meaningful employment. Most importantly we get young people ‘back on track’ by developing strong, happy & healthy foundations that result in positive pathways and full participation in their communities.

Summit Keynote Speaker - Samantha Gash


Australian Samantha Gash, is the world’s first female and youngest person at the time to complete Racing the Planet’s Four Deserts Grand Slam in one calendar year. A lawyer by trade, she has run over 20,000km’s across every continent on the planet and raised over $300,000 for charity. She is a champion of women’s empowerment. She believes in access to education and social change, using her platform to bring awareness to the plight of many through charities such as World Vision, Save the Children and The Royal Flying Doctors Service.

After finishing her first marathon, and nearly failing in the process, Sam realised that endurance was a mindset. Motivated by the experience of pushing her mind and body beyond their limits, Samantha looked for her next challenge – unknowingly taking her first step towards rewriting history.

A year later Samantha began her journey to become the first woman and the youngest person to compete in the worlds toughest endurance competition – the Four Deserts Grand Slam. In 12 months, Samantha ran four 250km desert ultra-marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest (Antarctica) deserts on earth – carrying everything she needed to survive in a pack on her back. Her efforts were captured on the big screen for the Award-Winning documentary Desert Runners.

The following year, Samantha ran 222kms across the Himalayas, a feat achieved before by only one male athlete. During this journey, she realised she could use running as a vehicle to bring sustainable change to communities in need of help.

And so began Sam’s transformation to social advocate. In 2012 Samantha ran 379km nonstop across Australia’s Simpson Desert. Her journey drew media attention nationwide and took 3.5 days and nights to complete, raising $32,991 for Save the Children Australia in the process.

Continuing her social impact journey, Samantha co-organised a community running fundraiser event raising over $40,000 towards the continued rehabilitation of Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson – victims of the Kimberley ultra-marathon bushfire. A race she was also a competitor in.

A run alongside UK runner Mimi Anderson across South Africa’s Freedom Trail – averaging 61km per day for 32 days (1968kms in total) – saw $55,000 raised towards Save the Children’s for an education and feminine hygiene initiative.

In 2016, Samantha’s crowning event was a 3253km run from the West to the East of India in 76 days in her role as an official Ambassador for World Vision, raising over $200,000 for education programs. Along the way, her visits to 18 World Vision communities were shared on a digital platform, resulting in organisations and individuals fundraising peer-to-peer on a global scale.

Samantha has been recognised as a finalist in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards twice; in 2016 in the Agenda Setter category and 2014 in the Inspirational Leaders category.

In 2016, she was selected as a delegate for the Australia India Youth Dialogue and nominated for a Pride of Australia Medal. She is currently writing her memoirs with publishers Macmillan in NYC which is due for release in 2019. Sam welcomed Harry, her first child, in 2018.

Summit Keynote Speaker - Mark Wales


Mark Wales grew up in the red dirt of West Australian mining towns in the Pilbara. After deciding he wanted to join the SAS in high school, Mark embarked on a career in the Australian military that would eventually lead him to the battlefields of Afghanistan. As a Troop Commander in charge of 30 elite soldiers, Mark’s role was to lead combat missions against senior enemy commanders, deep behind enemy lines. Through this unique and harsh environment, Mark developed his skills in leadership, teamwork and high performance.

Like many in his situation, Mark battled depression and stress disorders after warfighting in Afghanistan. He tackled recovery with the same intensity he applied to Special Ops training. He rigorously researched the fundamentals of neurobiological science and the benefit of skill development. This approach underpinned a strong recovery and drove personal growth far beyond his previous abilities.

Mark’s successful recovery and growth led him to embark on a high-profile career in business. With four attempts of the GMAT, he was accepted into an Ivy League college in the U.S.A, and after graduation he joined McKinsey & Company, a respected consulting outfit also known as ‘The Firm’. He founded a fashion start-up Kill_Kaptur, a tough-luxury ecommerce brand. He was a competitor in Australian Survivor 2017, the world’s #1 reality TV show.

An avid surfer, boxer, and cook, Mark stays active and keeps his experiences as varied as possible. He believes that past experience should never be a limitation to embarking and excelling in something new.

Mark loves to reveal the common threads that run through human competition in all arenas, and the importance of a growth-mindset to overcoming mental illness and drive success in future endeavours.

Summit Keynote Speakers - Ian Mason


Ian is CEO of Rainbow Bridge Education, a company he founded to create accessible resources for parents across the world to use in the home learning environment. Rainbow Bridge is one of several start-ups founded by Ian over the last decade; his portfolio includes multiple companies in the education, technology, publishing and not-for-profit sectors.

Ian was instrumental in the creation and growth of Virgin StartUp, Sir Richard Branson’s not-for-profit company for entrepreneurs, which has now supported over 11,000 entrepreneurs with over £35 million.

He is immensely passionate about supporting entrepreneurs, an endeavour which has seen him take up roles across the world, including Global Entrepreneur in Residence at Creative Enterprise Australia’s Collider Accelerator Programme and Visiting Entrepreneur at The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur.

Prior to Virgin StartUp, Ian was Head of Policy and Public Affairs at London Chamber of Commerce, a role which saw him advising the UK Government on business policy in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and gain credibility as an economic commentator.

He is also the Chairman of Future Leaders Network, an organisation he founded, that seeks and develops the business, academic and political leaders of the future.

Ian is a professional speaker and has been asked to participate in a diverse range of engagements, from the 11th UK/South Africa Bilateral, to the Gen Asia Conference and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. Ian has also delivered lectures for a number of Universities globally, including London School of Economics, University of Bari and Queensland University of Technology.

Ian’s media work includes TV interviews broadcast on free-to-air TV in the UK, Australia, China, Italy & Macedonia amongst others and his radio work for both regional and national stations in the UK, includes the BBC and LBC. Ian is also a professional speechwriter, having previously written for senior politicians and business leaders.

Ian campaigns on a number of issues, including social mobility, youth leadership and financial literacy. As an active youth leader on the global stage, he was also appointed Leader of the UK’s delegation to the Y20 Summit in both 2015 and 2016.

In his leisure time, Ian enjoys playing football, marathon running, motorsport, falconry, shooting, ballroom dancing, and listening to jazz/swing music. He is a member of MENSA and avid supporter of Aston Villa Football Club.

Master of Ceremonies - The Hon. Adam Marshall MP


Adam Marshall is the Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales and proudly represents his local community as the Member for Northern Tablelands in the NSW Parliament.

Having grown up of a farming property near Gunnedah, in the state’s North West, Adam is proud to have always lived and worked in country NSW. He attended Gunnedah South Public School then Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth.

Completing school, Adam returned home to help manage his family’s farming enterprises. He became a journalist, during which time he was elected to Gunnedah Shire Council, at the age of 19, in 2004.

Adam was elected Deputy Mayor in 2007 and then, at the age of 23, Mayor in 2008, a position he held until he stepped down from local government in 2012 to move to Armidale to study at the University of New England. During his time in local government, Adam also served as Chairman of the Namoi Regional Organisation of Councils (NamoiROC), Chairman of the NSW Country Mayors Association and Senior Vice President of Local Government NSW.

Elected to the NSW Parliament in 2013 and most recently in March 2019, Adam has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW, before his elevation to Cabinet in January 2017 where he served as the Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Assistant Minister for Skills.

Adam recognises the important contribution made to our state by way of tourism and major events, and in particular regional communities, and looks forward to championing them on a larger scale.

Young Regional Leaders Summit

Special Thanks to Our Supporters

Day 1 - THINK TANK Speakers




With her debut single ‘Criminal’, Australian recording artist Cleo Alexandra immediately captured the eyes and ears of many who were eager to uncover more from the songstress. Now, with the release of her long-awaited self-titled EP in 2019, Cleo is back with full force. Accompanied by rock legend Rick Springfield for a cover song of the Australian classic ‘Who Can It Be Now’ and continuing to join forces with six-time Grammy-winning American producer Keith Olsen and producer J.J Farris, Cleo has her career going full steam ahead. https://www.cleoalexandra.com

DAY 2 - THINK TANK Speakers

Time is running out!

Book before August 31st for an early bird discount
2019/08/18 12:00:00

Why have a Young Regional Leaders Summit?

The Young Regional Leaders Summit is a collaborative and immersive experience focused on the unique and sometimes tricky facets of creating leaders for our future.

A gathering of like-minded people in a practical, down to earth environment with a think tank learning style, the Summit provides you with tools to analyse and transform leadership skills for young leaders and their mentors so you have a constructive and positive impact your own the legacy you leave and the workplace culture of today; to help you create change-ready and change-resilient teams.

Engaging with CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders who know the true value ASKING WHAT ELSE?; who understand how integral leadership and workplace culture are to multiplying individual potential for maximum team contribution to your business results; who ensure the right action is taken by the right people because they have built teams of people with complimentary skills; and who are committed to changing how change happens by attuning culture, systems and people.

It’s a time to collaborate, network and engage with like-minded leaders and:

  • BUILD YOUR LEADERSHIP TOOLBOX: learn key strategies from leaders who have everyone working for the same purpose and learn how to Challenge your leadership by ASKING, ‘WHAT ELSE?’
  • DEVELOP COMMUNICATION SKILLS; have teams working effectively with communication strategies that work.
  • DEVELOP AGILE PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS: develop critical thinkers and advanced problem solving and decision-making skills.

Why should you make sure you are in the room with us?

Now is your opportunity to be part of a new movement in regional business and leadership success.


26th August 2019: DAY 1 Think Tank - Saumarez Homestead Armidale, NSW
1.30pm - 2pm: Registration & Networking

Round 1 Think Tanks

2pm – 3pm:

‘Thinking behind the thinking – it starts with ‘what else?’ with Diane Gray &

Innovating Corporate Social Responsibility – Slavery, why it is not extinct! with Professor Michael Adams

Afternoon Tea: 3pm - 3.30pm

The Legacy of Saumarez

3.30pm – 4.30pm: Tour Saumarez Homestead

Round 2 Think Tanks

4.30pm – 5.30pm:

Start-up Reality – Make your ideas real with Lou Conway & Be a Standout – How asking quality leadership questions changes the future with Superintendents Scott Tanner, Greg Moore and Peter McKenna.

27th August 2019: Day 2 Think Tank - Quality Hotel Powerhouse
8.30am - 9am: Networking

Official welcome from the Hon. Adam Marshall MP

9am – 9.45am
10.30am - 11am Morning tea and Networking

Generations Generating Leaders - Panel

Speakers: David Levingston (Aero Health Care), Susan Law (Armidale Regional Council), Michael Engeman ( Blush Tomatoes, Costa Group), Bonnie Cochrane (TIPIAC)

11.45am – 12.30pm

Growing Backtrack - Interview

Speakers: Greg Paramor AO & Melinda Phillips, Backtrack

12:30pm – 1:15pm

1:15pm - 2pm Lunch and Networking

Surviving Survivor - Q&A

Speakers: Samantha Gash & Mark Wales

2:45pm – 3:15pm

3:15pm - 3:30pm Afternoon Tea and Networking

Summit Wrap up

Speaker: The Hon. Adam Marshall MP

4:30pm – 4:45pm

Hurry, positions are closing fast!

Accommodation in Armidale


Quality Hotel Powerhouse


All Seasons Motel


Country Comfort


Deer Park Motor Inn


Cotswold Gardens


Armidale Motel


Armidale Pines Motel


See More Options

Things to See and Do in Armidale


Saumarez Homestead


New England Regional Art Museum


Aboriginal Cultural Centre


Armidale Folk Museum


Self-guided Heritage Walk


Wollomombi Falls


Ebor Falls


See More Activities