Leaders of the Future: Shaping 2035

Remember Kodachrome film, dialled rotary phones and encyclopedias?  Maybe you grew up shopping at the corner store and your social interactions were limited to a few neighbourhood friends? 

Youngsters today grow up in a world characterised by technology and how to use that technology to interact with others. Their reality of how to communicate, buy and sell, search for information and how to socialise are very different. 

It’s not surprising then that so much of today’s influential management literature mentions technological competence and communication skills, particularly with people of different cultures, genders and backgrounds, as the most important knowledge and skills for successful future leaders.

It was with this in mind that Beaumaris Rotary, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Darwin, started a conversation with the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA). 

ALPA is the largest Independent Aboriginal Corporation in Australia.  It was established in 1972 as a cooperative of community stores in seven Arnhemland communities.  It is now a thriving retail enterprise, with a turnover of approximately $75 million and more than 25 full self-service, air-conditioned stores offering a range of items in remote communities. Significantly, the stores are the single largest employer in these communities; employing over 1100 Aboriginal people. 

The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) unveils its ‘Store of the Future’ in Ramingining, East Arnhemland

But right now, at their head office in Darwin, there are relatively few aboriginal employees.  Our conversation with ALPA explored options that could change this.

The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) Employment Project 

Here’s what we did in 2020: We liaised with ALPA to establish a cadet/graduate program employing young Aboriginal school leavers from the Darwin area. The new roles to be in ALPA’s head office located in Darwin. 

What started as a project to establish a regular intake of Aboriginal school leavers or graduates into jobs in the Darwin office quickly became reality.  Two young people have been recruited into roles and will start before Easter. It’s an amazing opportunity for them. They will gain experience working in the heart of a significant retail business; in finance, marketing, HR, supply chain and more. And ultimately, it is envisaged that the jobs will open pathways to management roles. 

Rotary’s longer-term goal is to support ALPA to embed the Aboriginal Employees Cadet/Graduate Program into the business and make them part of a management and leadership pipeline within the enterprise. Rotary has committed to raising $20,000 to support the cadet/graduate program. 

If we’re to believe what we read about the knowledge and skills needed to be successful leaders in the 21st century; that communication skills with people of different cultures, genders, and backgrounds are the prime competence, ALPA have much to benefit from this initiative. 


If you’re interested to learn more about our work with indigenous communities or any other of our projects, please contact our Membership Director in the first instance. Let her know your interest  and she’ll put you in touch with the right person.

Please contact Megan:

glenwrightmegan@gmail.com Tel: 0418 578 114

Megan’s our Beaumaris Rotary Membership Director. The title sounds a little formal but trust us, she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet! 


To learn more about the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) go to www.alpa.asn.au/


References: The Journal of Leadership Education and The 5 Elements of a Strong Leadership Pipeline by Josh Bersin (Josh Bersin Academy)