Think HBR

2017 Future Leaders Program

Future Leaders
HunterNet’s Future Leaders Program for 2017 concluded on 3 November with Team Watagan being announced as the winning team at the annual gala dinner attended by 180 members of the Hunter business community.
This year, the Future Leaders Program involved four multidisciplinary teams of young professionals who considered how Newcastle can leverage off the huge investment in transport, the rejuvenation of the city foreshore, a revitalised central business district, an upsized University, and a $6.5 billion investment by the NSW Government to make it the new ‘boom city’. The teams worked in a competitive environment using the skills they attained throughout the program where 12 Leadership topics were delivered by leading academics and business leaders from the region and nationally.
The teams were assigned mentors that are senior leaders in their own right who guided the teams in the development of their integrated transport solution, which involved producing a 20 page report and delivering a 30 minute presentation. This year’s mentors included: Mal Coble, General Manager, The University of Newcastle Research Association (TUNRA); Jacqueline Bess, Business Relationship Manager, Mine Wealth and Wellbeing; Gavin Foster, General Manager of Service, Downer Group; and Gunilla Burrowes, Chair, Eighteen04.
The program encouraged each of the teams to think outside the box when researching and scoping their plan to lead this transition. This included presenting a detailed analysis of how each team would contribute to attracting investment, jobs and opportunities for its citizens and communities.
The judging panel consisted of experienced and credentialed leaders such as: Dr Peter Cock, Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle Airport; Kerry Walker, Principal Consultant, Safetyworks; Ian Hedle, Managing Director Hedweld Group: Prof Veena Sahajwalla, Director, Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT@UNSW); and Tony Cade, CEO, HunterNet.
The members of the winning team, Team Watagan, included Alis Strickland, Perfrom HR; Trish Heagney, NAB; Tim Browne, Umwelt; David Wheatley, ARTC; Petr Klima, Bohemia Simulations; and Ryan Fox, Yancoal. The team was mentored by Mal Coble, General Manager, Tunra.
The CEO of Hunternet and Program Judge, Tony Cade said “We received four practical and innovative submissions, the Team Watagan submission provided the most holistic solution that was seen as the one most able to be implemented that could lead and drive the future development and prosperity of our great city.”