Change Play's Diane Gray organises New England North West Regional Leadership Summit

SUMMIT: Change Play executive director Diane Gray is organising the New England North West Regional Leadership Summit. Photo: Matt Bedford
SUMMIT: Change Play executive director Diane Gray is organising the New England North West Regional Leadership Summit. Photo: Matt Bedford

THE KIDS aren’t from the top end of town, but they can hold their own, and BackTrack kids will host a panel at the New England North West Regional Leadership Summit.

BackTrack is a program for underprivileged boys and girls, enabling those who’ve lost their way to reconnect with education and training.

Founder Bernie Shakeshaft said the theme of the event, Conscious Giving, the Heart of Workplace Culture is an opportunity for the business community to hear why the program is important straight from the horse’s mouth.

“No matter where we go we get these young fellas doing public speaking, it says something on a bigger level that we respect their opinion,” he said.

“I think when people hear from the kids the first reaction is shock, and a lot of respect.

“People don’t really understand the position a lot of these kids are in I reckon, they hear it from politicians, reporters and youth workers but when you hear it from young people it’s a very powerful message.”

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The event is organised by Change Play executive director Di Gray, who said it’s aimed at business and community leaders who want to incorporate social responsibility beyond just the dollar sign.

Keynote speakers include Olympian Elka Whalan and Hands Across the Water’s Peter Bains.

“There’s a whole lot of benefit that comes within a business when they can join together on a cause like something in the social responsibility field,” she said.

“Conscious giving isn’t just about money, it’s about how we give to each other in the workplace – that can be as simple as a thank you or as big as giving people the opportunity to step up into a senior or acting leadership role.”

LEADERSHIP: BackTrack boys and girls train dogs as part of the program.

LEADERSHIP: BackTrack boys and girls train dogs as part of the program.

Along with BackTrack, Crest Performance managing director Chris Rose, and regional women in leadership like Rag and Trader’s Becky Smouha, TG’s Childcare’s Laura Mowle, Greater Bank’s Shannan Feneley and Invest Blue’s Kasey Patterson will also talk at the event.

Ms Gray said the summit will be particularly useful to leaders in regional communities, where the investment a company makes into the community comes back two-fold.

“Regional communities have something to offer that you don’t quite get in the city counterparts,” she said.

“The obvious is that it lifts the business profile, but it’s so much deeper than that.

“When businesses give, their return is that they see children in local groups grow up – sometimes they end up working for them, it’s this investment back in the community where you don’t necessarily give to receive.”

Ms Gray is covering the costs of any services not donated, so that all proceeds go to BackTrack in Armidale.

For information visit changeplay.com.au/summit

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