Master Class on the Murray

Mr Ross Lake

Mr Ross Lake

In 2009 Larry O’Connor, an accounting lecturer at the Mildura campus, proposed that the Regional School of Business establish a Master Class lecture series. The lectures take place in the restored William and George Chaffey building at 29 Deakin Avenue gifted to La Trobe University by the Carrazza family. The aim of the lectures is to enable both La Trobe students and members of the community to hear and discuss stimulating new ideas about contemporary business.

Chosen for their diverse business backgrounds, Master Class lecturers speak on a topic of their choice. In 2009 they included:

• Cheryl Rix – General Manager of Western Murray Irrigation
• Damian Wells – Chief Executive Officer of North Central Catchment Management Authority
• Ross Lake – Managing Director of TASCO Inland Australia Pty Ltd
• Judith Damiani – Chief Executive Officer of Citrus Australia Ltd
• Rod Trowbridge - Chief Executive Officer Tourism Mildura
• Vernon Knight - Managing Director of Mallee Family Care
• Larry O’Connor – Regional School of Business, Mildura

Master Class Lecturers for 2010 have included Professor Carol Adams (Acting Dean, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University) and Professor Neale O’Connor (The University of Hong Kong). The lectures are popular with students and the community alike, drawing large and enthusiastic audiences.

Margaret Burrell (Bachelor of Business student) says ‘The calibre of people presenting offers great insight into the role of management in business, the community sector, and local government. As a management major student at Mildura, I found the presenters brought to life concepts of management we have encountered in our theory work.’

Another Mildura student, Adrian Toepfer says ‘I find the lectures provide a link between theory and real world practice as well as being motivational and giving insight into the careers of industry and community leaders’.

Master Class presenter, Damian Wells, Chief Executive Officer of the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) in Bendigo, was excited when he was asked to give a lecture. “I remember when we had outside speakers when I was at university, and the chance they offered to make real world connections”.

Damian spoke about his leadership role in the NCCMA, an authority responsible for an area covering 13% of the State of Victoria.  This region is home to four rivers systems - the Campaspe, Loddon, Avoca and Avon-Richardson River systems - and contains environmental assets of international significance such as Gunbower Forest and the Kerang Lakes System.

Margaret Burrell described how Damian ‘conveyed enthusiasm for the position he holds with the NCCMA and vitality within himself.  He emphasised to us all the importance of positive leadership qualities, and their potential to be ‘contagious’ and draw support from others.’

Master Class lectures offer students a great chance to hear and network with business leaders, and open up to them the wider horizons of a career in business.

Future Master Class lectures are publicised on