The ARI Mentor Program supports emerging industry leaders. Over 6 months ARI Member Teams complete a project-based Challenge under the guidance of an experienced industry Mentor.

Challenges are designed to solve a problem through research, program or solution design that benefit the industry whilst providing opportunities for Mentee’s to develop technical, project and leadership skills.

How does it work?



Mentee Teams get together, meet their Industry Mentors and other participants in the program and network. ARI unveils the challenge task.



Mentee Teams, with the guidance of their Industry Mentor, solve a problem, develop a program or complete a body of work that will advance the industry.



Mentee Teams present their solution to a panel of industry experts at the ARI’s annual conference for a chance to be recognised for the most innovative or effective solution.

The Process

Meet the Mentors

James Ellender, NSW State Manager for Belgravia Leisure

Over the past 15 years James have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to lead a number of site redevelopments and openings, but the one that stands out is the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern and having the opportunity to work with many passionate people to open such an important community asset.

Learn more about James

Nichole Edsall, Chief Operations Manager for Blacktown City Council

Nichole has worked in the aquatic & recreation industry for over 22 years. Her current role sees her leading 10 Key Venues including aquatic, leisure and sporting venues as Chief Operations Manager for Blacktown City Council.

Learn more about Nichole

Lachlan Lawless, Centre Coordinator for Charlie Lowles Leisure Centre Emerton

Lachlan is currently the Centre Coordinator for Charlie Lowles Leisure Centre Emerton and identifies that in his role there is no typical day with each day facing new challenges. He considers the ability to analyse data, statistics, problems and tasks from multiple angles and seek feedback from front line staff on ways to improve as being key to success.

Learn more about Lachlan

Simon Duck, Aquatic Facilities Manager for Inner West Council

Simon currently works with the Aquatics facilities staff in overseeing the Inner West Council Aquatics Facilities. This includes managing large LTS, Fitness and Aquatics programs and all the daily requirements associated with the operations of these facilities.

Learn more about Simon

Gary Johnson, Managing Director of See Clearly Now

Gary spends his days inn a training room and then on pool deck with either lifeguards, duty supervisors, centre managers or senior management. I help them better understand the riddle of drowning prevention and what they can do better.

Learn more about Gary

Jon Colwell, Centre Coordinator – Manly Andrew Boy Charlton Aquatic Centre for Northern Beaches Council

Jon Colwell is currently the Centre Coordinator – Manly Andrew Boy Charlton Aquatic Centre for Northern Beaches Council. Having worked as part of the Operations Team for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 & World Championships 2007, Jon has recently brought his expertise to the opening the new MABC Aquatic Centre with his team at Manly.

Learn more about Jon

Industry Mentor - Expression of Interest
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Mentee - Expression of Interest
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