Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentoring Program Tribute to Our Mentor Ken Rich
By Barbara Bishop, Beef Connections Coordinator
I first got to know Ken when he was selected to be a Mentor in the inaugural Beef Connections Mentoring Program. Our relationship developed quickly during that program and I realised that I had a Mentor with great wisdom, vision, dedication, energy, and sense of humour. In that program Ken was a great support to me and an advisor to many of the Mentors and Mentor Partners. His capacity to encourage and support others to think outside the square was remarkable.
He was a Mentor to Ashley Kirk and worked hard to help Ashley plan and implement his amazing project. He was generous with his time and introduced Ashley to a network of people who would help Ashley change his life and his business.
Ashley’s words for Ken:
I first met Ken as part of the mentoring program in 2014. Ken was a leader in his field, a big picture thinker, articulate, funny and an all-round good guy. He helped me immensely, both professionally and personally, and we became terrific friends. Ken was a marvellous networker and always left a lasting impression on all those he met. I will miss his friendship and advice.
In 2017 as I began recruiting for the 2018 program I was chatting with Ken about the participants and he said “Barb I would do it all over again” and I wasn’t about to miss that opportunity, so Ken was a Mentor for the second Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentoring Program. Knowing Ken’s professional skills and his capacity to be an extraordinary Mentor, I paired him with Jim Teasdale. As Jim says on the Beef Connections video, “I had no idea how willing people were to help you, all you had to do was ask”. It was Ken who helped Jim think like this and Jim pays tribute to Ken:
Although he had years of experience and an extensive network, Ken was a great Mentor, not because he had, or gave, all the answers, but he was a great sounding board and had a knack of asking questions that encouraged me to challenge myself and think deeper, or bigger. Ken always had a great outlook on life – in which time was measured in relation to cycling exploits and visits to or from his daughters and grandchildren. He loved a rum and I think most people in Beef Connections will recall an event with Ken after a few drinks – he was always a livewire and had, and gave, time for everyone.
Ken was loved and respected by the Beef Connections family and here two Mentors pay tribute:
“Ken had a passion for helping young people, was always so jovial and really thought outside the square with his marketing expertise.”
“There are some people in life who have open hearts and a willingness to listen and support those around them. Ken was one of those people and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time with him.”
The Beef Connections program participants and I as the facilitator are richer for knowing and working with Ken and he will live on in our hearts and memories for many more Beef Connections years.
Main Image: Jim Teasdale and Ken Rich
Below 1: 2018 Beef Connections
Below 2: Ken Rich and Ashley Kirk
Below 3: 2015 Beef Connections