It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Mr Sydney Chesson, one of the founding directors of Role Models and Leaders Australia. Syd passed away peacefully on 23 December, with his loving wife of 50 years Jeanette and his beloved children by his side after a 17-month battle with cancer.
Syd carved out a successful career in business after initially working in the family’s sporting goods company, Chesson Sports. Syd went on to establish the AustAsia Group which currently employs more than 50 staff and provides a broad range of commercial services to around a thousand clients.
Syd was passionate about the capacity of education to empower individuals and it was while he was undertaking postgraduate studies as a mature-age student in the late 1990s that he first met Perth Wildcats star Ricky Grace who was in one of his lectures. By that time Ricky had already been working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and over the next few years he developed the concept of the Girls Academy program. Syd and his son Simon played crucial roles in establishing Role Models and Leaders Australia and supporting Ricky’s vision. They both joined Ricky as founding Board members.
Syd continued to make a significant contribution to the charity over the next 15 years until he resigned due to illness in October 2019. Syd will be deeply missed but his legacy will live on through his family, his successful business and the work of Girls Academy.