Leadership is Language – meet rural women Rebel Black and Kirsty White

At Picture You in Agriculture we are big fans of project based learning and are putting it into action. We work with young people in agriculture and young people in schools supporting them to be partners in their learning through co-leading change with their peers, leaders, students  and teachers. We are supporting them to have the capacity to set goals, reflect and act responsibly to effect change. We are supporting them to take others on a journey that sees leadership is about:

  • acting rather than being acted upon;
  • shaping rather than being shaped; and
  • making responsible decisions and choices rather than accepting those determined by others.

We are piloting this model within our organisation through the Youth Voices Leadership team 

As an example of the creativity and leadership within the team the Youth Voices Leadership Team  sub commitee the Innovation Hub kick-started a new initiative in June with the launch of Leadership is Language

 

In the Leadership is Language webinar series our Young Farming Champions have the opportunity to host a webinar and interview some of the world’s foremost thought leaders on communicating how we can show leadership by the language and communication styles we use. 

Our guests challenge us to change the way we talk as leaders by learning the language of creativity, collaboration and commitment. They  illustrate the powerful intersection of communication and leadership and offer simple steps to transform your thinking, your influence and the lives in your span of care and how we can reinvent our leadership style to meet the evolving demands of the new marketplace.

We are not promising an easier, shorter path to leadership, but we are offering one that leaves everyone feeling capable and confident, empowered, and eager to dive back in the next day

The series opened with YFC Lucy Collingridge sitting down for a chat with Dr Nicole McDonald, a social science researcher using vocational psychology to investigate the future workforce requirements of the Australian cotton industry. Lucy and Nicole discussed the difference between “we need to talk” and “let’s talk”. If you missed out on the live show, you can view a recording here. Nicole followed her presentation with an online webinar for YFCs asking them to take a reflective look at their communication, through both their own lens and through the lens of their audience.

Nicole invited the interactive webinar participants to:

Next up in the series will be Kirsty White interviewing Rebel Black .

Rebel is a successful global business woman operating from her home at Lightning Ridge in Outback NSW. In 2015 she founded THE Rural Woman, an online community for rural woman around the world encouraging them to #thrive, #heal and #evolve. Rebel describes herself as a human agronomist and syntropic entrepreneur.

Kirsty lives and works on a family farm called Bald Blair on the Northern Tablelands of NSW with her husband Sam and two sons Abbott and Arthur. Together their vision is to build a happy and healthy family business, which includes running an angus stud, Kelly’s Cottage farm stay and farm tours.  Kirsty regularly participates in the Ladies in Livestock program run by the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and is a lifetime member of THE Rural Woman. You can read more about Kirsty in this blog post from Lynne Strong.

During their discussion for Leadership is Language Kirsty and Rebel will share insights such as:

  • lifelong learning and leadership development and prioritising your personal growth
  • take every opportunity, even when it scares you
  • great leadership is not a position or authority, it is a mindset
  • your work matters and it has a ripple effect, so nurture and grow yourself as a matter of priority
  • ‘you don’t even have to climb, you just have to stop holding onto the bottom’ A. Hicks – you will lead if you learn how to be fully realised as you

and as a speical treat we are shaing Kirsty and Rebel’s interview with you

Excting times for our Young Farming Champions – what a wonderful opportunity to see and hear from thought leaders, coaches and mentors in our not-to-missed Leadership is Language series. and

Speaking of  inspirational people catch this episode of Wellbeing Wednesday with host Cynthia Mahoney and Louise Thomson and special guest our very own Dr  Jo Newton OAM.

Kylie Schuller – the journey so far which includes a move to America in March 2020!!!!

Kylie Schuller Photo Source RAS of NSW

March 2020. Coronavirus is reaching its tentacles around the world, spreading fear and causing unrest and uncertainty. Does this sound like the time to take on a new role in North America? Heck, yeah! Give Kylie Schuller a challenge and sit back and watch her meet it.

Kylie Schuller is one of our earliest Young Farming Champions, having joined the program seven years ago in 2013.

“The Young Farming Champions program taught me so much about how to communicate and get your messaging right, skills which apply every day in my job,” she says.

With her recent move to Atlanta, Georgia, USA we thought it was an ideal time to catch up with her journey so far and find out what advice she can give to current YFC and the new cohort embarking on the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Kylie grew up on a beef feedlot in rural NSW and her family established a Shorthorn stud in 2001 but she is the first to admit she was not enamoured with agriculture growing up.

“I won’t lie to you, when I was younger living on the farm wasn’t something I was proud of or even enjoyed,” she says. “There was lots of hard work to be done and it seemed to always need to be done when it was 40°C or bucketing down raining. I wish that I could tell you that there was a moment that changed my life, that made me realise how important beef production and agriculture is to our society, but there wasn’t! Somewhere between being obsessed with “Home and Away” in year 7 and travelling across America looking at cows on my “gap” year I found a passion for beef production, second to none!”

Kylie completed a Bachelor of Livestock Science at UNE in 2011 and soon after took a role with domestic foodservice supplier Andrews Meat Industries. Her role was initially involved with administration and support and over the years has grown as the company, too, has grown and expanded. She has been exposed to all aspects of premium beef brand supply chain management and in March accepted a new position with Andrews Meat Industries as their North American Sales Manager. Her role entails introducing high quality Australian Wagyu beef to distributors, chefs and restaurants.


Jacinta Geddes and Kylie Schuller (right) celebrate Andrew Meats winning the Dick Stone Perpetual Trophy in 2014. Photo source . Listen to Kylie on the Country Hour  here 

In today’s world young people may move through many different organisations in the quest for the perfect job but Kylie has remained loyal to the one company and is now seeing a myriad of benefits from this association. What are her key messages?

  • Invest in Lifelong Learning: “I find that the more I learn, the more I have to learn. I think this is important to consider in every aspect of life, but particularly when it comes to profession. You will always benefit from a new perspective.”
  • Give Back: “If there are organisations and opportunities from who you have benefited then a great way to support them is by giving back. I am very grateful for many of the opportunities I have been given over the years and aim to support those organisations with my time and energy wherever possible to ensure that the next generation gets the same opportunities.”
  • Be Customer Focussed: “For me relationships are everything. I find that the best way to achieve anything is through long term engagement and genuinely caring about the different stakeholders of your operation. In sales it’s really important to build that connection, but I think it is just as important to have those relationships across the entire supply chain so we are all engaged and working for the common goal.”
  • Value Networks: “The world becomes a much smaller place when we connect with people. Whether that be in person or online, I think, especially now, people want genuine connection and building up our networks and how we engage with them is a big benefit to us all.”
  • Loyalty: “Some people are so eager to climb the ladder, get the next achievement or accomplishment that they end up jumping around between positions and never really dig into a role. I think if you find a company that fits your mission and values, then you should stick it out, because yes opportunities take time to develop, but there is a lot to be learned in the process.”

Kylie recently shared these key messages and learnings with the UNE Agriculture Industry Connect podcast series, and spoke about the challenges of being in America one week before lockdown.

Her role with Andrews Meat also involves the screening of applicants for some roles and she looks for people with multiple interests and dedication to the agricultural industry, whether that be by attending conferences, listening to webinars or participating in programs such as Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders.

“There is so much information available that there is no excuse not to be engaging with industry and we want someone who goes beyond clocking in and clocking out.”

With that in mind what advice would Kylie give to our new cohort of Young Farming Champions?

“Be open minded – taking in the experiences and perspective of the people around you is so valuable and an incredible opportunity,” she says. “And use it – actually get out there and do the work. It’s all well and good to talk about something in the room, but it is getting out and doing the work of connecting with people about their food and fibre that is the most rewarding.”

 

 

 

Celebrating Partnerships with Jane Lloyd-Jones from Hunter Local Land Services

At Picture You in Agriculture we identify emerging leaders in the agriculture sector who want to share their story and pride in the sector they have chosen for their career journey far and wide.

We provide them access to a cohort of experts who give them  communication and presentation skills training and consumer insights

The key to all training success is applying what you learn.  What a powerful experience it is for them to facilitate our  inschool programs The  Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas that have collectively reached 400 schools and 300,000 students in the last 10 years.

This innovative and impactful program model also surrounds them and the teachers and students with intergenerational community expertise

During the last few years (and continuing during 2020’s challenging times) the Kreative Koalas program has been blessed to work with organisations who support each other and the people we work with to be part of life changing opportunities for their communities. An organisation that shares this ethos is Hunter Local Land Services and driving our partnerhsip with them and the Kreative Koalas schools is school engagement officer Jane Lloyd-Jones. Jane has made many visits to schools, coordinated excursions and starred in videos and today we sit down to discover how Jane came into this role.

Jane Lloyd Jones with students at Kreative Koalas Awards

“My appreciation for the environment started at a young age when I spent many weekends going for walks through the local bushland with my family. This love for the environment led me to complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in Resource and Environmental Management at Macquarie University.”  Jane says.

Upon graduating Jane went to work with Sydney Water where she was involved with the preparation of Reviews of Environmental Factors and Environmental Impact Statements. It was also where she got her first taste for working with schools when she developed presentations for young students about saving water.

“This was really my favourite part of my role, as I was out in the community interacting with school students and I really felt like I was making a difference,” she says.

With a fire for working with young people and the community lit, Jane moved onto Gosford Council. In this role she was responsible for the writing and implementation of the Stormwater Quality Management Plan.

“Implementation of this plan included many very successful community education and engagement programs, including starting up the Waterwatch program in the Gosford area,” she says.

Jane continued to build and consolidate her experience in community engagement when she worked as Coastcare Facilitator for the Mid North Region, assisting local groups to gain grant funding for coastal environmental rehabilitation projects. Then is was time to start a family.

At PYiA we realise and value the importance of finding a work-life balance. It is not all about career but being able to be flexible in our professional lives. As YFC Bessie Thomas once told us: “I can have it all but I might not be able to have it all at the same time!” So, Jane took a break to raise her children and when the time was right she returned to the career pathway she had cultivated.

“I decided to return to work and I started the part time role of Waterwatch assistant at the Hunter Central Rivers CMA,” she says. “This role has developed and broadened over the years, particularly when the CMA became LLS and our business outcomes broadened.

As school engagement officer, I really enjoy interacting with and helping school students to learn in a fun, engaging way.  I enjoy the close working relationship I have with a number of our partners, including local and state government, Landcare and not for profit organisations such as Picture You in Agriculture.”

In 2019 Jane and Hunter Local Land Services worked closely with Medowie Christian School in Kreative Koalas to develop a project around clean water and sanitation. This led the school to being named Grand Champion Community Project for Change. Catch a video of Jane and Medowie teacher Martha Atkins here.

It is partnerships like this that make PYiA’s in-school programs so successful and ensures that vital community good messages are shared far and wide

We  look forward to many more years working with Jane and Hunter Local Land Services to build resilient communities in productive and healthy landscapes..

 

 

 

Investing in young people has an extraordinary multiplier effect – Welcome to Yacker

As the founder of Picture You in Agriculture with a life long goal of seeing young people thrive in business and life this week has been highly rewarding.

Young people can find themselves in life threatening situations overnight. Having the strength, courage and confidence to move forward optimistically is more probable if they are surrounded by a tribe of people lifting them up.  Kudos to Dr Jo Newton OAM who has faced so much and given so much back in her short life.

Another Young Farming Champion dedicated to supporting people in rural and regional Australia to thrive is our YVLT Chair Emma Ayliffe who has an extraodinary capacity to identify and fill unmet needs for farmers everywhere. Today we are excited to share with you Emma’s latest offering. Join us in downloading YACKER  a new app created by Emma and her business partner Heath McWhirter to encourages conversations, not keyboard wars

The concept allows farmers to bypass the often impersonal world of social media and texting and connect to others in the sector via the good old fashioned telephone – at a time that suits them.

Developed by Emma and Heath from Summit Ag in Griffith, Yacker is an app that allows farmers to utilise their free time, ask questions and chat to those in the know.

“There’s nothing worse than calling people at inconvenient times and playing phone tag, or relying on texting, which doesn’t always suit farmers.

We know often one of our clients has knowledge that would benefit another, and we’ve developed Yacker to establish that connection. With Yacker you can communicate over the phone to people that you know in your network or search the Yacker community for a topic of discussion and reach out to someone new.”
Joining Yacker is as simple as downloading the free app onto either an iPhone or Android phone, setting up a profile, asking a question and setting your status as “Free for a Yack.” Time spent in the tractor or on the road can now be spent catching up and connecting with your agricultural community, getting answers to your questions or even organising a farm tour as part of your next holiday.
Yacker is all about identifying when people have free time for a chat, It uses visual cues such as online functionality to indicate when people have time for a meaningful conversation, a flagging function that allows you to be notified when people come online, and a discussion point you can use to generate conversation with other users you may not know so well or ask a question of your wider community.” says Emma and Heath


Yacker was released on June 8 and is attracting a growing number of subscribers including Scott Leslie, a grazier and farmer from “Gulthul Station” at Euston NSW. “Yacker allows me to connect with people when I know they are free to talk. I’m often driving long distances and it’s good to be able to talk with others doing the same,” he says. “Yacker has also helped me connect with another grower in Carrathool and discuss my question of how to bury barely and store it in the ground for tight seasons.”

Download Yacker today for free and start creating conversations.

The Picture You in Agriculture team want to thank Yacker’s supporting partners for investing in capacity building for people in rural and regional Australia.

Contact: Summit Ag

Emma Ayliffe M: 0458 307 347  E: emma.ayliffe@summitag.com.au

Heath McWhirter M: 0428 386 393 E: heath.mcwhirter@summitag.com.au

Yacker website

 

Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield show the value of Place-Based Leadership skills for rural Australia

As part of our series showcasing champions in government, not for profits and the private sector doing great stuff we will be sharing stories about rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models.

The research shows for young people in rural, regional and remote Australia to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”.

Today we are showcasing two of our Young Farming Champions who epitomise place based leadership at the highest level and are using what they have learnt on their journey to multiply other leaders in their region.

First Hilux out of the shed is Emma Ayliffe followed by  cropping farmer Marlee Langfield is spending plenty of time on her tractor in the next few weeks.

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) believes in giving voice to young leaders in rural Australia. It does this by equipping them with skills to communicate their stories, in positive terms, to varied audiences, and by providing a safe place to practice what they have learnt. We call these people our Young Farming Champions (YFC).

YFC understand that in order to create stronger communities in regional, rural and remote Australia place-based leadership is key. Leaders working in their own regions, with their own people, are highly motivated with a strong desire to capitalise on future economic opportunities.

Here we shine the spotlight on two of our successful place-based leaders: Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield.

As often the youngest person sitting on boards and committees Emma has come a long way from her childhood tailing wild merinos on stations west of Port Augusta. Today she is a respected agronomist, business owner, farmer and community leader.

Emma Ayliffe cofounder of Summit Ag, entrepreneur and board member

Emma joined the YFC program in 2015 and has been an active member ever since, rising to the position of Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (for YFC alumni) in 2020. In these short five years Emma began her working life as a cotton agronomist on the lakebeds south of Menindee, was head-hunted by Elders to fill a combined research, development and agronomy role, and in 2018 co-founded agricultural consultancy Summit Ag.

Along the way she has been a committed community and industry leader with roles including:

Emma has presented at various industry events including the 2019 Summer Grains Conference and the 2019 PYiA Professional Learning Weekend.

In 2020 Emma was named a finalist in the NSW Young Achiever Awards in recognition of her leadership in rural Australia.

Marlee Langfield Photographer Catherine Forge Source Museum of Victoria

As CEO of Cowra agribusiness Wallaringa Trust, farmer and grain grower Marlee is a steward of the land and a leader in her community. Her family have been farming around Cowra for five generations, three of which have been on Wallaringa.

Marlee joined the YFC program in 2016 and in 2020 took on the position of Social Media Co-coordinator, a natural progression for a young woman already holding leadership positions within her local community including:

In 2019 Marlee’s farming journey was highlighted in the Invisible Farmer project and in 2020 she is furthering her leadership journey as part of the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.

“I believe communities need creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. Transition of leadership from one generation to another is inevitable and if we, as young people, want to breathe life into our communities and see them continue from strength to strength we need to come to the table and be active participants.”

Marlee and Emma both believe one of the important facets of leadership is mentorship of the next generation, and in this they welcome Jess Fearnley to the role of Cultivate Intern with the Youth Voices Leadership Team..

Jess Fearnley Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participant and Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee member

Jess is one of our current participants in the Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program  with expressions of interest now open. Successful applicants will receive a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation and graduate as Young Farming Champions.

Jess, who began her YFC journey in 2019, is already displaying leadership potential being on the Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee. PYiA looks forward to giving voice to yet another place-based leader in rural Australia.

 

 

Anika Molesworth says COVID-19 is a big challenge for farmers, but it also encourages us to share ideas and work together for a better and more resilient future.

sdr

Is distance a barrier to #ClimateActionNow Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth??

No way!!!!

If you think a global pandemic is too overwhelming to do something – Anika says think again!

Anika zoomed from her farm in Broken Hill to Pakistan last night, on the topic “How COVID-19 is impacting agriculture and rural communities, and what needs to be done.”

In Anika’s own words ……

To a large and diverse virtual classroom, we spoke about how COVID-19 impacts on both the lives and livelihoods of farmers and people living in rural communities.

My key points were:
• COVID-19 poses a particularly serious threat to farmers who live remotely and do not have easy access to doctors and healthcare.
• The disease is a vulnerability amplifier for poorer farmers, older farmers, those who have limited labour resources and few market options.
• Disruption to food availability and affordability can lead to reduced food options in some regions and therefore poorer diets and malnutrition.
• Transport restrictions can impede access to markets, and challenges in logistics can be particularly obstructive for fresh food that is highly perishable, which may result in increased food loss and waste.
• Increased costs of farm inputs, like livestock feed, fertiliser, water, contract labour and machinery, may result in lower net returns.
• The reduction in tourism to rural areas has flow-on financial impacts to local farmers and local businesses (e.g. restaurants, shops, hotels).
• Improving hygiene and working conditions for farmers is critical to prevent the spread of disease, as well as improving information channels and access to healthcare.
• Improving the standard of living for farmers through education, income diversification, market access, food transport and storage practices, will help them to become more resilient to future crises.

There was great conversation with lots of excellent questions and comments.

I learnt a lot and thank Humera Hania for inviting me to virtually visit Pakistan to be part of this event.

COVID-19 is a big challenge for farmers, but it also encourages us to share ideas and work together for a better and more resilient future.

Visit Anika’s website to learn more how she is putting her passion project into action

Visit her Youtube Channel here 

Young Farming Champion Jessica Fearnley is using her communication skills to kickstart her leadership journey

At Picture You in Agriculture we design our learning and development programs to support Young Farming Champions on their emerging leadership journey. We partner with their workplaces to equip, empower, position and mentor them.

Young Farming Champion Jessica Fearnley who works in horticulture as a development officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries 

In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we look at how the power of this model has enabled Jessica Fearnley to hone communication skills learnt in the first year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program by sharing her EvokeAg experience on the NSW DPI twitter account.

Jessica who works in horticulture as a development officer, joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2019, sponsored by her employer NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“Horticulture is one of highest value industries in the agricultural sector and people interact with it every day. There is a story to be told about the people and the places behind the horticultural industry and the people who consume Australia’s diverse array of fruit and vegetables in terms of how the food is grown, produced and how it ends up on supermarket shelves. I wanted to continue my career development by telling these stories and the Young Farming Champions Program seemed to offer the best way of doing this.” Jessica Fearnley

Through the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program Jessica learnt skills in media and communication.

“My presentation skills improved dramatically after the workshop and I now apply this in my day to day work. I am required to present at field days and conferences and I now know I can get up and entertain people, whilst delivering my message and ensuring it resonates.” Jessica Fearnley

The workshops also taught her the importance of delivering messages simply and this skill become particularly relevant when Jessica was selected by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology (CEAT) as one of six emerging leaders to attend the 2020 EvokeAg event held in Melbourne in February, and her employer asked her to tweet about the event.

“I was given the very exciting opportunity to take over the NSW DPI twitter account to advocate my experience at the EvokeAg conference. This stretched me outside my comfort zone and although I was nervous I felt honoured my employers trusted and supported me to amplify the voices I found interesting on the day and advocate their message to 8726 followers.”

“It was a great chance to put into practice the concise communication skills I learnt at the YFC workshops and deliver my messages within 280 characters. As a recent graduate I was elated to have the power for my messages and thoughts to reach so many people. I am very supported by my team around me at DPI and I feel they are equipping me to develop my leadership skills as well as help others through the ability to practise and fine tune what I learnt in the YFC program.”

Picture You in Agriculture knows knowledge itself is not the key to success. Success comes when this knowledge is applied and when young people are given a road map for their leadership journey. When we trust people with autonomy and authority we give them an opportunity to prove themselves. When people are given autonomy over their work they feel connected to a purpose and part of a team that cares for them.  With support from NSW DPI and her new Young Farming Champions family, Jessica is taking the first steps on what we hope will be a long and rewarding journey.

Thanks Jess for sharing your lessons learnt and mega shoutout to our supporting partners empowering young people to solve tomorrows problems today

Young Farming Champions Emily May and Rebecca George share their lessons learnt from their Year One journey

Following on from our chat to new AWI YFCs Matt Cumming and Tom Squires we now find out what the new UNE YFCs thought of their first year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Rebecca George and Emily May are both studying at the University of New England and have completed the first year of the YFC program where, like Matt and Tom, they gained media training and skills in how to present their story and networked with other young people in agriculture.

“The opportunity to do personal and professional development and to meet other passionate aggies was my motivation for joining the program. I  was keen to learn how to spread positive messages about agriculture in everyday life.” says Rebecca

For Rebecca and Emily, the power of presenting a positive story was a revelation as they became aware of the connotations of reinforcing negative stereotypes.

 “I learnt the power of having a positive vision to inspire people to join a common cause. The personal story I have chosen to share with school students has changed and I now place a greater focus on sharing more of the positive impacts of my journey.

I live and work on farms in Western Sydney and urban expansion is replacing our fertile farmland all around me. I want everyone to be as passionate as me about getting the right balance between land for housing people in Western Sydney and land for feeding people.

Did you know the vegetables produced in the Sydney region account for 22% of all vegetables supplied in NSW? At times of the year, the Sydney region is the source of 90% of NSW’s vegetable products.

Not only this, agriculture on the edge of Sydney provides ecological benefits that are known as ‘ecosystem services’ – the types of values that we enjoy from having green space and biodiversity. Other examples include improved water and waste management, reduced urban heat effects and improved air quality, reduced carbon emissions, conservation of biodiversity, and improved nutrient recycling. Farms also provide mutually beneficial partnerships for job creation and renewable energy generation” says Emily

Emily and Rebecca’s first Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders workshop coincided with a professional development day for teachers delivering Kreative Koalas into primary schools and the chance to network was another highlight for the girls.

“My major highlight from the program was the formal dinner we attended during the first workshop. During this night we met people from various backgrounds including new and alumni YFC, teachers and our YFC ‘tutors’. This was a great experience as it made me come out of my shell and talk to people.”

“The other YFC motivate and inspire me so much. This was my highlight of the program. It is a very special thing to have a large group of people who are all passionate and incredibly knowledgeable to work with, and I learnt something every time I spoke with a YFC.”

Recognising the power of learning from others and having opportunities to practice what you learn are pivotal to success the Picture You in Agriculture team work closely with our supporting partners to ensure success.Developing their personal stories, learning about the media and networking with others has led Rebecca and Emily to become more involved with ag-week at UNE and to spread their agricultural knowledge beyond their own circle of friends and family.

For Emily this has led to an association with the Hawkesbury Harvest.

“Through connections made with YFC I was put in contact with the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail who offered me the opportunity to be one of their voices for their segment on ABC radio. I have applied what I have learnt by reducing the amount of jargon I use in my speech and ensuring the message I portray is of positive nature. Making sure to not reinforce the negative has also been important in developing my messages to be aired on ABC.” Emily May

Listen to Emily on the ABC on the radio

With both girls keen for their second year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program they realise the importance of being proactive in their training.

“I think this program is unique in that the more you put in the more you get out. I am now confident I can use my voice to advocate for agricultural change.” Rebecca George

Shoutout to our supporting partners who are empowering young people to collaborate and solve tomorrow’s problems today

 

Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Roundup

At Picture You in Agriculture we love the quote

‘There is no such thing as failure.

You either succeed or learn!’

and we love to share what we learn from our Young Farming Champions.

In recent years the initial training of the Young Farming Champions (YFC) has been formalised in a two-year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we talk to the Australian Wool Innovation sponsored YFC who completed the first half of the program in 2019 – Matt Cumming and Tom Squires.

In their first year Matt and Tom, both shearers, undertook media training, immersed themselves in the networking resources of other YFC and learnt how to tell their own stories to the world to promote shearing as an exciting career choice.

“I’ve worked in shearing sheds, on and off, for 6 years. As shearers we strive to do the best job we possibly can, and we do so in a professional manner. It’s an industry that cares about people and cares about sheep and I wanted the opportunity to share that far and I wide.  I wanted to tell people about my life growing up on the land and how great it can be. I thought Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders would be a great stepping-stone in allowing me to do that.” Tom Squires

A career in wool lets Tom lead the lifestyle he has always dreamed of 

During the workshops Tom and Matt were given an insight to the workings of the media and got the chance to be interviewed by a journalist.

“One of the key skills I learnt from the training was how the media can help you get your message across and how it can get it all wrong if you don’t have the right facts and or haven’t done your research to ensure they receive the correct message,” Matt says.

For Matt shearing is a lifestyle that allows his family to work and play together 

“Being able to talk to leading journalist in the media industry was brilliant,” Tom says. “It challenged me to think from another angle. For example, the one-on-one interview I had with the journalist made me realise journalists wouldn’t run a story unless they know it has an interesting angle for their readers. Now, it may seem common sense, but I never sat back and thought about it. From there it made me think about what is it I really care about and how can I communicate that in a way that will inspire other young people to join me in a career in wool”

Tom and Matt also learnt that to able to effectively talk to the media required the polishing of their own stories; to reduce the use of jargon, to talk in descriptive and personal tones, to use real-life examples rather than facts and to tailor their presentations to a particular audience.

“The program has given me an insight into better crafting a presentation for an audience beyond the agricultural industry,” Tom says. “After presenting, the feedback given was focused around me making sure what was on the slides was able to be read and understood by anyone. This prompted me to shape my presentation more around myself and my own life experiences, rather than telling facts and figures about the industry.”

Adding to this story-telling skillset, Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders also delivered training in the often daunting arena of public speaking and introduced Matt and Tom to a network of young agricultural professionals who can support and encourage them in their own careers.

And so, one year into the program, what have been the highlights for these new YFC and how are they employing their new skills? For Tom, seeing other young leaders striving for success in agriculture has become a great driver.

“In some ways its like shearing,” he says. “In the shearing sheds you always want to be as good as the best shearer (referred to as the gun) in team. You look at the gun and think if he can do it why can’t I? This program was the same for me. I looked around at what the others had achieved and what they had done for the industry and it made me want to do the same.”

For Matt the program is providing continuation of his leadership journey.

“I now have the confidence to want to change and to make a difference within my industry by telling my story and achieving my goals,” he says. “The Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program has taught me that I can lead the way in my industry, and it has given me skills to develop myself and help others to achieve any outcome we are striving for.”

 

 

Lessons Learnt – When you put your hand up to “have a go”, roll your sleeeves up, take some risks, you’ll wake up one day and realise you’re living your dream job

“HAVING A GO” LEADS TO POSITION OF GENERAL MANAGER

In recent weeks in our Lessons Learnt series we have heard from Kate McBride and Ben Barlow who both sit on the board of the Western Division of Local Land Services. Staying in that space we now chat to their general manager Erlina Compton, who, at 38, decided to “have a go” and take on the position in an acting role. That, in turn, led to a permanent position and her trajectory, according to Ben, as one of the best leaders he has met.

Meet Erlina Compton

If a job advertisement for General Manager of the Western Division of Local Land Services was written it would probably ask for someone with a passion for the people and places of western NSW; and for someone with a strong background in landholder liaison, strategic planning and environmental commitment. It would probably ask specifically for Erlina Compton.

Erlina grew up around Narrabri in northern NSW, worked with Landcare in Victoria, completed a PhD looking at landholders and decision making, and worked with the NSW Catchment Management Authority. “One of my long-term goals was to work in western NSW and when Local Land Services formed I moved across from the CMA and took up a position as Strategic Planning Manager in Dubbo,” she says.

However, her career was soon to take a different turn. “The General Manager resigned after twelve months,” Erlina says, “and, out of the blue, I was asked to act in the role while they recruited a new one. It was supposed to be for eight weeks and I thought ‘I don’t think I can do this but I’ll have a go and do it for this short amount of time’.”

Complicating Erlina’s new appointment was the fact a major organisational re-structure had just been announced but this gave her a unique opportunity to not only help implement it but suggest changes.

“Ben and other board members have been brilliant to work with,” she says. “They are all landholders – practical people quite free from government processes – who provide real-life guidance and support, and so I started working with the staff and the board to figure out where we would go.”

Erlina found she enjoyed the work and when the permanent position was finally advertised, two years later, she had no hesitation in putting up her hand.

In her role as General Manager Erlina has faced the challenges of working with a diverse group of people, with a limited budget over an enormous area. But with the challenges comes the satisfaction of seeing Local Land Services evolve into a successful model bearing fruit for her landholders.

Western Local Land Services Gilgunnia Cluster Fence open day.

Part of Erlina’s success comes from her relationship with the people she works with.

“Being a good leader is about supporting and growing the people around you,” she says. “It’s about bringing the people, whether it’s your staff or the board or the organisation generally, on the journey.”

Erlina is also inspired by young staff working with her and believes “having a go” is an important trait.

“There are so many young leaders who come forward with fantastic ideas and think about doing things so differently than I would,” she says. “It’s about being brave enough to speak up and share the ideas no matter how different they are.”

From Kate McBride, who joined the LLS board at 18, to Erlina Compton who was General Manager at 38, to Ben Barlow who uses his wealth of experience to nurture and guide, leadership takes many forms, but perhaps the most telling characteristic is the confidence to say yes to challenges and opportunities as they are presented.