The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
Cathy McGowan AO entered federal parliament on the urgings of young people from her Victorian electorate of Indi, and in doing so brokered a new way of community politics. Her memoirs were recently published in Cathy Goes to Canberra, an inspiring tale of the power of grass-roots activism.
In 2008 Cathy attended Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit, where four keynote speakers, under 25 years of age, talked about their vision for Australia.
“I was stunned by their ability, by their level of articulation, by their creativity, by their vision for Australia and the thought that they’d given to their presentations. My biggest take away from that summit was that older people, such as myself and most of the attendees, in fact needed to pay attention to young people in our community. They knew things that we baby boomers did not. They certainly were better educated and had new approaches that could find the answers to the problems we were facing….. I made a firm commitment to pay attention and get to know the young people, not only in my life, but in my work,” Cathy says in her book.
In keeping with her commitment to young people as Australia’s future Cathy jumped at the chance to share her wisdom with our Young Farming Champions. She spoke openly to the cohort via a zoom conference, hosted by Lynne Strong in conjunction with a Youth Voices Leadership Team panel of Dione Howard, Dr Jo Newton OAM and Tayla Field.
Cathy covered many aspects of the leadership pathway such as creating time budgets, life-long learning, the importance of networking, the power of finding, and supporting, your tribe and of having confidence in the skill set you have already developed. If these things sound familiar it is because Cathy’s wisdom mirrors closely the visions and ideals of Picture You in Agriculture.
Cathy has a passion to liberate people to be leaders and empower them to grow in confidence. She believes we have enough leadership training programs in agriculture and what we now need is more people “doing” leadership. And she believes the YFC have the skills and salutes them for Turning Up, Speaking Up and Stepping Up to develop their courage muscle by practicing the knowledge and skills they learn in training by being the face of our in-school programs The Archibull Prize ( secondary schools) and Kreative Koalas ( primary schools )” she says.
The workshop was well received by the audience:
“I appreciate Cathy’s easy going, positive nature and her efforts to continually develop her skills. I enjoyed learning it’s okay not to know the exact right path to take, to step up to challenges, build resilience and have a go.” Steph Tabone
“Time budgeting is such an effective tool, particularly making time for exercise and other important tasks that may not be labelled as “work” but are essential in creating a successful, balanced life.” Elizabeth Argue
“I appreciate that Cathy has put herself out there to achieve all that she has so far, and from the workshop I realise we need to do the work and find a team to do the work with.” Dione Howard
“I appreciate the openness with which Cathy has shared her story so that we can all learn from her experience. I found Cathy sharing her story of leadership versus stepping up as a visible leader particularly helpful.” Jo Newton
The Zoom recording of Cathy’s three tips for being an effective leaders can be found here
The zoom recording of the panel session will be loaded here shortly. Watch this space
Shoutout out to Young Farming Champion Marlee Langfield for the awesome image
As highlighted by the Chair of our youth leadership team, Dr Jo Newton in her opionion piece in the Stock and Land, agriculture has a lot of great immersion workshop leadership training opportunities. The question Picture You in Agriculture is seeking the answer to is – Are we making the same mistake as the rest of the world and not giving young people the opportunity to practice what they are learning.
The problem is, while the science of management has advanced significantly in the past three decades, the practice of management hasn’t. The new purpose of business — and the future of work — has to include maximizing human potential. Source
The management team at Western Local Land Services is certainly doing everything it can to empower emerging leaders through action learning
Chair of Western Local Land Services Ben Barlow with GM Erlina Compton – source
In the last episode of our Lessons Learnt series we met 21 year-old Kate McBride and learnt of her leadership journey. As the youngest board member of Local Land Services she credited Ben Barlow, chair of the Western Division, as an important role model and mentor. Today we chat to Ben to discover his take on leadership, diversity on boards and his advice to young people looking to make an impression on the world.
With experience in agriculture, both on the ground and in corporate and financial circles, Ben Barlow was an obvious choice as an inaugural board member when Local Land Services formed in 2014. The new organisation represented an amalgamation of the Livestock Pest and Health Authority (LHPA), Catchment Management Authorities (CMA) and extension sections of the NSW Department of Agriculture.
“I thought it would be a bit of a challenge to bring them all together.” Ben says of his reasons for joining the Western Division board. “Whenever you bring cultures together you can’t expect them to work well straight up; you’ve got to bring the best out of them all across the organisation and you set the tone from the top – from the chair and the board down – and through good counselling and quality discussion time with the general manager who is running it day to day.”
“When we started I think the western board had the lowest customer engagement and staff satisfaction scores of the group and now they are the highest in the state,” Ben says of the transformation that has occurred in the five and a half years since inception.
This transformation has been a product of clear direction and purpose from the beginning, with the Western Division having a strategic plan in place before one was finalised for LLS as a whole.
“Our principles are customers and stakeholders, people, productivity and natural resources of the region,” Ben says. “If a policy enhances these then good; if not we don’t do it. It’s pretty basic. This makes it one of the few agri-political boards I have been in that does not have any politics at all. It just focusses on the job at hand.”
Ben has held the position of chair for three years and believes it is not the role of the chair to have opinions or objectives, but rather to get the best out of the people sitting around the board table, and to facilitate the best questions so management can form direction. To this end he is a strong advocate of a diverse board.
“Over time we’ve moved the composition of the board from mainly older men and a couple of women to a fifty/fifty gender ratio with an average age of about 40, with the youngest being 21,” he says.
“We’ve moved to a generational change to create diversity, pass to the next generation and to maintain good corporate leadership and governance.”
But gender is not the only measure of a diverse board and the Western Division has a stated objective to encourage traditional owners to apply for a seat on the board in the next elections.
“I think that will be a significant step forward. A board is about asking the right questions and you therefore need the right people represented around the table.”
As Kate McBride can attest, joining a board when young and female can be overwhelming and although LLS offers professional development opportunities such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors course, it is personal guidance and mentorship that can prove most valuable.
“I said to Kate when she was appointed that this was going to be a bit daunting but I would stand behind her all the way,” Ben says, “and it hasn’t been just me but the whole board who have nurtured her and helped her grow. It’s about relationships: Kate may have valued my support and advice on lots of levels but I have also really valued that interaction. It has helped me grow.”
“I enjoy seeing people grow and develop and try, and make mistakes and reach out and try again and get over it. If you do nothing you’re going to learn nothing. If you do something and make a mistake you learn. You’ve got to do something to learn. I’ve had some wonderful leaders and I’ve had some awful ones and I’ve learnt a lot from the best and I’ve learnt a lot from the worst and I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself.”
With his experience and life-learning Ben has this advice for people looking to make an impression on the world:
Listen carefully and watch; take the best of things you see and ditch the worst of things you see, and be very distinctive about that choice,
Don’t put on social media what you don’t want to see on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald; where there is mystique there is margin – it gives you some latitude and leverage in life,
Find someone who might be able to help you and ask them to help; and they will usually say yes
By legislation, Ben’s term as chair and board member of the LLS Western Division will come to an end in 2020, but Ben believes in the power of positive transition and will step down from these roles this year, but don’t call it succession.
“I think succession implies the end of something whereas I think it is about progression where the work you’ve done has got you to a point and the next part of the journey for the enterprise is a new leader who takes that culture further and does something with it. We’re here for many generations and if we do it well handing over the reins will be a progressive thing.”
Partnering with Country to Canberra to promote their Power Trip Competition is a natural alignment of values for the Youth Voices Leadership Team. As an all female team, many of whom grew up in regional and rural areas we know how important it is for young females to have access to opportunities like those offered by Country to Canberra. The Power Trip Competition is an exciting opportunity for young females to gain confidence and skills and be inspired by female leaders in Canberra. If you know female students who are in Years 10-12 (or are one yourself!) please consider applying.
Jo Newton Youth Voices Leadership Chair
Country to Canberra has officially launched their inspiring, 5th annual Leadership Competition for young rural women.
At least 15 students will win an all-expenses paid ‘Power Trip’ to Canberra to meet incredible female CEOs and politicians, undertake leadership and public speaking training, tour parliament, connect with other young trailblazers and much more! To enter, girls just need to create a short video or written entry on the 2018 competition question.
“Life is a roadtrip with twists and turns. How can we support one another to navigate the road to gender equality?”
The competition opens on 24 July 2018 and closes at 11.00 pm AEST 1 September 2018.
Who can enter?
To win the Power Trip prize, entrants must be:
Female/female identifying students who are attending school in grades 10, 11 or 12 in 2018.
Be 15 years of age by 20 November 2018.
Attend a school that is located at least 50 kms away from a town with a population 80,000 persons or more.
For example, if you attend school in Alice Springs, NT (population 28,000) you’re eligible to enter. If you attend school 30 kilometres out of Newcastle, NSW (population 300,000) then you are ineligible to enter.
Please share far and wide through your networks and invite young women to apply using this link: https://bit.ly/2tdQj3v.
This weeks top stories from our Young Farming Champions across the country
In the Field
Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain currently getting the Cow Girl Experience in Canada will take up her new role as a Production Analyst with Paraway Pastoral in their head office in Orange in August.
Beef Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes is hosting his Archibull Prize School The Lakes College at his farm on 21st June 2018. Wow are they in for a treat
Out of the Field.
Wool Young Farming Champions Peta Bradley and Caitlin Heppner caught up with Young Farmer Business Program Team of Alex MacDonald and newly appointed Adele Henry whilst visiting Orange last week for The Archibull Prize. Its was widely agreed that the Young Farmer Champions will be invaluable in promoting the opportunities available as part of the YFBP. Megs Dunford from the DPI Schools Program also attended and gave an overview of how they support primary and secondary schools.
Shoutout to #YouthVoices18 Dione Howard and Emma Turner who will be participating in Hour of Power at MerinoLink Conference in Goulburn. Awesome opportunity for young professionals to speak about their work and passions within the wool industry. Read more here
Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) member Laura Phelps recently grabbed an opportunity to broaden her knowledge and share her insights with the UK Government as part of their BREXIT strategy. This opportunity has taken Laura to London where she will be based for the next six months. Laura’s sojourn has opened to door to appoint Bessie Thomas to the YVLT.
Bessie as a grazier and young mother brings a further depth and perspective to the group and shows its commitment to supporting young people in leadership as they face the challenges of balancing work and life.
The YVLT recognises young people are going through rapid transitions from study to work and family and part of its aim is to determine how to best support and encourage them to take on leadership roles.
Formerly involved with Art4Agriculture as an AWI wool Young Farming Champion and in media and communications behind the scenes, Bessie stepped away for a time when she had her first child in 2016.
“The Youth Voices committee seems like the perfect way for me to dip my toes in and get involved with agricultural leadership and support roles again without having to move my focus away from home, farm and motherhood,” she says.
Bessie loves her career as a journalist but she also loves her family and her outback property, and although she was quite sure she could combine them all to her usual high standard, life, she has found, has meant prioritising.
“I have a husband I love, a beautiful young child and a farm currently in drought – they all need me and this is the soil I need to cultivate right now. I can press pause on a career and involvement with external roles, but I can’t press pause on feeding my hungry sheep, supporting my husband, or feeding my hungry child.” Bessie realises she may be able to do it all – but not all at the same time.
The YVLT, now in its infancy, will grow and change as time progresses and how exactly it provides support to its members will also evolve. For now it is enough that one of its goals is to provide a flexible approach to commitment.
“Feeling pressure to over-commit or guilt about potentially letting the team down has stopped me from getting involved with committees in the past,” Bessie says. “With the YVLT I’ve been asked to only give as much of myself as I can. This means I’ll be able to throw my all at projects I’m really keen on when I have the time, or say ‘Sorry guys, I’m shearing/going away/sick and I’m going to be pretty unavailable for the next month’ without feeling guilty about it. Other members are invited to do the same and it means we’ll get the work done as a team without any one person feeling like they have to keep filling in the gaps. It’s a way for me to get involved, use my skills and help the industries I love, but also know that I’m allowed to press pause for a day/week/month or year if I need to, knowing that I can dip back in when the time is right for me again.”
One of the visions of the YVLT is to let young people share their dreams and design the future they want. By attracting one of Art4Agriculutre’s brightest alumni back to the fold and into a leadership position, the YVLT can already call itself a success.
Art4Agriculture team members Lynne Strong, Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu all recently presented at the Future Focused Ag Oz forum in Sydney on November 26th/27th on the topic of Leadership
Hollie Baillieu and Art4Ag team members Kirsty John and Heidi Cheney and #AgChatOz co-founder Danica Leys
Hollie has kindly agreed to share her presentation with you
Everyone in this room is a leader – the fact that you came here today makes you one. You don’t wake up and think – today is the day I will be a leader. Its gradual, it evolves and sometimes you don’t even know its happened and perhaps it takes you a while to accept that you are one. Its only when you get ownership of something that that sense of pride sets in. When you are in part responsible for the success of something, you are responsible for the direction of a group and you are responsible for people other than yourself – that’s when you realise that hey maybe I do have leadership qualities.
Being the age I am and the age most of you are in this room – I think we are becoming leaders, – we have a long way to go however, we are evolving into those sorts of people that have leadership qualities and those that have influence over others.
I would like you to have a think for me – I would like you to think of someone that you would do anything for, perhaps someone you would trust your life with.
While you are thinking of that person or maybe there are a few people that spring to mind, I would like to put something to you. I mentioned the word influence before. I believe that leadership is about influence, how you influence those around you.
True leadership is there regardless of position within a business, group. They hold a high degree of influence, Those around them choose to serve them. I don’t see someone who uses their position to influence necessarily shows leadership.
Hopefully you have all thought of that person you would do anything for, you would trust your life with. What do they do or what attributes do they have that make them that person.
When I thought of the people that have the highest degree of influence over me I thought of a few things.
They are authentic – they are real, they are genuine, they are not those people that look over your shoulder at a party searching for someone else they would rather talk to.
They are committed to what they have said they will do, They are loyal to a cause and they are loyal to you and your team.
They share a vision and therefore empower the rest of the group.
They are inclusive and understand that when their team feels good and feels needed – it will work more easily as one.
They show integrity – their behaviour serves as a role model for everyone else.
There are many more attributes but you know what makes those people in your life special.
I want you to take a step back and look at yourself, I have no doubt that you all hold some or all of those attributes and I have no doubt that someone holds you in that light, that you have that degree of influence.
So, Greg asked me to talk about some of those things that have helped me in the positions that I now have. The reason I introduced the term leadership so broadly was basically for you to understand how I see that level and degree of influence as a key driver to effective leadership.
The roles I now have as Chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council, an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Ag schools program – I guess I show some attributes of leadership but as I said before – I believe I am too young and inexperienced to be a fully formed leader although hopefully I am becoming one and continue to evolve into a stronger more effective one.
I have narrowed my thoughts into three key areas, they are basic – nothing too incredible but perhaps the simpler things, again I will use this word, those things that we personally have influence over and perhaps its those little things we forget sometimes.
Things that have helped me along the way
– This first point stems from my mum and she still says it to me all the time but seriously it has helped me. “Talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime” ( ask Hollie to share her airport story)
This phrase – is especially important in the agriculture industry. It is incredible who people know in this industry and I am finding this out more and more each day within my role with Australian Year of the Farmer as they all link in with my other roles in the industry.
– The second point which anyone who knows me will understand and that is to smile and be friendly. This is so simple but people forget to do it. When you smile and are friendly not only you as a person is happier but I will generate that smile around the room or in your group. Remember when you felt anxious and nervous – it is the most awful feeling and I get actually get these feelings quite often. However, when I am doing things with the Young Farmer Council especially – I don’t feel nervous or anxious because its my arena, I know where I am and generally what I am doing ( laughs Bec might disagree). I’m comfortable in this situation. When we have held an event and a new person joins us – you can tell very quickly if they are feeling comfortable or not. I don’t want people to feel anxious or nervous when they are around me or when they are involved with something that I am in part responsible for running. You will all agree with me – that when you see a smiling friendly person – you immediately calm and know that you have a friend.
– Remember this – when your team feels comfortable, when they feel included and at ease – that is when you get the best out of them and in turn the best comes out in you and as a team you are then the most effective you can be.
– Lastly, as I said this is simple stuff and this is perhaps the most simple and something you can change very quickly.
And that is your appearance. The most critical time for this is when we are all just starting off in the world. We are in such a competitive environment – we cant afford to be lacking in those areas that are so easily changed.
Remember appearance isn’t just what you look like – it is the whole package. I want you to literally visualise this – Two people are going for an interview. Someone who has a smile on their face, who looks great, with a strong hand shake and looks people in the eye will always have it over someone who walks into an interview who has a weak hand shake, doesn’t look them in the eye and looks like they have just jumped off the sofa after watching a twilight marathon. That is one thing that you can do so easily, that you directly influence.
These little things are really important. I’m organising the recruiting process for the AYOF Road Show – I have been looking at a lot of CV’s, cover letters and those people who spell my name wrong get an immediate shake of the head. It’s the whole package, the little things matter, you can directly influence those things and I reckon we are forgetting those little things – don’t. The little things have helped me and maybe at some point they will help you to.
Thanks Hollie all of us who know and love you certainly can testify your smile could light the nite sky during a blackout.
Hollie Baillieu says smile and the whole world smiles with you