Empowering women

June 15, 2017

Shepparton local Harriet Bawden from Murray Dairy has been selected to receive a Fairley Leadership scholarship.

Goornong resident Aileen O'Sullivan has been awarded a Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program Scholarship.

Two Goulburn Valley women have been recognised for their roles in agriculture and awarded leadership scholarships to further their personal development.

Murray Dairy Accelerating Change project officer Harriet Bawden, from Shepparton, received a Fairley Leadership scholarship and said she was using the opportunity to learn from those around her.

‘‘I’ve been in the region about two years now and it’s provided me with unique opportunities to connect with other leaders in the area within my industry and outside of it,’’ she said.

‘‘For me I’ve already learnt a lot and I feel that others have also gained a real appreciation for some of the topics that are relevant to my work, which is great.’’

Ms Bawden said through further conversations with those working across the industry she was able to further develop her knowledge about the dairy industry.

‘‘I think (I’ve come away with) a better knowledge and perspective of our region and how the different sectors and industry contribute to the community we have, and through the process I’m hoping to build a process for ongoing co-operation within dairy industry and community.’’

Farmer and Maybank Dairy director Aileen O’Sullivan, from Goornong, said the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program scholarship had allowed her to visit a number of regions and further her own knowledge.

‘‘I think the opportunity to reflect on what was seen and what was done and listen to others’ perspective on leadership and how they are involved in the community, that’s been important,’’ she said.

‘‘(I’ve been) able to gain more confidence and find my voice in promoting agriculture as being an exciting industry to be in.’’

Ms O’Sullivan also plays an active role in Women in Agriculture and the Rural Women’s Network and encouraged others to get involved in similar programs and initiatives.

‘‘It encourages others to connect with local communities and facilitate change.

‘‘That’s the important thing about my journey in the community and leadership, that I’m developing an awareness of how connections can influence health and wellness in the agriculture industry.’’

The scholarships were awarded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

Chief executive Mary Harney said the programs build leadership capacity and empower Victorian dairy communities.

‘‘The opportunities scholars are provided through the programs are invaluable and have extensive benefits both on and off the farm,’’ Ms Harney said.

‘‘We want to challenge dairy leaders and communities to adopt strategic ways of thinking.

‘‘Program participants will be provided with the skills and confidence to achieve great success in their field.’’

■For more information about the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program visit:

■For more information about the Fairley Leadership program, visit:

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