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.
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 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.