Thank you for inspiring me: 14 rural women I want to celebrate this IWD.

In celebration of International Women’s Day (8th March 2018), I wanted to take the time out to thank some women who have made an impact on me during my Farm Table journey so far.

Some know me, some do not, but they have all inspired me and given me the confidence to develop, grow and take risks running my own business.

These women are running businesses and building solutions to issues and challenges we share across rural and agricultural industries. Starting up a business can be lonely and scary, particularly when in a rural area. But, with a network of like-minded and supportive women across the country, you are never truly alone.

Thank you, from me, and from all that you inspire.

(in alphabetical order)

Aimee Snowden: Aimee gives an incredible amount to the industry via the many hats she wears. As well as working within the farm business and manufacturing business, Aimee has her own business, Little BRICK Pastoral, which celebrates Australia agriculture through unique photos of a LEGO® farmer mini-figure. She is generous with her time, skills and knowledge and I look forward to a long relationship with Aimee and the positive impact she makes on our industry.

Image: The Daily Advertiser

Catherine Marriott: When I first returned back to the family farm in 2013/14, Catherine Marriott was a woman that inspired me to think bigger, act with integrity and give back – all from the other side of the country.  Her business, Influential Women, delivered workshops across Australia to give rural women the confidence and capacity to communicate on behalf of rural Australia and the agricultural industry. She has had many roles since then and I look forward to seeing Catherine continue to provide a strong and honest leadership role in our industry and country.

Image: The Border Mail

Claire Dunne: Claire has united women across Australia in the most creative and powerful way. From her little corner in Duaringa, central Queensland, Claire is the founder of Graziher, and independently published magazine. It is both a beautiful, loved and a much-needed publication connecting, empowering and celebrating rural and regional women.

Image: Graziher

Ella Shannon: Founder of AgDraft, Ella is a go-getter who developed an online marketplace for farmers to post jobs to an extended network of workers that are effectively “referenced checked” by their peers, making hiring quick and reliable. Supporting each other through our journey’s has been invaluable.

Image: YouTube

Fleur Anderson: Amongst a huge list of amazing accomplishments, Fleur is the Founder of the Rural Business Collective, Australia’s leading network for rural and remote business builders and entrepreneurs, which has been a huge source of support. Based in the small central Qld town of Theodore, Fleur’s impact is felt close to home as well as across the country and she is an incredible role model for me.

Image: Go Digital Qld

Ginny Stevens: Founder of Active Farmers,  Ginny is an absolute powerhouse. The Active Farmer’s philosophy is that the more people in rural and regional areas who understand the connection between being physical fit and mentally strong the better and hope that it will help reduce the severity of suicide and depression throughout regional Australia. Ginny has recently been named as a finalist in the NSW Rural Women’s Award for 2018! Congratulations, we just love everything you do!

Image: Active Farmers

Hayley Purbrick: Hayley is an innovative business and community-minded woman who has had an incredible impact on both myself and the Farm Table. Hayley empowers rural women and rural communities through Big Sky Ideas, The Riverina Collective and the Rural Women Making Change Program. I would not have gotten through my first year working full-time in my business without her.

Image: Deniliquin Business Chamber

Jo Palmer: Jo is someone you always want around – She is energetic, brave and finds solutions to problems – we all need a Jo! She co-founded Agri-Alliance with the amazing Sally Armstrong (who deserves her very own shout-out) as well as Pointer Remote Roles, a one stop shop for candidates to find remote work, and a hub for employers to find the best person for a role, regardless of where they live.  I’m indebted to the work of both these amazing women who have made a huge impact both inside and outside my business.

Image: Pointer Remote Roles, Graziher, Rachael Lenehan Photography

Kim Storey: Kim is an extremely talented photographer now putting her skills to a very special nationwide project, ‘What does a farmer look like?‘. The project aims to highlight the diversity and depth of Australian farmers across the country and to share our stories. Kim stated, “Generally, the only time farming hits the media is for something negative like fire, flood, drought or an animal activist video. The more positive stories about our Aussie farmers, their businesses and lives the better we are able to share our story, and it’s a good one!”

Image: What Does a Farmer Look Like?

Lynne Strong: Lynne is the ultimate leader; she is passionate, visionary and selfless. For over ten years, Lynne has led the Art4Agriculture team and has consistently delivered inspiring programs that connect farmers to the community, including  Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize. Lynne always has a positive and kind word and hundreds of young agriculturalists feel supported by her.

Image: Clover Fields Dairy

Rachael Lenehan: Rachael is a farmer, photographer and agricultural advocate. Her business, Rachael Lenehan Photography captures the essence of our land, our produce, our animals and our people in the most powerful way. She is an incredible role model for young women across the industry as she is incredibly hardworking, visionary, and always does everything she does with smile on her face.

Image: Rachael Lenehan, Creative Consulting

Rebel Black: Rebel, the “Human Agronomist” and Founder of the Rural Woman, Rebel is passionate about the vitality of rural communities and entrepreneurship. As she told Graziher,THE Rural Woman came from a feeling of isolation and desire for deeper and more meaningful connection with like-minded rural women…I wanted to stop complaining about it and do something instead. I was also frustrated that there were these incredible rural women doing great work and being limited by their geographic reach and that there was no platform for them to discover their voice, connect with others and then amplify their voice/mission/work into the world!”

Image: Rural Woman, Creative Consulting

Sarah Nolet: Known as “The AgTech Woman”, Sarah is CEO and Founder of Agthentic, and is committed to using innovation to solving complex issues. She is a globally recognized food systems innovation expert, but is extremely generous with her time and knowledge, and always a pleasure to work with. We can’t wait for her to continue to take the world by storm.

Image: YouTube

Simone Kain: Simone is co-creator and founder of George the Farmer. George brings happiness to children and adults alike across Australia and is playing an extremely important role in educating children about farming practices along with how food and fibre (natural fabrics) are produced. Simone is an extremely powerful role model for women in agricultural and rural industries, and we are grateful for her friendship and counsel.

Image: Adelaide Now

Thank you to these woman, and countless others, for inspiring me on my journey.

Starting your own business can often be a scary and lonely path, but we never truly do it alone.

This list in no way covers all the incredible women (and men) who have made an impact on me and the Farm Table. You know who you are.

Airlie x