Have you ever thought about what it means to be an active citizen? Do you share your perspective with decision makers within your industry or are you actively involved in your community creating change for a better future?

 Just a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the national presentation of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award at Parliament House in Canberra. I found myself amongst a room full of motivated rural women from across Australia all doing their bit to positively contribute to their industries and communities.  What an amazing group of inspirational women and the 4 hours of networking just wasn’t enough.

 I learned that it doesn’t matter what type of business you are in or what type of work you do it is important to love what you do. The 7 state finalists came from all walks of life and different sectors of our primary agricultural industries. They shared with us a deep passion for what they do, day in and day out. In hearing a small part of their stories including their hopes and dreams, their challenges and successes, it was enough to fill every heart will encouragement and pride. The 2014 winner, Giovanna Webb, is a crocodile farmer from the Northern Territory and she empowers indigenous women to expand their skills and knowledge of the crocodile industry. This year’s runner up, Isobel Knight, is from NSW and runs a business dedicated to succession planning for family farm businesses. Diversity builds strength and these women are only 2 examples of the outstanding opportunities within our Australian rural sector.

 After attending this fabulous event, I could not sleep because my mind was bustling with the energy these women had poured out. In addition, this was the first chance I took to reflect on my time as the 2010 NSW runner-up for the RIRDC Rural Women’s Awards. It dawned on me how lucky I was for the experience and what it meant to me both in my personal and business life. Being a part of this award process was the platform which gave me the drive and confidence to pursue my passion and achieve my dream to start my own business. Today I am proud that AJM Livestock Solutions has been in operation for just over 5 years now.

 This is what inspires me, hearing from inspirational and passionate people who are making a difference and who love what they are doing in life. These people empower me with that burst of extra vitality and give me the push that I sometimes need to get going. I am reminded that where there is a will there is a way and through hard work, dreams really do come true. Being in a solo business and for many of us in rural areas, I think it is important that we sometimes make that extra effort to surround ourselves with inspirational people and challenge ourselves in situations to learn and grow.

 What inspires you? Whatever it is I recommend that you go out and get a good dose of it every now and then. It will not only recharge your batteries but it will help you achieve those things that sometimes just keep getting pushed to the bottom of the ‘too hard’ file.

Photo Credit –
Middle: Westpac State General Manager Queensland Commercial & Agribusiness Rod Kelly (left), Westpac Head of Agribusiness Susan Bower, Westpac Senior Agribusiness Manager Steve Badgery, RWA Alumni Alison McIntosh and Westpac State General Manager WA Commercial & Agribusiness Ben Marini
Bottom: Isobel Knight (2013 Australian RIRDC RWA Runner-up) with Minister Cash, Giovanna Webb (2013 Australian RIRDC RWA Winner) and Minister Joyce @ the Inspirational women at the 2013 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Dinner, 16 October in Canberra