Inspiring the next generation of leaders

Dr Jo Newton receives a leadership award from Ray Ellis, CEO of First National Real Estate

Above: Dr Jo Newton with Ray Ellis, CEO of First National Real Estate

Congratulations to Dr Joanna Newton who has scooped two prestigious leadership awards in recent months. Last month, Jo received a Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Emerging Leader grant including $10,000 towards her career development following a win in the First National Real Estate Leadership Awards. Winning the awards has been the culmination of many years of study, hard work and determination to chase her dreams.

At the age of 16, Jo was told that she was too smart to study agriculture. But having grown up in Melbourne and spent her happiest days at her school farm — collecting eggs, feeding lambs and preparing livestock for shows — she was determined to follow her passion. After scoring in the highest percentile in Australia in her school exams, she went on to graduate with a science degree and a PhD and is now a research scientist for Agriculture Victoria.

Eight years ago, Jo founded the Farming Futures Project at the University of New England – a careers fair showcasing agricultural opportunities. Jo says being involved in the Young Farming Champions program has given her the personal support, mentorship and confidence to excel in leadership. Today, Jo is Chair of the program’s Youth Voices Leadership Team, mentors young scientists and visits schools to highlight the rewards of an agricultural career.

“When I was told I was too smart for agriculture, I soon realised there was a lot of misinformation and a lack of understanding about this career path,” says Jo. “I have gained so much from being a part of agriculture and I want to give back.”

Read more about Jo’s inspirational journey to leadership at


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