When you think of agriculture, your mind might not jump to international export and trade delegations, women’s leadership workshops and board papers. But for new Rural Women’s Award Victorian Chair Catherine Marriott, her career in agriculture has been diverse and challenging, with much more still to come.
Tell us about your background and what you do. What does your day to day look like?
I’ve been in ag my whole career – but in my case that has included quite a bit of time interstate and overseas – in particular working in international agricultural research, and supporting Indonesia and the Philippines and their live export industries. In 2012 while I was living in WA, I was the National Runner Up for the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, and I received investment to establish a rural leadership company called Influential Women which I ran for 4 years. This award enabled me to pull off a project that really made a difference and changed a conversation in rural and remote Australia. These days I’m living closer to my home in North East Victoria, where I’m the CEO of farming systems company Riverine Plains – and no two days are the same. I could be doing budgets and board papers, working with clients and partners, or managing staff – or I could be at a field day talking about farming systems all day. It’s all good fun!
Why is it important to you to be a leader in your community and your industry?
Through my travels I’ve met some of the most incredible women who are still my mentors and friends, and I love being able to create that for others. I think a strong network of women that inspire you is so valuable. I also think the skills of understanding self, communication and the use of language are skills you need in every area of your life, and that’s why I’ve helped people to develop these through my work in leadership. I think these are things women are often really great at, but perhaps don’t realise just how valuable these skills are – especially when working to create positive change, growing a business, or building something new. Having people around you who believe in you, PLUS making the most of these skills can be such a game changer.