For consultant and strategist Amelia Hartney, it made sense that the next step in her professional and leadership development journey would be close to her home in North East Victoria. This year, she has received a Victorian Rural Women’s Network scholarship to take part in the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program.
Tell us about your background and what you do.
My professional background is in research and policy development. I studied business, science and governance, and I’ve lived regionally for many years, so that adds extra colour to the work I do. This eclectic mix has supported a fairly creative consulting and project management career so for. I am proud of the work I do with my clients and colleagues – creating opportunities and positive change in the region.
What prompted you to apply to participate in a Community Leadership Program in 2021?
The Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program is held in high esteem throughout North East Victoria, and many alumni are known for their work in the community. Given the events of 2020, being part of the next phase of resilience and growth in my home region is important to me. Having the opportunity to work on economic and community development projects with 24 new collaborators is important to me professionally, but also personally. With 444 graduates before us, we have a lot experience to call on and legacy of our own to create – and for me, now is the time to do that.
What do you hope to get out of the Program?
I hope to learn about the ever-changing economic needs for the North East Vic Region. There is so much to be done for our community to recover from bushfires and COVID. I’m also hoping to establish strong relationships through the program. Through introductions to community groups and agencies developing plans, Alpine Valleys offers a valuable way to be part of work that is already underway, and to catalyse new initiatives needed to build a strong future. I hope this new perspective on opportunities for the region will particularly be of value in my roles on the Regional Development Australia Hume and NESAY Board committees, so that I can help to support development in a meaningful way.
Why is scholarship support important?
The Agriculture Victoria, Women in Agriculture scholarship is a privilege and supports my place in the Alpine Valleys program. The financial and mentoring support for working parents is really critical, and helps to make the program accessible to someone like me. The agriculture supply chain in Victoria holds so much opportunity for new jobs and industry. Scholarship opportunities like this are validating for agriculture advocates, particularly women like myself who manage, operate or work with farm and agricultural businesses (up to and post farm gate!) all over Victoria. The industry is so varied and there is a big future for those of us looking to take an innovative approach. Attracting new generations into agriculture is really important for a healthy and viable industry, I am happy to play my part and give support to others working towards the same goal.