For Amy Cosby, the opportunity for online training during COVID-19 provided access to leadership development that might have otherwise been unavailable. And now with new skills under her belt, she’s spreading the word of the great career opportunities available in agriculture even further.
- Tell us about your background and what you do. What does your day to day look like?
My husband and I, along with our two young sons, own and operate a 200-cow dairy farm in South Gippsland which we purchased in 2018. I also work full-time for CQUniversity Australia as a Research Fellow in Agricultural Education and Extension. Our team at CQU work on a range of research projects across Australia focused on building capacity within the agriculture industry, especially in the area of ag-tech, and attracting the next generation workforce. One example is the RACE Gippsland project which aims to raise the aspirations of primary and secondary school students in Gippsland to pursue a career in the agricultural industry. Owning a dairy business in Gippsland, I see firsthand a need to inspire young people and create awareness for the numerous career opportunities the agricultural industry provides, both on and off farm. My day involves working on the farm (where possible with a 6-week old baby) including milking and feeding calves balanced with my role at CQU. This generally involves numerous Zoom meetings with my team who are located in Queensland and Victoria, external stakeholders located all over Australia, developing programs and resources for our numerous projects and designing research evaluation frameworks to capture project impact and ensure we are achieving project outcomes.
- What prompted you to apply for a Victorian Rural Women’s Network program?
I found out about the Women Leading Now program through the VRWN newsletter and thought it sounded interesting, and applicable to my employment. I had been searching for professional development opportunities to increase my leadership skills and knowledge so it was perfect timing to apply. I was also pleased to have the opportunity to apply for such a high quality program that could be completed online, as this made it much more feasible to participate in.
- What did you get out of the Program?
The 2021 Women Leading Now program was a great experience with the program full of passionate, knowledgeable and approachable speakers who shared with us their leadership journey and practical advice. Although online, the facilitator ensured everyone was engaged and had the opportunity to speak. It was great to have the opportunity to meet other women working in a range of industries across Victoria and hear about how they do things and some of the challenges they faced. Through participating in this program, I learnt about adaptive leadership and intend on applying these principles in my work. I will use the activities we undertook in the program with my own team to help them identify and work on their strengths and help them understand they are all leaders, regardless of their position. I lead a small team of women working in agriculture, and have shared with them the value I received from participating in this training and have sought out opportunities for our team to take part in similar programs.
- Why is scholarship support important?
The scholarship made it possible for me to participate as without it, I would not have had the funds to secure a place. It is vitally important for rural women in particular to have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend programs like Women Leading Now as there are often higher costs associated with travel and accommodation to access courses, compared to our city counterparts, which either make it prohibitive to participate, or deter us from applying.