On Wednesday evening, 10th June, HLN’s Women in Agriculture (WiA) network hosted “Wool Power 2015”, an event looking to develop skills, learn from industry leaders and celebrate women in the wool industry. Fifty girls, women and men from the district — coming from far away as Hay and Leeton — enjoyed a lovely dinner at J&Bs Café and a range of insightful and professional speakers.
The night opened with an interactive “Jobs for the Girls” session led by Jenni Turner (Fox & Lillie Rural) and Fiona Raleigh (TAFE Cootamundra). The two ladies presented an inspiring workshop focusing on careers for young women in the industry, sharing their own stories as well as their in-depth technical knowledge.
The keynote speaker, Vicky Geddes, was a highlight of the night for many attendees, particularly the university students attending from Charles Sturt University, who were inspired by her business approach, innovative and analytical approach to her Merino enterprise. Vicky stated that her “science background drives a thirst for information and new technology, with all decisions based on critical thinking and evidence based practice change”. All appreciated her openness and insight into how she runs her business.
Hayley Olsson, a dynamic young filmmaker originally from Goulburn, shared with us via video link her story of “Project Warm Heart”. With the help of the Australian farming community, Hayley collected funds and wool to produce a large quantity of blankets that were distributed to the homeless in Sydney. Hayley hoped that through telling her story “that many young women will feel that their skill set and their love of the wool industry can be combined to produce something that will not only contribute to the industry, but empower other women.”
The night finished with an expert panel with Karen Mills (Kardinia Dohne Merino Stud), Andrew Woods (Independent Commodity Services/Mecardo), Jenni Turner and Fiona Rayleigh. The audience heard about key market movements in wool, innovation on farm, crossbreeding Merino’s, transparency, accountability and education in the wool industry. It was a diverse and stimulating discussion with something for everyone.
Feedback from attendees was extremely positive; one attendee stated, “It was a great night, very social and full of facts and information. Everything was great,” and another reported that “I think it was a professional, well-conducted evening with some very experienced and interesting leaders passionate about what they do — great night!”
HLN would like to acknowledge the assistance of Border Trust and the YWCA Albury Wodonga Young Women Leading Change Grant Program for their valuable contribution to this project. It is wonderful to see so many different generations of women, all passionate about agriculture and wool, coming together at the event.
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