Rural Women’s Award national winner announced: Giovanna Webb (NT)

Last week the national winner of the 2013 Rural Women’s Award was announced: Giovanna Webb of the Northern Territory takes the crown. Her family company runs Crocodylus Park in Darwin, providing tourist experiences with outreach and wildlife education, and also farming crocodiles for meat and leather. Crocodylus Park is one of the big Things To Do in Darwin and it’s an awesome place to visit. Giovanna has been committed to providing employment for disadvantaged and unskilled women and wants to use the Award bursary to take that further. From the RIRDC website:

Giovanna’s Award ambition is to empower indigenous women from the Northern Territory, to develop their skills and knowledge in the crocodile industry and become successful in the market place.

Giovanna will use the Award Bursary to provide one-on-one training for indigenous women in the manufacture of crocodile products. She wants to work with the local community and hopes this training will provide sustainable incomes for participants, and provide a platform for other women to take up the challenge and foster integration and inclusion within the workplace.

The national runner up was Isobel Knight (NSW), who has started a business around educating and helping farm families with succession planning, and plans to build an easily-accessible online platform for it.

The Rural Women’s Award is about finding and supporting emerging leaders and change agents in primary industries, building economic and social development in rural communities, encouraging diversity in leadership, recognising that women may have a unique take on what leadership is and how to effect it, and providing financial and professional support to take the award-winners’ skills to the next level.

State and territory finalists were announced some time back. Each state winner receives a $10,000 bursary to further their ambition. The winners and the runners-up all get to take a company directors / leadership course and are supported to develop an individual leadership plan. Looking at the range of ambitions they have, it’s pretty amazing what people are out there doing – fire and disaster leadership, forestry research, kids’ ag outreach, viticulture careers and environmental impacts of wine, access to health and financial education, international lamb marketing, collaborative farm practice models, managing change and innovation, consumer education on honey, and more. I’ve put a short list below, but the full descriptions are at the Rural Women’s Award website (click through the tabs to “Related Links” to get them).

Other state winners:

  • Michelle Freeman (Vic) –  instigating change in the culture and diversity of the forestry industry
  • Alison Fairleigh (Qld) – creating better pathways for farmers and farming communities to access front-line health and mental health services
  • Anna Hooper (SA) – investigating and improving the environmental performance of Australian wine compared with its global competitors
  • Danielle England (WA) – studying how NZ agricultural industries have managed change and maintained international competiveness through innovation
  • Katie Coad (Tas) – Kids Ag Awareness Program (KAAP), education and activities to promote the importance of agriculture to children

State runners-up:

  • Vivien Thomson (NSW) – disaster management and a leadership toolbox for rural fire areas
  • Joanne Clifford (Vic) – open gate, on-farm communities, a working model for collaborative farm practice
  • Terressa Ford (Qld) – workshops to up skill rural women and their families in finance, technology, mental health and wellbeing
  • Mardi Longbottom (SA) – diversity of roles available in the grape and wine sector, video showcasing positive role models
  • Leilani Leyland (WA) – support, develop and promote Honey Week and consumer education
  • Georgie Bond (Tas) – build upon existing international relations and develop new markets for Tasmanian Lamb

Entries for the 2014 award are currently open but close in less than two weeks, on the 31st of October. Information on the award and entry/nomination forms are here.

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