The inaugural Border North East Women in Ag (WAGs) networking event held at Blacksmith Provedore last Wednesday was a resounding success, bringing women working in agriculture together from all areas of the region.
With the agriculture industry primarily a male’s domain, Courteney Kemp and Millie Bourke decided to start a female centric networking group, bringing together women wanting to make a difference in the agricultural world.
Three panellists, Pacific Seeds and Miss Showgirl 2019 Stephanie Clancy, local producer Fiona Marshall and Founder/ Director of Blacksmith Provedore Lizzy Bales all discussed their work in agriculture and the different opportunities available throughout the border North East region, inspiring others to get involved and make an impact.
“The night was a wonderful success, we couldn’t have even begun to imagine how much support the group and the event would have garnered and are humbled to think we have started something that could have a real impact on our industry in this region,” Courteney said.
“We had over 70 in attendance with both men and women there to hear the stories of the three inspiring ladies and they did not disappoint.
“We received so much positive feedback from the event with both the men and women that were in the room sharing with us how much they appreciated the raw honest stories of the three ladies on the panel.
“They shared stories about the struggles they have faced, got open and honest about their struggles with mental health, the importance of mentors and having a strong support network around us as well, education opportunities as most importantly the joys we can have from a life in the ag industry.”
Hearing the differing and equally as humbling stories of each panellist, many in attendance spoke highly of the event and the group, sharing what the ag industry and fellow likeminded men and women means to them.
“We had women coming to us telling us that hearing the stories of these ladies has inspired them once again to be a part of the industry and to celebrate the good we can all be a part of,” Millie said.
“It was a humbling experience for us too, to think such a simple conversation about looking for something to be a part of for us both could lead to such a great event with so many people sharing encouragement and expressing such excitement for the future of the group.
“It was also great to have men in attendance and to hear the importance of having the men in our lives support women in agriculture which the two of us are so fortunate to have at such early stages of our careers.
“To have had such a positive response/ experience with just our first event, we are truly excited to see what change a group of 70+ women and men can enact in our region when we get together and celebrate the women in agriculture in the border regions.”
With the booming success of the inaugural WAGS event, Courteney and Millie are looking into the next step and what the women of the agriculture industry in the border north east region are looking for next.
“At this stage, Millie and I will be sending out a survey to all that attended the inaugural event to get feedback on what the group wants,” Courteney said.
“We will then be taking a minute to process all that was our first event and the feedback we receive and will decide on the next steps of the group.
“We have a few plans in the works right now but are really wanting to get the feedback of the group to make the next event exactly what the region needs and have it be beneficial to all that attend.”
“We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed our first event and what the group has to offer the region and share their experience with friends and family so we are able to see Border North East Women in Ag be a force of nature, enacting change in agriculture in Australia and genuinely supporting the women who are a part of it,” Millie added.
To keep up to date and interact with the WAG’s group follow Border North East WAG’s on Facebook and take part in your local agriculture industry.