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Leadership scholarships for regional leaders

Two outstanding regional farming women from Western Australia have been selected as the recipients of the 2020 Growing Leaders’ Scholarship Program.

The Growing Leaders Scholarship Program is a partnership between the CBH Group, Leadership WA and the Grower Group Alliance to support the leadership development of existing and emerging WA grain industry and community leaders.

This year the program has awarded scholarships for two recipients to attend Leadership WA’s 10-month Signature Leadership Program, which brings together a cohort of senior professionals from the corporate, government, small business and not-for-profit sectors across WA.

The two recipients for the 2020 scholarships are Bronwyn Fox, from Dandaragan and Debbie Gillam, from Mingenew.

Mrs Fox runs a mixed farming enterprise and potato business with her family. She is a West Midlands Group committee member, chair of rural professional development organisation Rural Edge and is active in various local community and sporting groups.

She said she was really looking forward to the program and developing new leadership skills.

“I’m excited about connecting with new people from outside the agricultural industry and learning from people in different industries across WA,” Mrs Fox said.

“I feel my participation in this course will help me discover more about my leadership style while also new connections will help bring new ideas and thinking into the community and grower groups I work with.

“It is also beneficial to have people from outside of Perth represented in leadership programs to bring a regional perspective to issues that are being faced in WA.”

Mrs Gillam farms with her family at Irwin and is employed with Mingenew Irwin Group as the Research and Development Manager. She is also on the board of the Dongara District High School and secretary for the Irwin District Charity Ball.

She said she was looking forward to strengthening leadership skills, resilience and maximising her effectiveness as part of the program.

“My goal is to make an impact within our community and the grains industry and maximise my effectiveness to support and develop others to ensure our industry continues to grow and provide opportunities for the involvement of the next generation of farmers,” she said.

In its third year, the Growing Leaders Scholarship Program has supported grain growers and others in the industry to grow and develop their leadership skills. Past program recipients include Jasmyn Allen, Rebekah Burges, Niki Curtis, Julie Alvaro and Tracy Lefroy.

CBH General Manager Grower and External Relations Brianna Peake said the scholarship was a great opportunity to develop leadership skills to ensure a sustainable and profitable grain growing industry.

“We’re proud to support these two very capable regional women on their leadership journey,” Ms Peake said.

“Our industry and communities require strong, bold and diverse leaders – our scholarship program will enable Bronwyn and Debbie to build their leadership skills and further contribute in this space.”

Grower Group Alliance Chief Executive Officer Annabelle Bushell said both candidates have shown excellent leadership through their ongoing work with West Midlands Group and Mingenew Irwin Group.

“Our industry needs passionate and innovative influencers to foster better understanding of farming and agriculture within the community,” she said.

“I am delighted that we are able to support Bronwyn and Debbie and past scholarship recipients to develop their leadership skills to benefit the grower and community organisations they are involved as well as the wider industry.”

Leadership WA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Mecoy welcome Bronwyn and Debbie onto the program.

“Leadership WA brings together leaders from across the State, which creates outstanding diversity of thought and depth of discussion and learning,” she said.

“These two regional leaders will bring valuable perspectives around the significance of agriculture in our state, along with the challenges and opportunities in regional Western Australia.”