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 (L-R) Kareena Pritchard and Malkah Lara Muckenschnabl

(L-R) Kareena Pritchard and Malkah Lara Muckenschnabl

 

Women currently equate to only one third of the Australian agricultural workforce, yet we know they have a lot more to offer in this dynamic industry. The FMC Australian and New Zealand team are committed to providing more solutions for women to participate and thrive in agriculture, recently launching their LEAD scholarship program, open to women aged between 18-35 who are currently studying in agriculture or working in the field.

 

Aimed at providing aspiring female leaders with a platform to share their ideas around key challenges the industry is currently facing, applicants were asked to submit an essay based on one of three themes; innovation - how we can drive the adoption of technology that exists today, sustainability - the meaning, practices and behaviours that need to change for us to be truly sustainable and feed the growing world, and rural communities - how corporate Australia, including FMC, can support the development of locally grown leaders that will bring about positive change and sustainability to regional communities.

 

LEAD offers two aspiring female leaders personal development opportunities in three key areas – idea sharing, networking and a tailored education package. Following the closing date in June, the number of applicants received for the program demonstrated the appetite for women to pursue industry leadership. With so many innovative ideas presented, it was a difficult task to pick the finalists. Accompanied by a diverse independent judging panel including CEO of Cotton Australia, AgTech innovator and Nutrien Director. NSW-based Kareena Pritchard and VIC-based Malkah Lara Muckenschnabl were chosen as the two winners of the 2021 inaugural LEAD program.

 

A Group Financial Controller at Pursehouse Rural in Tamworth NSW, Kareena’s passion for rural communities shone through in her essay as she addressed some of the biggest issues the Australia agricultural industry is currently facing. 

 

Bendigo VIC based Agribusiness Graduate, Malkah’s essay sustainability challenges through her idea of developing an innovative recruitment strategy for the ag workforce, described by the judging panel as an emerging leader in her local community.

 

FMC ANZ Managing Director Kristina Hermanson said this type of program benefits the industry through diversity and supports women in agriculture as they progress towards the leadership levels. “Australian agriculture can only benefit from supporting women like Kareena and Malkah who can offer more diversity of thought. Seeing more young female graduates entering the sector is promising, but the key is bringing that diversity through the ranks to senior management to continue building diversity in decisions and strategic direction.”

 

2021 winners Kareena and Malkah will receive a tailored education through a fully subsidised short course in leadership/management, sustainability or innovation, as well as the opportunity to share their ideas and speak with confidence, joining FMC at a number of industry networking events. There will be many opportunities for the two winners to network, an essential part of growth and development, with current sector stakeholders and through connecting with diverse industry partners for learning and local field trip opportunities.

 

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