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Amelia Shaw


Creation date: 01 January 2022


Introducing Amelia Shaw

 

Amelia Shaw is a policy manager in the agri sector, with a background in business management, design thinking and strategic planning.

 

One of her big passions is creating communities and a sense of belonging for all – so it’s no surprise that of the three topic areas she could respond to as part of her LEAD scholarship application, she chose to focus her essay on Rural Communities. Exploring how corporate Australia, including FMC, can support the development of locally grown leaders that will bring about positive change and sustainability to regional communities.

 

Amelia’s application placed her among the 10 finalists for the LEAD program. Here’s some of what she had to say:

 

Leadership cannot be taught, leadership is learned.

There needs to be opportunities to provide a sandbox for emerging leaders to practice their skills, a space where they can reinforce values and purpose, drive a vision and strategy, and build a community and initiate change. There are two steps that could be taken by corporate Australia to support the development of locally grown leaders. The first is the adoption of an intergenerational approach to leadership and the second, exploring opportunities to collaborate and share experiences between urban and rural leaders.

 

Intergenerational Leadership and culture

For the first time in history there are six generations in the community: Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z and Alpha. For a community to be truly inclusive, leadership needs to reflect all those voices, values, and needs.

 

Actions that corporate Australia should be taking to support the development of local leaders include ensuring that diversity of thought and opinions is not just along cultural and gender representation but also age. This can start with the development of an Intergenerational Statement that is intended to articulate collective principles regarding intergenerational leadership and ways in which this may be implemented and inform the work of an organisation.

 

It is exciting to see FMC providing an opportunity like the LEAD scholarship to women in the agricultural sector. It is an opportunity to engage with valuable and thought-provoking content on leadership. Further value can be obtained when participants are empowered to put into practice those learnings in a safe and welcoming environment.

 

Shared experience

Australia’s recent ‘once in a century’ drought was a heartbreaking and difficult time for our regional, rural, and remote communities. But local heroes from farmers and local managers of a key input providers to mayors were critical in articulating the needs of a region during event. Their effectiveness was noted by many in industry, including the Australian Government which has allocated resources to invest in the development of local leaders as part of their drought preparedness measures. These local leaders were essential in a time of tremendous instability and change.

 

2020 was a year of unprecedented change for urban Australia, whereas regional, rural, and remote Australia remained generally unscathed despite the tourism industry impacts. A common thread between rural and urban Australia has been the need to face changing operating environments in the last three years, be it drought induced or a result of a global pandemic. This shared experience of needing to be adaptive and resilient presents an opportunity. An opportunity to learn and bridge the disconnect between urban and rural Australia. There is a need to provide experiences across industries, where leaders from agriculture are engaging with likeminded individuals from other aspects of the economy such as resources, tourism, hospitality and so on.

 

The learnings from those in leadership who led through the drought could provide some powerful insights for those dealing with the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on business, the community and mental health. I currently occupy Board Director roles for two significant not-for-profits that are somewhat distant from our occupation. I believe the insight and different perspective I bring to the challenges and opportunities discussed at those Board meetings is of benefit.

 

Conclusion

Regional Australia and the agricultural sector have many passionate, inspiring established and emerging leaders. As the challenges of living in these areas continue to exist, local leaders are vital. Managing obstacles should not be undertaken by a single generation nor fall on the shoulders of one geographic region. Sustainability of the regions will be the by-product of collaboration.


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