Brianna learned to be sensitive to each person’s story

Brianna Peake grew up on a farm in Dalwallinu  and headed to Perth for her last three years of  high school, before studying Natural Resource  Management at UWA. After a year on the road travelling Australia, she headed back to Dalwallinu  and worked as executive officer with a grassroots grower group, the Liebe Group (2004-2008). Her  itchy feet took her abroad again, and she travelled around Europe for 18 months, a stint which included  work with a grain handling organisation in the  UK. When she returned to WA, she worked with  CBH Grower Service Centre during the 2009-2010  harvest. Time working with DailyGrain gave her  further experience with stakeholders in the grain  industry. The it was back to CBH in 2011, this time  managing the Grower Service Centre, before shifting her career path into the corporate affairs area. 

Brianna’s ARLP experience occurred at the  same time that she took on a new role at CBH in  government relations, and it was the ARLP that  gave her the confidence to spring from that role to  the CBH executive team, heading up her division in  February 2016. 

“The ARLP grew my confidence as I took on  challenging roles and ultimately gave me the boost  I needed to take on the head of division role: even  though I was terrified, I knew I could back myself to  do it,” Brianna said. 

The program worked: but as the first female  from CBH to embark on the training, why did she  participate in the first place?  

“Gavin Bignell, a long-term colleague and friend  had done it, he said it was amazing,” Brianna said. 

“Those who had done the ARLP were a little bit  guarded about the experience, but said it was “life  changing,” she said. 

Even though participation in the ARLP had not  been a burning ambition, she now says it should  have been.  

Brianna reiterated the fact that the Kimberley was  hugely influential in changing people’s mindset.  

“I gained a greater insight into the local indigenous  community and their connection to country. I was  humbled by the landscape, the history, and the  generosity of the people,” Brianna said.  

“I grew up in regional WA but I was embarrassed  by my lack of knowledge about the detailed history  of indigenous Australia and understanding of  the issues that stem from this history: the ARLP  showed the need to think about this differently, and  have the confidence to engage in this conversation  more broadly and seek to have influence where I  can,” she said. 

She said that the level of engagement with  community in the Kimberley was unique and  heartfelt.

“The whole Kimberley experience is one of the  most exceptional things I have ever done: the  feeling of freedom will stay with me for a long  time,” Brianna said. 

“You don’t use the lessons and skills gained all at  once, but you tuck them all away to use later…you  can refer to the experiences and learnings years  afterwards,” she said. 

Brianna said that the ability to listen with empathy  gained during ARLP has come in handy in her  role in working with many stakeholders across  the industry and in seeking to have influence in  positive outcomes for regional WA. 

“We have learned to be sensitive to each person’s story,” Brianna said. In the Kimberley, our facilitator let situations play  out…and come to a resolution… it was a safe place where we  could allow ourselves to let go,  but I learned that you cannot  be a great leader without  trusting people.”

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