Mandy grew up on a wheat and sheep farm about 40km from Gnowangerup, near the Mindarabin siding. As a farm child, she was adept at entertaining herself. Though she loved the farm and being a “solo kid”, she also enjoyed the activities and benefits of town and attended Gnowangerup District High School before heading to Perth for four years at boarding school. She was accepted to study journalism at Curtin University in 2001, right at a time when the print media’s demise seemed imminent and reporting did not seem to be a wise career choice.
At her father’s suggestion, (he said she was the best grain sampler he had ever seen) she deferred and pursued a career in agriculture, with a non CBH company. Eventually she side-stepped back to CBH, having worked as a grain sampler with the company when younger. Starting in the grower services centre in 2011, she has played various roles within the organisation. From October 2015 to March 2018 she was the Accumulations Products and Services Manager, and from March 2018 – September 2019 she worked as Head of Accumulations, responsible for a team of 24. She returned to her previous role as Accumulations and Product Service manager in May 2020 so that she could enjoy parenting and work part-time.
It was the change she saw in Australian Rural Leadership Program graduates around her that encouraged her to apply to take part in the course herself.
“I had seen colleagues I respected going through the program…I saw them change over the 18 months. I saw the change in people I worked with closely,” Mandy said.
“CBH was focused on driving personal development and setting your own goals…I wanted to be a part of it,” she said.
“I spoke to people about the program, they had been challenged, it was a massive commitment but worthwhile. I have not looked back.”
Throwing herself whole-heartedly into the experience, she helped to organise activities, and found she had to use “guts and practise the process of managing people in difficult situations.”
Mandy said that she felt that the ARLP created some leaders, but just as importantly, it took people who were already leaders and made them more empathetic and effective.
The program gave her confidence to realise her own abilities, and those of others.
“Self-doubts prevented me from taking on opportunities. The ARLP gave me the confidence to feel comfortable with my achievements,” Mandy said.
“The Kimberley revealed some clear things about my personality. I had trust issues due to my earlier independence, having found it easier to “do things yourself,” she 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.”
Soulmates were created in the Kimberley, but away from the north of WA, back in the work environment, communication skills acquired during the program allowed for knowledge of what people needed and what is needed to achieve goals.
“As a people manager, I am attracted by the ability to mentor,” Mandy said.