Changes in colleagues inspired Mandy to apply

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.

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