Their Stories

Q&A with Lucinda Corrigan

7 March 2018

Lucinda Corrigan,  graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) Course 5, answers a few questions in celebration of International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March 2018)

Tell us about you and how you got to where you are today?

My life’s work is in Australia’s livestock industries, leading a national breed organisation in my 20s, developing one of the most successful Angus genetics herds in Australia over the last 30 years, working with great teams of people on boards, government and private companies to progress the important agenda for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Very early in my career  I described what I do:

  1. I describe what I do as working at the interface between science and industry, with good knowledge and increasing experience

After completing The Australian Rural Leadership Program in 1999 course 5, I refined this to:

  1. To work as “An agent of change for the grazing industries.”

In recent years I have refined this again:

  1. “Leading Innovation in Agribusiness”

“INNOVATION IS A CHANGE AND/OR TRANSFORMATION THAT ADDS VALUE. IT IS MORE THAN A SINGLE INVENTION AND IT MAY BE A NEW WAY OF PUTTING SYSTEMS TOGETHER”.

Is there a particular woman you find inspiring and why?

Early in my career I was deeply inspired by a number of women. Betty Archdale was headmistress of Abbotsleigh after being Principal of the Women’s College at Sydney University and Captain of the British Cricket Team. She was strong and gutsy and she loved girls from the country.

In my professional life I have been deeply inspired by Dr. Helen Newton Turner, the receptionist turned brilliant quantitative geneticist who led Australia’s sheep breeding genetics at CSIRO. In her later life she gave much of her time to working in the developing world.

At an intellectual level I found Prof Jill Kerr Conway amazing, a beautiful writer, an Australian success in the US and we shared much about our life stories.

In recent years I have drawn upon the talents of a very wide range of women. Dr. Christine Pitt is an incredible and transformative thinker who has taken Australia’s red meat processing industry on a journey of change and innovation.  It is astounding what she has been able to achieve.

Colleen Costello runs the largest private cattle station in the world, Crown Point Pastoral Company and has strength and determination that makes her the most amazing role model.

My daughter Ruth is following in my love of the land, of the people, the environment and the vocation of raising cattle in a modern family farm. In addition she runs the Rennylea cowherd and has a voice in her generation.

What advice do you give to other female leaders?

Find out what ‘it’ is for you.

Work on the things you can change and forget those that you cannot. It is so easy to get side tracked.

Most of the leaps forward in our leadership, farming or personal goals, have been made by learning from the stuff ups, getting it right all the time is not a great teacher.

Learn and seek out people who do what you want to do. I have been fortunate to work with some of the most experienced and capable directors in Australia, in rural research and development, driven by ideas rather than solely by ego, power or money.

Don’t get attracted to the hubris, self adoration or entitlement.  Keep checking and re checking your views to make sure they are robust.

 

Lucinda is part of our inspiring alumni and undertook the Australian Rural Leadership Program.