Suzie Jacobs is no stranger to coming back from failure and getting help in times of crisis and drought.
Despite receiving farm rescue, in 2019, the nurse by trade and her husband made the heartbreaking decision to cease operations of their Victorian dairy farm.
Instead of giving up, they decided to give back. Since then, Suzie has held a variety of roles with Rural Aid, studied agribusiness and a diploma in counselling. She now works for the Northeast Rural Financial Counselling service.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m an introvert, people person and country girl. I grew up on a dairy farm.
I love supporting people to achieve great things, no matter how small they are.
Why did you apply for the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program?
I applied because this is my passion. I’m passionate about our future.
I have lived and worked in the drought space – I know how tough it is. I want to support farmers and rural communities to build resilience and capacity through understanding mental wellbeing.
I understand the pressures of drought, through building my own mental wellbeing and understanding what it takes to be self-reliant and connecting with others helps so much with building resilience. I want to share this with the world. Even if it’s one person at a time.
What do you hope to achieve at the end of the program?
- Great networks to call on.
- An understanding of the intricacies of resilience so I can educate others.
- Adaptation and change process skills to support others.
- Be able to problem solve issues faced by communities
- Be a change maker.
What is the attitude towards drought preparedness in your local area?
We’re having a great year in our area. I think people feel the next drought is just around the corner. Farmers are preparing themselves and changing the farming systems to cope. They know things are changing (climate) and they’re adapting. I feel there are a lot of farmers leaving their industry and lots are expanding.
How do you see leadership in a regional, rural or remote community contributing to the resilience of its people and community more broadly?
I personally would like to see wholehearted, authentic leadership. People want simple, clear messaging, be understood and heard. Leadership needs to be person-centred, we need re-humanised people and stop de-humanising ourselves. Leadership needs to be supported by community engagers (leaders engaging the community), telling their stories of resilience and supporting each other.