S&W’s Michelle Lench Selected for the 2022 Agriculture Leadership Program Cohort

As part of the National Farmers’ Federation’s Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, 12 women with diverse skills and experiences with a passion for leadership have been announced as the cohort for 2022. S&W Seed Company Australia is very pleased to announce that Michelle Lench, S&W’s International Shipping Manager, was selected as part of the program.

As the NFF enters its fifth year, the mentoring and networking program is the organization’s flagship program to remedy the under representation of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks.

women in agriculture australia

“It was a surprise to receive the call confirming my selection to be a part of 2022 DiALP. I am honoured, excited and looking forward to sharing this journey with the amazing cohort of women”, says Michelle, (pictured)

The Focus on Inclusivity in Agriculture

In order to make inroads toward more gender-equal workplaces and leadership teams, 33 industry partners have joined forces to make it possible. The collaboration also includes discussions about how agriculture can be more inclusive of diversity of culture and background, Australians with disabilities, and the LGBTIQ community.

Fiona Simson, President of the NFF, said the program once again has attracted a lot of interest.

“The applications for this year’s program confirm agriculture and rural Australia are spoilt for choice when it comes to female leadership talent. Importantly, the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program is providing a pathway for these women to rise to the top of our industry, a pathway that until recently had not been clear.”

Within the plan for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030, fixing agricultural gender inequity is a key priority.

“We set a goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership positions by 2030. The target was set against stark statistics from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency: In 2018, just 2.3% of CEOs in agriculture were women and women made up only 18% of senior managers,” Ms Simson said.

“Logically, the equal input from women in the leadership ranks of agriculture, is at the heart of the sector’s continued growth and vibrancy.”

2022 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Cohort

The 2022 cohort joins a total of 41 alumni. The Women in Agriculture Facebook Community now has more than 500 members.

Following an introductory retreat in Canberra in June, the group is now embarking on a four-month mentoring program, culminating in the NFF’s 2030 Leaders’ Summit in October.

Rachel Palumbo – West Melbourne, VIC
Olivia Lawson – Clarkes Hill, VIC
Simone Cameron – Katherine, NT
Mary Raynes – Perth, WA
Nicole Byrnes – Pooncarie, NSW
Skye Ward – Bungendore, NSW
Michelle Lench – Wingfield, SA
Anna Playfair-Hannay – Forbes, NSW
Sarah Woolford – York, WA
Sophie Lountain – Orange, NSW
Leanne Rudd – Bundaberg, QLD
Elke Cleverdon – Young, NSW

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