What do you get when you put twelve incredible young minds with the drive to learn and succeed in a room for three days, with leading experts in their field with a willingness to share their knowledge?
The answer….. GenAngus! A transformative program that was meticulously designed to equip these aspiring individuals with the skills, knowledge, and mindset required to excel in today’s dynamic and fast-paced agricultural industry.
At the end of May in Adelaide South Australia, twelve emerging leaders of the beef industry recently had this opportunity to embark on the three-day intensive workshop to help them start their beef cattle business or advance their existing business.
The program kicked off with participants invited to ‘take the first step’, both figuratively and literally, as they conquered their fears in the tree tops on the Adelaide TreeClimb.
The first day wound up with a team building exercise in Escape Hunt Adelaide, followed by the official dinner featuring Achmea Australia CEO Emma Thomas, Angus Australia CEO Scott Wright, Meat & Livestock Managing Director Jason Strong, and a panel of past GenAngus participants including Jack Laurie, Nancy Crawshaw and Brodie Collins.
According to Angus Australia’s Extension Manager Jake Phillips GenAngus, has become a pinnacle event for Angus Australia.
‘What we find is that there are really measurable things that people are bringing out of this program and putting into their lives and their businesses, and it is something that we’re extremely proud of.’
Jake also acknowledged that the GenAngus program, now in its fifth year would not be possible without the industry alliance between Angus Australia and specialist agricultural insurer Achmea Australia.
‘I must acknowledge the huge contributions made by Achmea Australia. We wholeheartedly thank them for their ongoing support of the event.’
‘It certainly wouldn’t have got to where it is today without this alliance, with Angus Australia and Achmea Australia having now provided this opportunity to sixty young people across Australia and New Zealand,’ finished Jake.
A sentiment that was shared by Emma Thomas, CEO of Achmea Australia, ‘Through our strategic alliance with Angus Australia and Angus Youth Australia, we are immensely proud to see the GenAngus Program going from strength to strength, attracting bright young beef leaders and leading industry experts from across the country.’
Emma took the opportunity to remind attendees that they were just at the start of their journey.
‘I really encourage you to ask lots of questions, the people I’ve already met tonight are quite deliberate with what they’re looking to get out of the program and I think that’s fantastic. You’ve come here with some real purpose, so make the most of it.’
‘I was told tonight the theme is about investing in your people, and at Achmea, we really encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. And that really means not pretending, it really means bringing who you are to work and that it’s also okay not to be okay. And that way we can truly be in it together through the ups and downs of life, but also the ups and downs of business,’ said Emma.
Touching on the importance of community, Emma implored attendees to leverage the opportunity they have.
‘The GenAngus Future Leaders Program alumni can provide you a supportive community. You can learn from, support, and share through life challenges, farming, business opportunities that may come’.
During her speech Emma highlighted, that at Achmea Australia they have a vision of protecting and enhancing a sustainable future for agricultural communities.
‘Stronger agribusiness means stronger families, which means stronger communities. And that’s why we, as a specialist agricultural insurer, are committed to supporting farmers and growers of today and the agricultural leaders of tomorrow, so that we can continue to feed the world as partners and sustainably.’
‘Through your journey with Gen Angus and beyond, this can help you strengthen and promote the resilience of Australian agriculture. So, your learnings, your eagerness to innovate, your abilities, resilience and adaptability are key as we collectively face challenges like climate sustainability, transitions, food security, volatile economic conditions and the rise of artificial intelligence,’ added Emma.
‘As future leaders in agriculture, you inspire possibilities. Sometimes there may be no readymade solution to the problems that you encounter, but it’s up to you to pave the way, seek support, ask for help and lean into the future.’
‘Your leadership will shape the future of the industry and we’re counting on it.’
A PROGRAM LIKE NO OTHER
Achmea Australia CEO Emma Thomas summed GenAngus up perfectly when speaking about what lead to the development of the program, ‘This program really was intended to fill a gap where we saw there was some great youth leadership programs, but nothing for once you graduated from being in your ‘youth’, what was next to enhance you on your leadership and development journey? And that was both in Australia and New Zealand.’
GenAngus was designed to push participants out of their comfort zone, challenge their business perceptions, increase their knowledge and confidence, and inspire them to put into practice the outcomes they gained from the event.
With that in mind a carefully curated program was put together, with presentations made by:
Pete Clark, 21 Whispers – Developing a growth mindset: A stirring presentation on the power of the mind and the ability we have to control it if we train to do so. The attendees were given the chance to think laterally and learn about how their mindset influences what they see as well as other key messages such as trying to envisage seeing both sides of difficult situations and keeping focused on the gains, not the gaps in our challenges.
According to Pete, ‘As the world changes and adjust to our new normal, our mindset will be the difference that makes the difference.’
Richard Officer, Achmea Australia – The importance of Risk Mitigation & Liability: Brought some real-world perspective and palpable examples of how insurance and risk mitigation is a critical part of business, particularly in agriculture. Richard used a game show to break down some knowledge barriers and start the conversations about how attendees might mitigate risk in their business and highlight steps to take to ensure their business and family are covered when unexpected situations arise.
Simon Quilty, Global Agritrends – The Outlook for Australian beef: Had attendees hanging on every word of his presentation about the ebbs and flows of the world protein market and in particular Australian Beef. Simon provided candid and valuable insight into the similarities the Australian beef industry currently has with the 1970’s but also why he feels that the current time is going to be the “golden era” for beef based on world supply decreasing, Australian supply increasing and the world demanding more quality, which positions Australia with an enormous opportunity.
Jake Phillips & Nancy Crawshaw, Angus Australia – A breeding Program by Design: Produced a series of key messages that challenged the group to focus on being objective with their comparison of genetics, to focus on developing a breeding objective and to focus on what the limiting factor for production is in particular animals and indeed herds. Attendees soon became focused on their own herd goals and selection criteria as each of the attendees’ breeding objective was discussed and dismantled to reveal which was objective and which was subjective and where the right path to success was more likely going to be.
Milly Nolan, The Livestock Collective; Richard Officer, Achmea Australia; Erica Halliday, Ben Nevis Angus; Nancy Crawshaw, Angus Australia and Simon Quilty, Global Agritrends – Careers in Agriculture: A panel discussion on their career trajectory in agriculture and some sliding doors moments on how they ended up in the position they have. These conversations included sharing some lows and the vulnerabilities they faced along their journey, as well as the incredible highs they have achieved in their careers in the agricultural image.
Diana Wood & Cheyne Twist, Angus Australia – Marketing & Branding 101: An oversight to branding, what sets us apart, how colours and themes and consistency can influence a customer’s perception and some key notes on defining who you are as a business. Diana and Cheyne encouraged everyone to know their core business, identify what sets them apart, research their competitors and the market and to always focus on quality. Diana and Cheyne also reminded attendees it is never too early to start their marketing plan and to also delve in to their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a way to start working through concepts.
Heidi Wright & Jaymee Koch – Wright Social A deep dive into social media: Gave an inspirational session on all thing’s social media. Heidi and Jaymee covered the dos, the don’ts, the must haves, and the best-in-class advice for business using the world of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to engage with customers and followers around the world. The group were challenged to define their goals and what they wanted to achieve, to define their target audience and imagine what that audience will resonate with and finally to craft the message to generate genuine engagement.
John Francis Agrista – Beef Benchmarking: With a proven understanding of the drivers of productivity and profitability in broadacre agriculture. John took attendees through the process to develop and implement strategies that improve operational performance and deliver increased financial returns. John challenged the group to look at on farm performance assessment and comparative analysis to identify opportunities for improvement in productivity and profitability.
Jess Cavanagh and Isobel Knight, Proagtive – Sucession Planning: Provided candid insight into the often-contentious dilemma of succession planning by presenting valuable information on the key components to successful succession planning. The attendees were able to have open and honest discussions as a group, while looking at real life scenarios that had played out in other families, with Jess and Isobel able to provide thought provoking insight into how best practice succession planning works, what’s required and the most appropriate time frames to monitor to ensure the best result can be achieved for all interested parties.
Angus Street, Auctions Plus – Building a team culture: Angus provided the group with candid and personal insight into the success of the business based on values, culture and having the right people. Angus also challenged the group that growth and comfort do not coexist and that thinking digitally needs to be a foundation pillar of businesses going forward. The attendees were totally inspired by Angus’s presentation and felt an emotive connection to Angus who laid much of his own life lessons on the table for the benefit of the group.
Milly Nolan, The Livestock Collective – DISC Profiling: Prior to GenAngus attendees completed DICS assessments producing a profile designed to assist their understanding of self and others, to learn how to build relationships, relate better with one another and learn how differing perspectives affect relationships. The DISC model identifies the main behavioral styles to facilitate interaction with people to more effectively manage and communicate. Milly had attendees deep dive into their behavioral styles to help them identify how they can better interact in team environments. The attendees were encouraged to share their profiles with each other and open up on ways they could use their style to their advantage in business.
Francis English, Judo Bank & Matthew Merret, Bretnalls – Finance Fundamentals for Young Farmers: Provided a wealth of knowledge to attendees on finance fundamentals for young farmers. Attendees were provided with advice around the importance of accurate bookkeeping and finance management, relationships with bankers, lawyers, and accountants. Attendees were encouraged to find the people and professions that will help them in business and life and get them on their team by bringing them into the circle, a close-knit group of contacts working together.
YOU’RE ONLY A LEADER WHEN YOU’VE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD
Angus Australia CEO Scott Wright is extremely proud of the GenAngus Future Leaders Program and believes it is one of the most positive items the organisation delivers.
As CEO, Scott had the privilege to spend time with the GenAngus Leaders from 2020, 2021 and 2022 when they all gathered last year and looks forward to doing the same again in 2023, ‘We really enjoy being able to come and sit on the sidelines, because we are excited to see what you become and I love the stories that come out of GenAngus and the success that comes from the program.’
‘One thing to remember is in leadership is you’re only a leader when you’ve been given the opportunity to lead.’
‘You guys were selected from a large group of people. There were a lot of fine candidates, and you come from a range of backgrounds. But I think always it’s healthy in leadership to remind ourselves that we’ve been very fortunate to be given the roles that we have, and we need to stay grounded, said Scott.
In summarising his views on leadership, Scott left the participants with four things to think about.
‘Be thankful that the times we live in with agriculture are unprecedented, be generous and look after each other, give back to what is important to you, And then finally I’d say you’re a very bright, talented group of people, but watch for the storm clouds that one day will come, and they will come and be prepared for those when they do arrive. Learn what you can now. Support each other, encourage one another, and you’ll go, well, I’m sure the breed is in good hands going forward.
“Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.” These words resonate deeply with our program’s philosophy, as we believe that true leadership is rooted in empathy, integrity, and the ability to uplift others. With this guiding principle in mind, we have curated a dynamic curriculum that nurtures these qualities within each participant. Through immersive experiences, thought-provoking discussions, and hands-on projects, we strive to cultivate a new generation of compassionate and visionary leaders who will shape a brighter future.
Diana Wood, Marketing & Communications Manager