Since its first event in 2019, the GenAngus Future Leaders Program has seen five cohorts take part in the program, accounting for sixty alumni, all of whom are representative points from the beef industry here in Australia and across the ditch in New Zealand. 

To share their experience during and post GenAngus, the 2023 cohort had the opportunity to listen to three returning GenAngus participants from the 2020 and 2022 cohorts,- Brodie Collins, Jack Laurie and Nancy Crawshaw. 

In the theme of handing over the legacy, the returning alumni shared about their experience, how it differed from each other, and their advice to the latest cohort regarding how to engage in the process. 

Kicking off the introduction was Brodie Collins, Merridale Angus, Victoria, “I was part of the 2020 crew, which we did online and was really cool.” 

“It took a fair bit, considering I’m more of a hands-on sort of person, to stare at a computer screen for nearly three days. It was a bit of a credit to the program itself that a lot of likeminded people like me actually sat there and actually listened to it and watched it.” 

When asked about what his tomorrow looked like three years on from his inclusion in the program, Brodie highlighted some real-life instances where a throwback to what he learnt during GenAngus assisted his beef business. 

“The social media side of things for me was really something I’d obviously grown up with, so I took that on the farm with the marketing side of things.  We had a go, and we were quite successful with it and managed to get a couple of good photos of a couple of good bulls.” 

“A couple of years ago, we topped out our sale at $50,000, which was a fairly big thing for us. We’re quite a small stud so we were pretty happy with that.” 

“Then this year I learnt actually off another cohort member, George Giddings of Meadowslea Angus, NZ (2022). He does a lot of live streaming, so this year I actually put my dad on the microphone and videoed what we thought were our best bulls and live streamed just out in the paddock, just bulls walking around, eating a bit of grass, chewing a bit of cud and the feedback back from our guys that saw it was that they loved it!” 

Furthermore, Brodie explained that he utilised some mindset methodology that he picked up from the GenAngus program in parts of his leadership journey, however this time outside of farm life. 

“I was coaching over the last couple of years a senior football side back home, and through Angus Street, CEO of AuctionsPlus learnt about the story from Richard McCaw where he talks about sweeping the sheds.” 

“He played 100 test matches or whatever it was, and he was still last in the sheds cleaning up while everyone had gone, and just that symbolised a lot to me, and I actually took it home to the local footy club.” 

He continued, “A lot of the boys probably thought I was pretty funny when I played it on audiobook through the speakers.  I thought if it lasts and they take something out of it, that’s good. But when I stepped down this year just to focus on other things, a couple of the players brought it up.” 

“We had four key fundamentals we brought up this year, and that’s our key topics that we live by, and one of them was sweep the sheds. I thought, well, that’s obviously stuck with at least one of the players, but the fact that it got through to the top four out of 20 or 25 priorities, I thought it’s done something, and I learnt that from here (GenAngus).” 

 When looking back at his experience the year before and how he then implemented things he had learnt from the program, Jack Laurie also pointed out sessions relating to mindset, amongst other tangible take homes. 

“Pete (Clark of 21 Whispers) is going to whip you in to gear pretty quick and so that really resonated with me. It had been a lot of being driven to meet this, do this, do that – this is the goal, then hit that next one when actually probably investing in myself was more important,” said Jack, speaking on his work in his business, semen company Breeder Genetics. 

“A lot of things have changed internally rather than externally that people probably wouldn’t realise and that’s fine.  In other things, with the social media information I tried to get a bit more active on that and do some different things, as well as also some internal business with some finance things.  Through doing things like that we have changed in the last twelve months quite dramatically.” 

For Nancy Crawshaw, who currently is based in South Australia and is a Breed Development Officer at Angus Australia but originates from New Zealand, the GenAngus Program created touch points of network for her around the country that she didn’t have before, and values to this day not just in a professional sense, but personally as well. 

“I’ve been  living in Australia for five years, but those first four years I’d been over here, I probably had no touch points at all.  I went and saw a few members, looked at bulls here and there, but really the whole youth side of the program I was completely out of, and being away from New Zealand, I was out of that youth program there as well.” 

“When I first came over, cattle were worth nothing, so meat works (the part of the supply chain she was working in at the time) were making a lot of money, so we were three on one off Saturdays for two years, then we finally got some weekends and all of a sudden COVID struck,” she said. 

“So, it was four years pretty much completely out of the Angus industry apart from going home for bull sales when I could, so it was actually pretty eye opening for me getting back in a room with a whole lot of people, similar age, similar interests, all passionate, really keen on Angus and just being back involved in that sort of positive environment in that room.” 

A big thing people don’t realise is since our event, we’ve all be talking to each other nearly weekly.  We were actually quite lucky for the 2022 program to see three cohorts at the one event and since that event, I would have seen 50% of those members out on the road.” 

“That network you’ve got and the conversations we have, they’re not just airy fairy, how’s your day? It’s proper in-depth business conversations, getting through that nitty gritty and bouncing ideas around off each other, that now we can use going forward.” 

All three of retuning GenAngus participants had some wise wisdom for the class of 2023. 

“Do not to worry too much about what’s going on over the fence, on the neighbour’s property or what Jack’s doing, what Nancy’s doing,” said Brodie. “You’ve got yourself to worry about and what your goals are and that should be all that matters to you.” 

“What drives you to tick off your little boxes, no matter how big or small they are. Little wins are little wins.” 

Speaking from his perspective, Jack said, “The amount of information that’s headed your way over the next couple of days is quite overwhelming. If you try and write down everything these speakers say you, A, are going to need about five notebooks, but B, you’re going to be burnt out by the end of the day.” 

“After each talk, recognise two takeaways for yourself. Try and absorb everything, but if you actually try and really take in everything, it’s not going to work.” 

“There’s so much you’re going to get in the next couple of days from all sorts of facets of the industry, life and business management. Really hone in on those few things from each talk and you’ll come out of it much better.” 

Wrapping up the sentiment, Nancy highlighted that sometimes comfortability needs to be left at the door. 

“The thing I would like to say is get comfortable being uncomfortable.  That is something I didn’t like initially, but the more I’ve done that, the more you can sit back and realise that’s when you actually learn a lot more, when you’re not comfortable in a situation.” 


Cheyne Twist, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer