The Next Generation looking to lead

March 31, 2022 12:42 pm

With news the 2022 GenAngus Future Leader Program applications are now open, we also look back at the 2021 event and it’s recipients.

The beef industry is in good hands if the group of young beef industry professionals that attended the recent GenAngus Future Leaders Program, proudly supported by Achmea Australia, is the yardstick for measuring future success. 

After eighteen months of delays, both the 2020 and 2021 cohorts of the GenAngus Future Leaders Program were finally able to attend, albeit via ZOOM, the highly anticipated program, as they look to start their own business or further develop a business. 

The program was designed to challenge the participants business perceptions, increase their knowledge and confidence and inspire them to put into practice the outcomes they gained from the event. 

The opportunity to participate in the inaugural event was extended to: 

CLASS OF 2021-  

Amber Clark, Kempsey NSW
Tim Finger, Mansfield Vic
Rebecca George
Dayna Gray, Tas
Jasmin Green, Uranquinty NSW 

Edwina Hall, Flinders Island Tas
Chris Metcalf, Manypeaks WA
Liam Mowbray, Barrington NSW
Jamie Pepper, Tahara Vic 

Angus Pilmore, Casterton Vic 

Sara Scott, Armidale NSW

CLASS OF 2020-  

Brodie Collins, Tennyson, VIC
Katie Fisher, Wallarobba, NSW
Hugh McKay, Yea, VIC
Ellenor Nixon, Merriwa, NSW
Alkira Riley, Koonwarra, VIC
Rebecca Rundell, Branxholme, VIC
Damien Thomson, Berremangra, NSW
Lachlan Woods, Estella, NSW 


Presentations were made by: 

  • Pete Clark – 21 Whispers: 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.  
  • Diana Wood – Angus Australia: 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 encouraged everyone to know your core business, identify what sets you apart, research your competitors and the market and to always focus on quality. Diana also reminded attendees it is never too early to start your marketing plan. 
  • Deanna Lush – AgCommunicators:  Took a deep dive into shared values in communication and techniques on how to establish common ground with your customers, the community and even segments of the community that are against what you do and how you do it. Deanna’s session challenged the participants to think critically and be open minded when having conversations or communicating their business news to the world.  
  • Tim Gentle – Think Digital: Showcased the latest virtual and augmented reality tools available to industry and where they might fit in showcasing businesses through to individual animals. Attendees got to build 360⁰ photos and videos and learn techniques Tim has used to help showcase the beef and lamb supply chain for industry and private businesses all over the world 
  • Richard Officer – Achmea Australia: 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.  
  • Francis English – Rabobank: Provided a wealth of knowledge to attendees on finance fundamentals for young farmers. Attendees who were provided with advice around the importance of accurate bookkeeping and finance management, relationships with bankers, lawyers, and accountants. Francis also outlined his methodology to helping clients succeed in their financial goals which are based on the 5 C’s which stand for cash flow, collateral, capital, condition, and character. Francis also encouraged attendees 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.  
  • Simon Quilty – Global Agritrends: 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.  
  • Matt Reynolds – Angus Australia: 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.  
  • Heidi Wright – Wright Social: Gave an inspirational session on all thing’s social media. Heidi 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. Heidi challenged the group 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.  
  • Angus Street – Auctions Plus: 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. 
  • Holly Ludeman – The Livestock Collective: A group of industry representatives who provide advocacy and insight into the supply chains of animals in Australia. Holly has been at the leading edge of busting myths and conspiracy around live export, transport, animal welfare and processing of livestock by highlighting the enormous positive and proactive approach the Australian industry takes to be the best in class. Holly shared her personal journey from becoming a vet and auditing the live export supply chains, to taking film crews on live export boats to capture real footage through to now heading up the Livestock Collective which facilitates the agricultural industry to share their story and provide consumers with real life examples of the wonderful job Australian farmers do. 
  • Jess Cavanagh and Steven Mirtshin – Proagtive: 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 with Jess and Steve 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. 


Don’t be afraid to take risks 

In opening the GenAngus Future Leaders Program, Andrew Doughman, the acting CEO (Chief Executive Officer) for Achmea Australia congratulated the participants on being selected and encouraged them to get the most out of all the sessions as possible.  

‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can understand how the topics will apply to your personal story and use this for what it is, a really great networking opportunity to engage with both participants and presenters.’  

‘Forming connections will really help kickstart your careers, as it is people like yourselves that will come up with the new ideas and help push the implementation of new technologies over the next few decades in the agriculture industry’. 

Andrew also highlighted that the strategic alliance that has been developed with Angus Australia is in tune with the beliefs of Achmea and their motto to ‘Keep farmers farming’ and as such a partnership to help create future industry leaders is a great program to be involved in. 

When it comes to managing risk, Andrew noted that risk is not just something to think about when it comes to insurance, risk should be thought of in the context of careers. 

‘What do you need to do to manage the risk of your career, given the changing world we are in and how can you mitigate that’. 

In sharing his personal story, Andrew noted that it is important to map out where you want to go, manage the risks and end up doing something you enjoy.  

‘Identify the risk, identify what you can do and put a plan in place to get there’. 

Angus Australia’s President and Board Chairman, Sam White, Bald Blair Angus, Guyra NSW noted that the Youth are the future and for Angus Australia that is never truer than now and programs like GenAngus will mean the next generation is ready to lead.  

‘When you look at the program you are about to embark on, it is magnificent, with the speakers and topics that will contribute to your learning experience, it is more than likely that at some point in your life you will connect with some of these people’.  

For Mr White’s business, Bald Blair are clients of Achmea, have worked with ProAgtive, AuctionsPlus is a major part of the business and the information that Simon Quilty puts out is integral.  

In summing up his welcome Mr White had some sage advice for each and every participant. 

‘Every experience that you guys are going to have, will add to you as a person. I look forward to seeing the names from this program on the board in the next decade or two. Gain as much experience as you can, and the board awaits the enthusiasm that comes with youth’. 


What the participants had to say 

Lachlan Woods, Estella, NSW, is a Vet Science student at Charles Sturt University, and his family own and operate an Angus cow herd and Black Suffolk ewe flock near Bylong, NSW, gained a lot from the session on mindset. 

‘I was encouraged by the process to think back on a really successful time and apply that to a time when there is anxiety or a lack of confidence and using that success to build upon the situation.’  

Lachlan also enjoyed hearing about the pace of Ag Tech and the application to improve productivity. 

Liam Mowbray is a young beef cattle producer from Barrington NSW and while working as a vet has been building both a registered and commercial Angus cow-calf operation over the past 6 years. For Liam there were a number of topics that stood out for him. 

‘Broadly speaking brand identity and marketing are important, as well as leadership and advocacy in what we are doing in our business.’  

‘In terms of objectives I can hit straight away, I will be looking to design a branding guide to ensure consistency with marketing assets and will implement a social media strategy.’ 

Fourth generation farmer, Rebecca George from Central West NSW, runs a mixed enterprise operation comprised of dry land broad acre cropping, white dorper meat sheep and Angus cattle, found it extremely hard to narrow down the topics she found to be key. 

‘In saying that I appreciate that building off farm wealth as an individual is an important part of succession planning and I enjoyed learning about how to engage with people outside of ag and enjoy constructive conversations with those people’.   

Rebecca’s immediate actions out of GenAngus include, ‘Getting more active on social media and sitting down with my dad to review our insurance policy and look at risk mitigation strategies.’ 

Another fourth-generation farmer, Jamie Pepper from Tahara, western Victoria a newcomer to the Angus breed, buying his first 19 heifers last year, found all the GenAngus topics to be truly relevant. But when pushed for a key learning it was the ‘Ask, listen, share’ rhetoric that came in the Ag Communicators session that he found most fascinating.  

When it came to actions, he can take immediately, ‘Following Matt’s presentation I am going to work really hard on setting a breeding objective and after listening to Francis, I’ll be getting across the financial aspects quite quickly to ensure I can run a successful business.’  

Tim Finger, a third-generation beef farmer from Mansfield, Victoria is currently working as the farm manager on his family-owned Angus Stud, Riga Angus.  

Tim believed that the first session on mindset was a wonderful way to start GenAngus, ‘It really set the tone to make us realise we are already leaders, not future leaders.  

And in terms of immediate actions, Tim plans on setting up a social media marketing plan to decide what will work best promote his stud to new clients. 

Hugh McKay, Yea, VIC, who manages a 500 head herd, whilst also establishing his own enterprise, through operating a small-scale business of trading cattle, took a lot out of the business leadership and finance presentations. 

‘Angus Street’s session on looking at business rhythm is key, getting the timing right, flowing functionally and in harmony to maximise outputs.  

‘I also appreciate that both Angus and Franics English encouraged us to embrace digital technology and utilise available software to drive more accurate business decisions and to make evidence-based decisions.’ 

South Australian based Dayna Gray, who grew up on a small beef cattle property in the northwest of Tasmania, commenced a Livestock Pregnancy Scanning business early this year that has now become her full-time job, gained a lot from Peter Clarke from 21 Whispers.  

‘Pete reminded us to focus on what you are doing and remember you are capable of doing more than you think and to push yourself outside your comfort zone.’ 

In looking to the near future following GenAngus, Dayna hopes to build on the marketing and social media strategy she has already developed and get it implemented, and from a family succession perspective is planning to do more off farm and look at building a future for her and her husband.  

Rebecca Rundell of Branxholme, VIC, who currently manages a small cattle stud, Shady Park Angus really enjoyed the sessions on virtual and augmented reality, as well as the finance fundamentals. 

‘It was highlighted how important it is to have a cash flow budget, but to also compare how that stacks up in the environment and looking at risk management. We get tied up in everyday routine and when something goes wrong it is good to have something sitting in the background.’  

‘But my immediate take home is to work on social media and connect with a wider network’. 

Jasmine Green grew up on a commercial Angus operation and was heavily involved in the Angus Youth program as a junior. Now Jasmine runs a small, registered Angus herd at Merryvale in the NSW Southern Tablelands and with her husband Hayden runs their own seed-stock business, Summit Livestock.  

One of Jasmine’s key take homes was, ‘To be courageous was a theme that stuck with me across multiple sessions, and I hope to walk away and implement that in my business.’  

‘Discussions that will progress from this workshop and the skill sets that have been given to us as young people moving forward in the industry are important, it really shows the vision Achmea has got in terms of supporting the industry.’  

Edwina Hall, a third-generation beef farmer from Flinders Island, TAS, where she works alongside her parents on their family property and will mate 2,500 breeding females this spring, along with her own Angus herd consisting of 85 breeders, really enjoyed the presentation from Angus Street on leadership.  

‘It was great to hear about what makes a great and effective leader and how great communication is integral to business. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone for success.’  

The changes, Ms Hall would like to make soon include, ‘The need have succession planning conversations as a family, the need to develop a plan for my breeding objectives, spend more time on finance fundamentals such as budgeting and benchmarking and to get my insurance sorted with Achmea.’ 

Chris Metcalfe is a third-generation farmer based near Manypeaks on the South Coast of WA, farming alongside his parents and brother where their cattle enterprise includes the Koojan Hills Angus stud, believed that all the speakers were engaging, but if he had to pick one, it was Simon Quilty’s session that really had him buzzing.  

‘We have some really big business decisions coming up over the next 12 months within the family business, so to get a really good understanding of the market from someone of Simon’s calibre was invaluable and I will look to action some of what he has taught me’. 

Brodie Collins, Tennyson, VIC, who currently works on farm for his family Angus Stud, Merridale Angus took a lot away from the presentation by Angus Street.  

‘I really appreciated the quote ‘nobody is too good to clean the sheds’ and how important it is to be the best version of yourself, that is be you and do it well. ’  

‘The things I will be looking at straight away will be a brand identity for the business and keeping things consistent as I want it to be recognisable. I will also be implementing more advertising and social media’. 

Damien Thomson, Berremangra, NSW, who manages his family’s commercial and seedstock Angus operations, was impressed by the GenAngus program 

‘What an incredible program that exceeded all expectations.’  

‘I was really interested in looking at the genetic progress equation and what you can control in breeding straight away, I also really enjoyed the mindset and focusing on looking at positive visualisation and how to drive self-belief.’  

Damien intends to share more videos on social media focusing on connecting through values and looking at the listen ask share process straight away and, ‘I was also inspired by the quote, ‘The answer is in the room,’ the network we have created with GenAngus is awesome.’ 

As a Veterinary Science student at Charles Sturt University, Wagga NSW, South Australian Angus Pilmore has a particular interest in seedstock cattle, business improvement, livestock reproduction and management and while he was the youngest participant in GenAngus with limited business experience, he saw his involvement in GenAngus as learning the skills to set him up for the future, particularly when it came to working through ag communication.  

‘I am hoping one day as a vet in ag to positively promote ag through healthy conversations and listening. I also took a lot out of the leadership course sessions and will personally further outline my goals and objectives and work out where I want to go’.  

And as for what Angus hopes to implement straight away, ‘I want to get more active on social media and build my own personal brand until I have developed my own business’.  

Alkira Riley, Koonwarra, VIC currently works as a Trainee Stock Agent, and recently began her own Angus stud, was another one that was inspired by mindset.  

‘To believe that ‘you are the superpower’ you need to remember that and get in the right mindset to be confident in business.’ 

‘My plans following GenAngus are to consolidate my brand and get out there more on social media, to let people know who I am, I can make my brand or stud, or business stand out through my passion.’ 

Amber Clark, from Kempsey on the mid north coast of NSW has an aim to breed her own line of Angus cattle with sustainability and performance in mind. At the conclusion of GenAngus, Ms Clark was overwhelmed with the knowledge and inspiration gained from the event but is ready to tackle some innovative ideas head on. 

‘Mindset and communication are key, having the confidence to believe in what we are trying to achieve in our new business and the communications skills for having the tough conversations with people, including our family succession, but also communicating with professionals to gain tips and knowledge to make better decisions are something for me to work on,’ said Amber.  

The actions that Amber intends to implement straight away include designing the branding for her business and to get started with social media marketing. ‘We have nothing to sell yet but promoting our story, journey and vision to build peoples interest will mean we will hopefully have clients lining up and waiting because they like what we are trying to achieve.’ 

Katie Fisher of Wallarobba, NSW, was brought up on an Angus commercial and stud operation and runs her own small Angus herd, working to grow the business whilst working full time for a local stock and station agency.  

For Katie it was mindset that resonated with her, ‘Be yourself, back yourself – It is great to have all the knowledge from the other GenAngus sessions, but if you do not believe in yourself, you won’t get as far as you want. You need to have the confidence to know where you want to go and what you want to do, to get out there and achieve it.’ 

Following GenAngus, Katie plans to work on social media as it is an interest of hers and will continue to grow her presence and will be having some conversations around succession planning.  

Sarah Scott from Armidale NSW found the mindset session enlightening, along with the leadership. 

 ‘Personal growth and leadership are important as well as building your personal brand and working on that to further develop leadership skills and I plan to implement the building of a personal brand and what I stand for.’  

For Ellenor Nixon, Merriwa, NSW, who runs a small breeding herd alongside her family herd, whilst also being assistant manager of the family agricultural enterprise and working in a full time in a role in Sydney, it was all about community engagement.  

‘Deanna Lush gave a great presentation on being in conversations for the right reasons and highlighted that there no need to be defensive when having these conversations.’  

‘I also appreciated what Pete Clarke had to see when he told us that we are leaders now’.  

Following GenAngus, Ellenor looks to enhance her social media to increase her online presence and will be working to set breeding objectives into breeding projects. 


The future is in safe hands 

In closing the GenAngus Future Leaders Program, Achmea Australia’s Richard Officer congratulated the group on their involvement on the event and noted that it sounds like they got a lot out of the event.  

‘As per what Peter Clarke has to say, ‘The answers are in the room.’ This is relevant to the GenAngus group, as you have a whole group of people you can ask questions of and you should not be afraid to reach out to each other and ask those questions, because you are all in the same boat. And remember, if you get stuck, the answers are in this room.’ 

Richard also instilled in the group that risk is not always negative, risk is often an opportunity. 

Angus Australia Breed Development Officer and GenAngus organiser, Jake Phillips could not have been happier with the outcomes from the event and the enthusiasm shown by the attendees. 

‘The GenAngus program is now a centrepiece in the offering of scholarships, awards and bursaries Angus Australia is able to provide with support from the Angus Foundation” 

“It is clear with the level of interest and the quality of candidates that have applied for the program just how well it is regarded in the beef industry,’ he added. 

“The opportunity to spend time with and be treated to the knowledge from some of Australia’s most well respected and influential agribusiness professionals has been mind blowing for the attendees over the three days.’ 

“From a personal sense, this program has to be something Angus Australia and everyone involved can be immensely proud of, it is tangibly changing young leaders thought processes and encouraging practice change and leadership.’ 

“A huge thanks and appreciation must go to Achmea Australia for their innovation and support to deliver this program over the past three years, it truly is a remarkable partnership.’ 

The GenAngus Future Leaders Program was facilitated by Milly Nolan from the Livestock Collective. 

It is hoped that in the new year that Angus Australia and Achmea Australia will be able to host a face-to-face component for these future leaders to allow them to make personal contact with their peers and many of the presenters to allow them to further develop their industry contacts and network with like-minded individuals that they can turn to when looking for inspiration.