Board

Sarah Parker GAICD

President and General Board Director, located in Victoria and National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) Representative

Sarah relocated from Brisbane to the Goulburn Valley, 10 years ago, to commence dairy farming with her husband Raymond. Within 2 years, they purchased an irrigated dairy farm “Glencliffe”, where they run a stud registered Illawarra and Holstein herd supplying milk to a boutique Italian Cheese Company, FRESH CHEESE.

They also enjoy showing their Illawarra Cows, winning Intermediate and Reserve Intermediate Champion Illawarra Cow at International Dairy Week in 2012, and Reserve Champion in the 2013  All World Red Photographic Competition.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Leisure Management, Certificate IV in Work Place Assessment Training and a Masters in Agriculture and Rural Development. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Course.

Sarah’s professional roles have included Young Dairy Development Coordinator and Chief Executive at Murray Dairy; Projects and Development Coordinator at University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus, and Rural Entrepreneur Developer for Marcus Oldham College. She is currently employed as an Industry Trainer in Certificate II and III Agriculture and Horticulture and as a consultant in the dairy industry.

Sarah and her husband Raymond are both very committed to their industry, agriculture and community. They strongly believe in giving back to the industry and community that provided an opportunity to follow a dream.

Sarah’s current involvement in Agriculture includes the VFF Work Place Relations and Education and Farm Business and Regional Development Committees; Industry Advocate and Farmer Representative for Cows Create Careers; Board Member for Food and Primary Skills Victoria, Publicity Officer for Illawarra Cattle Society of Australia, Victorian Branch and Member of the Murray Dairy Industry Steering Group.

Aileen O’Sullivan

Vice President & General Board Director, located in Victoria

Aileen lives and works on a farm in rural Victoria. She is married to Greg. Together with two of their five adult sons, they operate a Primary Production and Hay contracting business. Her role is supporting the administration and production of cereal crops, hay, lucerne, prime lambs and wool at their properties in Victoria and New South Wales.

She completed a Bachelor of Education and taught in Melbourne before returning to central Victoria. She has volunteered on Boards of Community Groups for over thirty years, whilst raising a family and working as the administration officer for the family farming business. She has practical experience in Agriculture and a vested interest in the secure future of Australian Agriculture.

Elizabeth Brennan

Company Secretary and Board Director representing Western Australia

Elizabeth has facilitated a number of community and agricultural development programs in her home WA Wheatbelt region, across Australia and abroad as an AusAID volunteer in Papua New Guinea. She currently manages marketing strategy development and implementation for one of the largest citrus operations in WA, Moora Citrus, and coordinates an agricultural research program in PNG for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Elizabeth is a member of the Liebe Group Women’s Committee, the World Farmers’ Organisation Women’s Committee and a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. She was awarded the Outstanding Emerging Leader award in the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness 100 and was recently named 2016 WA Young Achiever of the Year.

Maria Brown-Shepherd

Treasurer, Board Director representing Victoria

Maria has been a member of AWIA since 2008 after her invitation to attend the National Rural Women Summit 2008 – Canberra. Maria lives and works on a farm in rural Victoria on an irrigated property just north of Shepparton. She is married to George and together they have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Maria is a Primary Producer and holds a certificate in Horticulture production.  Maria is a small business owner and recently completed a Small Business Management Course with RMIT. Maria has a homebased business being Longhaven Orchard where she produces a sophisticated range of jams, jellies and preserves all made from produce from her extensive orchard and garden. Maria was a Scholarship Recipients 2015 Australian Institute of Company Directors. Maria in an active participant in her local community being on various committees.  Maria is President of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District since 2011. Shepparton has a large immigrant community. Maria works off the farm as a Family Day Care in Home Care and is currently studying Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Maria is a third generation agriculturalist and active community member with a passion for the land and heritage food values. Maria is nonetheless a passionate communicator  and training provider, willing to share her experience and deep knowledge of fruit growing, seasonal food production and marketing.

Nerida Cullen

Assistant Company Secretary, Board Director representing New South Wales/ACT and National Rural Law and Justice Alliance (NRLJA) Representative

Nerida is an active participant in rural and city endeavours, in leadership roles and as a team member to improve social, economic and environmental outcomes for her community and especially for rural women. She has served in many roles and was previously the Co-chair of NSW Rural Women’s Network Rural Women’s Council which advised government on issues pertinent to rural, regional and remote women. She was also a foundation member and Past President of both the Cootamundra and Goulburn Soroptimists. She also held the position of Deputy Chair of the Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority.

She is currently the Chair of NSW’s Rural Women Connect and President of the Berrima and District Credit Union Goulburn Hospital Fundraising Inc. She was recognised for her dedication to rural women and her community when named Goulburn Woman of the Year as part of the 2013 NSW Woman of the Year and nominated for Goulburn Citizen of the Year in 2014.

She has wide and recognised experience in education and holds both Bachelor and Master’s degrees in education and education administration. She is on the Board of the Goulburn and District Education Foundation providing scholarships to rural young people.

She lives on the outskirts of Goulburn with her husband Ron. They grow lavender and agist cattle, and are establishing an extensive parkland setting for future generations to enjoy.

Maureen Holland

Assistant Treasurer and Board Director representing Tasmania

Maureen and her husband, Bruce have a sheep and beef cattle property in Northern Tasmania, and she is a firm believer in females being recognised for the role they play on farms.

Maureen is a Past President of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture, current President of Tasmanian Breast Cancer Network, Community Liaison for Breast Cancer Network Australia, participant of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and has a background in Banking, Enterprise Centre – Small Business Startup, Stock & Station Agency and currently works part time in Administration for an Aged Care Facility.

She has two children and five grandchildren, loves being with them, as well as enjoying all forms of sport.

Charlotte Aves

Membership Coordinator and General Board Director, located in Victoria

Charlotte is currently based in Dookie, Victoria and is a remote PhD candidate with Adelaide University investigating glyphosate resistance in fleabane and its management in mixed systems. Charlotte is on the committee of Riverine Plains Inc, a progressive grower group dedicated to improving the productivity of broadacre farming systems in Northeast Victoria and Southern NSW.

Originally from the UK she gained a BSc(Hons) in agriculture and started her career working in arable crop research in Yorkshire and West England. She then moved into working in bookkeeping on mixed and dairy farms across South East England before deciding to travel. Since leaving the UK she has worked in crop research in New Zealand and WA before settling at Dookie where she worked for Melbourne University as a research assistant initially focused on drought management before moving into herbicide resistance.

Charlotte is passionate about Australian agriculture and she feels a thriving agricultural industry is the backbone of vibrant and sustainable rural communities.

Donna Digby

Board Director representing the Northern Territory

Donna has been living and working in rural and regional communities in Victoria and in the Northern Territory for the past twelve years, where her work has focused on working with land managers to deliver sustainable land management programs. She currently lives in Alice Springs, NT with her husband Matt.

Donna was first introduced to AWiA through her participation in the Next Gen Program in September 2010 and has been an active member for the past five years and Director (General Member, 2012) and NT Director since 2013. Donna was a Board Director with the National Rural Women’s Coalition representing AWiA. Donna brings strong skills in program management and reporting, corporate governance, community engagement, fostering resilient partnerships and enthusiasm to Australian Women in Agriculture.

Domenica Jensen JP

Board Director representing Queensland

Domenica Jensen (MBus; FAICD) works alongside husband Craig in their grain farming and contracting harvesting enterprises  based in Biloela, central Queensland. She also works on the development and delivery of regional and national training programs.

Her customised education programs and business solutions have (and continue to)  assist and support rural farm businesses and communities (predominantly women and CALD sectors) to develop and broaden their individual and community capacity to help minimise their access, equity, and socio economic barriers – something she is passionate about.

Her work has been recognised through many local, state and national awards and various national publications.

Domenica, a business and IT lecturer since 2006, has served on local, state and ministerial appointed boards for over 20 years. A graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the South Australian Rural Leadership Program, she holds formal qualifications in business, education, accounting, IT and Management, including a Master of Business, an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration, a diploma of Corporate Governance and an Advanced Diploma of Rural Business Management. She is currently completing her Master of Commerce specialising in financial planning, taxation, IT risk management and auditing.

She is qualified Justice of the Peace, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Australian College of Educators and a member of the Australian Federation of Graduate Women.

Gillian Fennell

Board Director representing South Australia

Born and bred in North West Queensland, Gillian moved to South Australia 13 years ago when the family purchased Lambina Station – a million acre rangelands cattle station in the Far North of SA, where we run 4500 Charbray breeders. Gillian was the only South Australian to be selected to attend the recent Cattle Council of Australia Australian Institute of Company Directors Course and is the President of the Remote and Isolated Children’s Exercise. Passionate about the continuation of family owned & operated farms and stations and letting everyone be heard. Gillian believes that when you choose to serve on a board, the operative word is SERVE; that the board is there to represent the members and should listen to members’ concerns and address them wherever possible.

Kate Auty

General Board Director, located in Victoria

Kate is a long-term member and supporter of AWiA. With a long history of living and working in agricultural settings and currently owner of a Droughtmaster Stud and Angus commercial enterprise NE Victoria. Interested in women on boards, sustainable agriculture and regional towns and cities, climate change, science communication, governance, community engagement; network includes scientists, academics, politicians and leadership groups; Kate actively pursues the change she would like to see as Commissioner for environment/sustainability and as a member of four boards including Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation and MDBA advisory committee. Kate is also a Barrister and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne.