Board

Tiani Cook

President & Board Director representing the Northern Territory

Tiani is an advocate for rural and remote families, focusing work and community involvement solely on these issues which are close to her heart.

Tiani is based in Central Australia where she works for Many Rivers as a Micro-enterprise business development manager helping to sustain economic viability in remote areas.

After living and working on Australia’s most remote cattle station for decades Tiani knows first-hand the challenges of living, raising, and educating a family in very remote locations.

Tiani is the founder and managing director of Horses for Courses for Bush Kids which raises awareness of the issues facing Aussie Bush Kids and their families through projects and programs.

Tiani is currently; on the CRT for the National Rural Women’s Coalition’s Communication Reference Group, NT board member of the Australian Women in Agriculture, and a fellow of the  Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Tiani was State President of the NT Isolated Children’s Parents Association for many years advocating equity of access to education for rural and remote families.

Tiani is passionate about developing strength and resilience in our next generation, sustainable rural communities and ensuring bush families do not suffer inequities simply because of their postcode.

Natalie Sommerville

Vice President and Board Director representing South Australia

Grain, Fodder & Livestock Producer, Spalding SA.

Natalie Sommerville has been involved in the agricultural industry all her life. She is a farmer, grazier, mother, and proud Torres Strait Islander; now calling the Mid North home on Ngadjuri country.

Natalie, together with her husband Dane, have managed their farming business Windjara Ag for 15 years and she has a great understanding of land management issues state-wide as well as decision making and practice change principles in agribusiness.

Driven by her passion for sustainable agriculture and the environment, Natalie’s focus is on influencing positive change in rural Australia and seeing greater innovation, inclusion of gender and age, and respect for diverse backgrounds. She is passionate about sharing her farming, cultural and social knowledge, and experiences to improve outcomes for both current and future generations.

Natalie has extensive connection to SA agricultural industry groups, committees and boards providing a link to important stakeholders. She also has networks on a national level through industry organisations. See voluntarily coordinated a women’s agricultural group for 10 years and was a member of the NRWC communications reference team for 5 years show a commitment to developing and empowering women in rural areas.

Natalie also has a good understanding of genuine engagement, project management, conference planning and extensive strategic planning experience.

With training in board governance, experience in social media and teleconferencing skills including chairing meetings, Natalie brings enthusiasm, diverse skills, connections, and knowledge to the AWiA board table.

 

Fleur McDonald

Company Secretary and Board Director representing Western Australia

Fleur McDonald is a bestselling Australian author, farmer, and women’s rights advocate, living in Esperance, Western Australia.

Growing up in Orroroo SA, Fleur always knew she wanted to be a farmer.  Fleur studied Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College and has since farmed on the south coast of Western Australia for over two decades.

Fleur’s publishing career took off when she was discovered through an open call from Allen & Unwin Publishers in 2009.  Her first novel Red Dust was the highest selling novel by a debut author that year and was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award and Ruby Award in 2010.  With nine of her ten novels set in regional Australia, Fleur is often referred to as ‘the Voice of the Outback’.  A champion for the voice of rural people, Fleur has always strived to positively promote and celebrate women in Agriculture.

Fleur is currently involved with the Committee of Farming Champions, the Bay of Isles Community Outreach Committee and the Esperance & Districts Agricultural Show. She’s an active member with the Rotary Club of Esperance Bay and the first female Co-Director of Prickle Farm, a 607-hectare mixed farm and a major fundraising enterprise for the club.

Fleur was a state-finalist for the prestigious AgriFutures (RRIDC) WA Rural Women’s Award in 2017 and is delighted to join the board of the Australian Women in Agriculture in 2018.  Fleur recently started a not-for-profit organization to support women and children suffering from domestic violence in remote Australia – Breaking the Silence.

Sarah Parker GAICD

Treasurer and Board Director representing Victoria, 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.

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.  Raymond & Sarah were Australian Dairy Farmer of the Year finalists in the 2014 and Sarah was an AgriFutures Victorian Rural Woman of the Year Finalist in 2010.

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

in 2018 Sarah completed the International Dairy Management Course  at  Madison, Wisconsin when she travelled to the USA on a Food Source Victoria Scholarship  to completed the Dairy Management Course and attend World Dairy Expo where she participated in  a number of women in agriculture events including the USA’s Dairy Girl Network.

Sarah also represented Australia at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in 2018 as part of the National Rural Women’s Coalition Delegation.  She attended a range of events and provided input into the conclusions for the theme of “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

Sarah’s professional roles have included Young Dairy Development Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer 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 a director for the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and works as a consultant in the agriculture sector.

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 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, Company Secretary/Treasurer, Australia Dairy Collective Ltd and Treasurer, Illawarra Cattle Society, Victorian Branch.

 

Sally Murfet

Social Media Coordinator and Board Director representing Tasmania 

 

Skye Douglas

Board Director representing Queensland

Skye Douglass is a Beef Farmer and Owner/Manager of HighBrit Beef.  She is a scientist, farmer, small business manager, Landcare volunteer, QRRRWN member, mother, wife, and keen advocate for rural and farming communities.  She also chairs the board of directors of Aussie Farmers Foundation.

Skye lives on a beef cattle farm in the South Burnett, Queensland with her husband, a fourth-generation pastoralist and beef producer, and their four children. Skye has worked in various capacities as a researcher and consultant on a range of projects including wildlife surveys, environmental and wildlife impacts, feral animal and weed species management, and re-vegetation projects.

Skye is a graduate of the National Farmer Federation‘s Diversity in Agricultural Leadership Program. She holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Southern Queensland and  Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning. She also holds various qualifications in sustainable agriculture, farming, and natural resource management.

Lisa Brassington

General Director, located in Victoria 

Lisa currently lives in the south east peri-urban food region of Melbourne, with her husband Nathan, and dogs, Hugo, and Cydney.  She grew up experiencing floods, droughts, and fires of North East Victoria, with family in Livestock and Animal Health, Dairy farming cousins in Gippsland, Crops and Wool producers in Southern Riverina, with in-law’s as Grain farmers in the Wimmera.  Lisa is a medley of agricultural sectors and embrace any opportunities to be surrounded by primary produce, hence you will usually find her at any local Farmers Market.

Lisa’s career and tertiary training have been in agriculture, health care, telecommunications, town planning, and horticulture, combining that experience to work part time for local government in the land use, agribusiness, and health sectors of regional food systems. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations) Medical Imaging from RMIT, Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Hons) and a Masterclass in Horticultural Business from the University of Tasmania.

She participated in the Hort Frontiers Leadership program, and am a graduate in the world class course, developed by University of Tasmania (AUS)Lincoln University (NZ), and Wageningen University & Research Academy (NL).Lisa was inspired to welcome rural women, to share, learn and connect in her home region, as part of the organising committee for the 2018 Women on Farms Gathering (VIC), by the warm leadership of the women who hosted the 2015 International Rural Women’s Conference in Adelaide (SA) and that’s where and when she became aware of the Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) national organisation.

As part of the 2016 National Rural Women’s Coalition e-Leaders Grow, Innovate and Sustain program, Lisa designed a communication, pest surveillance and bio security model that became my 2017 Victoria state-finalist entry for the prestigious AgriFutures (RRIDC) Rural Women’s Award, and was recognised as the National recipient of the Women in Horticulture Award for Excellence.

Lisa currently works in health and wellbeing at local government and is a member of the VicHealth Food Systems and Food Security COVID19 working group.  She also has a business Agperiurban Agribusiness where she does land and water management consulting, freelance advocacy, training, and event services.  Lisa’s industry experience varies from local to national roles, across business, science and government, memberships, and community volunteer service.

Lisa  is currently an elected committee member of the Victorian Farmers Federation (Mornington) Peninsula branch and a volunteer steering group member for the Mornington Peninsula Best Bites food business program.. Known as an enthusiastic industry advocate for the retention of peri-urban agriculture, local agri-food chains, and Australians’ to buy local first (CoOL), all whilst ensuring local farmers can access the domestic and offshore market of best fit.

Naina Gill

Board Director representing New South Wales. 

Jessica Purbrick

General Director located in Victoria