“I was born into ag, third or fourth generation on my mother’s side, they were farming down on the Yorke Peninsula. And then on my dad’s side, my grandfather was a stock agent for elders. He was an auctioneer here in WA for a long time.
Dad was a property manager and we moved around a bit as he managed different farms and stations, so very much I was born into it and it sort of followed on from that.
When I finished school there were so many opportunities in agriculture, but also on the mines here in WA. When I went to uni in 2007, it was boom time for the mining industry, I did casual jobs straight out of school in the mines for good money. There was always a temptation to follow that path (and the money) but in agriculture there are just so many different things you can do, it was just more attractive.
I remember a bloke by the name of Darren Brown coming up to the station, he would travel around training dogs and doing cattle work, and also worked as a stockman onboard live export ships. One day he was doing some dog work with us and he was spinning a few yarns about working on the boats and it just sounded amazing. So I just said, ‘Can you get me a job?’
He got me onto a live export boat to Indonesia, it was my first experience over there, and I just remember the culture shock when I got off at the other end. It was a whole other world. It was incredible.
Then the second journey, I went on a charter with a Lebanese company to carry cattle out of Colombia across to Lebanon. It wasn’t Australian related at all. I just got flown over to keep an eye on things from the Australia side. Basically just an observer.
It was my first time traveling solo overseas so it was a big adventure and they really threw me in the deep end and I think that’s where I probably got hooked. I’ve been in live export ever since.
A few years later I was trying to get access to some funding for professional development to help improve myself a bit. I got chatting to Kari and we went and talked to a few different people about accessing funding and they knocked us back but said if we had some sort of organisation that it would make it easier for them to support us. So that’s when we started the Young Live Exporters Network.
We thought we might get 20 or so people together and by the end of the first year we got to 100.
We had this whole kind of “oh shit moment” because there was so much demand for what we were doing in the industry.
Something I’ve really learnt in all of this is working out what my passion is and it’s something I’ve found hard to put my finger on.
I am passionate about animal welfare, which is what my current role oversees, but if I’m honest, I think my real passion is around organisation success, I like seeing organisations succeed in achieving their goals.
That’s why this whole journey has been really satisfying for me, seeing the organisation start from the ground up to where it is today has been very rewarding.
I enjoy seeing YLEN succeed, I’ve enjoyed seeing my local footy club succeed and also the company I work for. They’re all different organisations with different people and different goals, and at the end of the day watching them achieve those goals is very pleasing.”