Elise Cottam the first madam president for the ATTA
MP Stephen Bennett: Elise should be very proud; she has worked tirelessly for her community...
THE Australian Timber Trainers Association (ATTA) is a national network of trainers and assessors in the forest and forest products industry.
The new president, Mrs Elise Cottam, is the association’s first madam president.
“I found my passion in training – all along I had been doing a similar thing but not fully,” she said.
Mrs Cottam said she loved training people in everything, “I show them a better view”.
Traditionally a male-dominated industry, Mrs Cottam said it was hard but surprisingly, there hadn’t been any reflection of that attitude so far in the industry.
She believes that she has been helped by her years spent training other proficiencies and by her upbringing, which taught her from an early age that gender made no difference.
“I have had to stand my ground on occasion, but I have found that the most important thing is to be able to back up what you are saying with what you can do,” she said.
Mrs Cottam took a risk and put it to the committee in November last year about Mindworks’ Laurie Kelly.
“They agreed to have him present, as one member said ‘congratulations on your courage and conviction in recommending Laurie to the executive; it was a risk and it paid off’.”
Mrs Cottam said, “I don’t mind taking risks; the worst that will happen is they will say no, so if you don’t knock you will never know.
“I asked a few members about positions to nominate for. I chose carefully because again it was a huge risk. I nominated for a couple of positions, except secretary treasurer.
“If I didn’t get voted in as president or vice president then at least I still had a chance of being part of the executive committee,” Mrs Cottam said.
“At our AGM the nominees were read out for president – Greg Howard and Elise Cottam (my stomach was doing back-flips, heart racing),” she said.
Elise closed her eyes and just held on, “we have a clear winner, it’s Elise Cottam”.
“The strength it took to hold back an overwhelming state was incredible.
“One of the committee members he said, Lise hold it in or we will all start.”
Mrs Cottam was very proud and was welcomed by all.
Local MP Stephen Bennett took time to congratulate Mrs Cottam on her position as the first female president.
“Elise should be very proud; she has worked tirelessly for her community,” Mr Bennett said.
He said as she had accomplished a lot and worked hard to get to where she was today, she needed to be acknowledged for all she had achieved.
“She is an inspiration for other young women in our community,” he said.
As the new president of ATTA, Mrs Cottam welcomes everyone and hopes they will feel welcome to email or call her.
“The more I can do for this association the better. I feel excited to be the first female president of ATTA,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter male or female, but there is an upside. The next generation that comes through will still have to work hard to get places but at least I have already made the way a little easier,” Mrs Cottam said.
“I feel that in today’s world we need to be able to be flexible, and turn our hands to anything
“With what I do, I hope I inspire everyone to have a go as one of my mentors has said numerous times to me.”
Mrs Cottam said some of us needed a push while others liked to just jump in and hope they could swim.
“Sometimes we sink but that is just a lesson learnt, not a mistake.
“In the new position I hope to bring a lot more to the members in the way of support, networking, training and professional development, while keeping everyone up to date with a world that is moving so fast in techno,” Mrs Cottam said.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Elise Cottam getting the support from local MP Stephen Bennett on her new role with the ATTA.
CHAINSAW TRAINING: Elise puts the SES through training preparing for the coming storm season. RIGHT: Elise Cottam more at home in jeans showing students the art of cutting down trees.