Lady pres­i­dent

Elise Cot­tam the first madam pres­i­dent for the ATTA

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page -

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.

PHOTOS: JODIE DIXON

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.

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