CEO wants ev­ery voice to be heard

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion key for Cat­tle Coun­cil leader

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

SHE is the new Cat­tle Coun­cil of Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, but if you ask Margo An­drae what drives her the most, her an­swer isn’t beef. It’s peo­ple and pro­duc­ers. “I have come from a ru­ral back­ground and my pas­sion has al­ways been ru­ral and re­gional peo­ple,” she said.

Ms An­drae made his­tory this week when she was ap­pointed the first fe­male chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Cat­tle Coun­cil.

While she is based in Canberra now, a lo­ca­tion that will help her se­cure good policy mov­ing for­ward, she is a coun­try girl through and through. Born in Bourke, New South Wales, she has ded­i­cated most of her life to agri­cul­ture. Her re­sume in­cludes work­ing for the CSIRO, the Ru­ral In­dus­tries Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, and she was heav­ily in­volved in the Na­tional Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion re­form process on be­half of the food and agribusi­ness sec­tor. It’s her first week on the job and she has hit the ground run­ning. This week it was meet­ings in Canberra and next week she will be head­ing to Far North Queens­land to meet with pro­duc­ers in Char­ters Tow­ers.

One of her main fo­cuses as CEO will be im­prov­ing the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“I want to in­crease com­mu­ni­ca­tions, both from within the or­gan­i­sa­tions, right down to pro­duc­ers, and back up,” she said.

“We need to have a real un­der­stand­ing of what pro­duc­ers need, what’s driving them and what their is­sues are.”

Australian beef pro­duc­ers are di­verse and the in­dus­try stretches right across the coun­try, but Ms An­drae be­lieves a united com­mu­nity is pos­si­ble.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how big or how small you are, if you feel your voice isn’t be­ing lis­tened to, then that’s a prob­lem,” she said.

“This is where the in­crease in com­mu­ni­ca­tion is so im­por­tant.

“Of­ten there are only a few loud voices get­ting lis­tened to. But for me, unit­ing the in­dus­try is about ev­ery­one hav­ing a voice. I want to give peo­ple the con­fi­dence to say what they would ac­tu­ally like to see hap­pen.”

Margo ad­mit­ted it was an hon­our to be the first woman in the po­si­tion. Since a press re­lease re­ported her ap­point­ment, she has re­ceived mes­sages of sup­port from other women who have said the move has given them con­fi­dence.

“There are a num­ber of phe­nom­e­nal women work­ing right across the red meat sec­tor,” she said.

“I be­lieve the more vis­ual women are in these lead­er­ship roles the more it will give con­fi­dence to other women to step up.”

Margo’s ad­vice to other women with dreams of climb­ing the lad­der was sim­ple: “back your­self”.

“There is a statis­tic that says women will look at a job de­scrip­tion and if they don’t reach 80% of it, they won’t ap­ply for it. Whereas men will look at a po­si­tion see they fit 20% of it and ap­ply.

“So my ad­vice to peo­ple is to back your­self. Back the skills that you will bring to these roles.”

Unit­ing the in­dus­try is about ev­ery­one hav­ing a voice... — Margo An­drae

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FO­CUS ON COM­MU­NI­CA­TION: New Cat­tle Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Margo An­drae.

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