Victorian Rural Women’s Network 2020 leadership program launched

Sheep Central, June 26, 2019

At the launch were, from left, Jessica Purbrick-Hurst, Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, Leanne Mulcahy, Caroline Thomson and Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes.

WOMEN in agriculture and government met to launch the 2020 intake of the Victorian Rural Women’s Network Leadership and Mentoring Program at Fern Hill, north-west of Melbourne on Monday.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes launched the 2020 program with Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, at a cattle farm in Fern Hill, the home of 2019 participant Caroline Thomson.

Ms Symes said initiatives like the leadership and mentoring program are making sure women continue to play a vital role in driving the success Victoria’s $14.1 billion agriculture sector.”

“One of the best parts of my job is meeting the many active and engaged woman doing exciting things in agriculture, I’d love for them to take the opportunity to be part of the program, build leadership skills and meet other brilliant regional women.

“When you connect ag-women from around the state – amazing things happen.”

Ms Thomas said she was proud of the work the government is doing to make sure rural and regional women are empowered to step up and lead their businesses, communities and Victorian agriculture on the world stage.

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging women making a difference in regional Victoria to apply for a place on the Victorian Rural Women’s Network to develop their leadership skills and advocate for country communities.

The $500,000 program provides funded places on a range of leadership programs targeted to rural Victorian women connected to agriculture. The programs offer opportunities for training along the many stages of the leadership journey.

The Victorian Rural Women’s Network is partnering with four established leadership training providers to deliver these prestigious programs, which have already supported thirteen outstanding Victorian women since the program launched in August 2018.

Ms Thomson is a senior agribusiness and food manager at ANZ, and as part of this year’s leadership and mentoring program received a funded place on The Observership Program for emerging leaders to become future board directors.

The leadership and mentoring program, alongside other initiatives including the AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award and the Invisible Farmer Project, is part of the Labor Government’s ongoing support for rural and regional women.

For more information and to apply for a place, see the Victorian Rural Women’s Network website at


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