Who are your champions of change?

‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’

I have spent the year watching a number of very courageous women tackle a very insidious system and I am reflecting on what it must take to have the resilience to wake up every day and do it again and again until you are confident that change will happen

I look at women like Louise Milligan and Adele Ferguson and I see employers who support them

I see women like Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame and my heart bleeds for them such extraordinary courage and I hope resilience

I see women like Catherine Marriott and wonder why rural and regional Australia and The National Party continues to enable her alleged abuser.

One of my standout Champions of Change is Cathy McGowan. She has become my role model for change. Yesterday she agreed to run a workshop that will support our Young Farming Champions to truly live their values.

When you have a minute listen to two more courageous women truly live their values

Zoe Daniels and Sam Mostyn ask

‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’

In this podcast Independent candidate for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, and President of Chief Executive Women, Sam Mostyn discuss the shocking revelations uncovered in Kate Jenkin’s independent inquiry into Parliament House culture.



What if Charlie Bell hadnt said yes to the McFlurry

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a briefing of a program agriculture is currently rolling out

What was beautiful was how proud the people who work in the industry are of it

What was scary is the model is exactly what I presented to that industry 12 plus years ago. The model wasn’t my original idea, it was something I adapted for Australia from a successful model from the US

I am shortly catching up with some-one very special in my life. Gaye is a  very interesting contrast to my journey. Gaye is the girl who bought the McFlurry to Australia.

The McFlurry isnt her idea, it was something she saw in the US and thought Australians would love it. How right she was

Its a beautiful thing to hear Gaye talk about Charlie Bell who was the CEO of Maccas when she was the CMO.  How it made such a difference to her career journey that Charlie believed in her and supported her when she presented big ideas. And when Charlie was in charge there was always a cohort of bright minds – so often he would say lets ask “Numbers” aka Steve Jermyn 

The industry body I was part of the briefing for today didn’t believe in my idea  12 plus years ago but there is no shortage of courageous people who did.

What is awesome is Charlie believed in Gaye and Gaye believes in me.

Hoping you have plenty of Charlies and Gayes in your life too








Kindness – what does it look like to you. Who are your role models?

I sit on the Action4Agriculture board and we recently workshopped our values which our graphic artist is currently working his magic on to load on our web page

Our values are

The final wording is from board member Dr Jenni Metcalfe with inspiration for Kindness coming from the work of Brene Brown who says

“Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.”


Brene clarifies her quote this way

We need braver leaders and more courageous cultures.

Why courage? and What’s getting in the way of building more daring cultures? Of the ten behaviors and cultural issues that leaders identified as barriers to courage, there was one issue that leaders ranked as the greatest concern: Avoiding tough conversations, including giving honest, productive feedback. Source 

My personal top two values are Courage and Making a Difference. Brene helped me realise I needed to spend more time walking my fear

As a life long avoider of tough conversations I am grateful to Brene, our board and the brave people I truly value who I have stepped up to have tough conversations with recently.

I found some of those people are like me and walk away rather than have them and others have role modelled to me what “Best practice” looks like. I thank them for helping me learn and grow and hopefully change

Taking time to celebrate the journey

Last night was a major milestone for me as I handed in my resignation to the Young Farming Champions (YFC) Leadership Team committee ( formerly Youth Voices Leadership Team)

Nothing brings greater joy than to see something that you started grow and evolve and handed over to next gen.

This committee of YFC bravely stepped up to see what skills, knowledge, experiences and support are needed to going from young people learning to lead themselves to leading  teams

Their generosity of spirit and pay it forward mentality has seen them go on the journey themselves AND create a cachet of resources and templates for those that follow them.

Special shoutout to our three team chairs Dr Jo Newton OAM, Emma Ayliffe and Dione Howard , our secretary Jess Fearnley  , and our partnerships Ambassador Dr Anika Molesworth

It was a wonderful moment to go round the room and have each member of the team share their highlights.

“the skills I have learnt being part of this committee have helped me grow as a person. They are equally transferable to my workplace and my other volunteer roles. They have given me the confidence to be a peer to peer mentor and a coach.”

“We believe we are walking examples of Action4Agriculture’s vision to grow tomorrow’s leaders today to cultivate farming systems and practices that are good for farmers, people and the planet”

Friday nights can be tough

Friday nights can be tough. They are that time of the week where you reflect on the conversations you have had and the important work you have got done and you decide if you are moving forward or going round in circles.

I can definitely see forward movement from young people in agriculture through the extraordinary applications we are receiving for our Young Farming Champions program

There is also significant international interest in replicating the Action for Agriculture programs overseas and I am working with some very exciting people to create a template of what that could look like

BUT my major frustration remains and that is.

We have a leadership system in agriculture that invites people with big ideas to stand in the arena by themselves until they can beg or borrow enough money to pilot their big idea. Success requires you to attract other volunteers who also have day jobs, who toil and toil and toil pouring their hearts and souls into your big idea ( and adding their ideas) until they are as burnt out as you.

I have been looking for a model that invites people to identify an arena they want to be part of. An arena that cultivates a culture where everyone is working together towards a common goal and everyone can actively see every Friday night that their collaboration is having IMPACT.

Two models I am witnessing that are potentially achieving this are Farmers for Climate Action and the Voices for Movement both of which have attracted significant philanthropic funding

There is hope on the horizon for a new model through conversations I have been having with other people running leadership programs. These bright minds might just have come up with a model that will deliver significant rewards for the personal well being of the people in the arena and the agriculture sector.

The next step in this process happens on Monday. Fingers crossed my journal reflections next Friday are less focused on our abhorrent political system and more focused on grass roots empowerment

Don’t tell them why, Show them How

I am fascinated by what makes people tick.

I learnt a long time ago humans are feeling beings who also happen to think. We absorb information differently and we process it differently.

We are now at the point in OZ where the early adopters and some of the late adopters have got their vaccines.

My passion for life long learning saw me sign up for another of Changeologist Les Robinson’s Theory of Behavior Change workshops this week

Les reminded us if we want to drive behavior change its important to tailor the message for each demographic you are trying to reach to THEIR  specific needs, wants and pain points.

Its time to stop telling our later adopters and laggards WHY and show them HOW

Time for less facts – now matter how impressive they as the science tells us they will only create more resistance

Time for more compassion, less judgment

Lets show them HOW

What does HOW look like to you?



How do we make sustainable farming part of our DNA?

Agriculture is this country is starting to feel the societal pressures that food production should harness environmental good outcomes that European farmers have been experiencing for decades.

One would hope Europe’s experience would have given us the opportunity to show foresight and be prepared.

Quite the contrary as Gabrielle Chan shares in this excellent article   

“No Australian political party is doing serious thinking about how to knit together food, farming and environmental policies to continue feeding the population while mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss.”

In 2016 the United Nations announced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that give every business including agriculture a global blueprint to guide our country’s activities towards a global collaborative achievement of sustainable development. The SDGs provide a ‘common language’ through which our rural industries can communicate domestically and globally, in alignment with world leaders on the SDG index as well as Australia’s major trading partners.

They also provide an extraordinary opportunity to develop a leadership capability framework to support the National Farmers Federation 2030 roadmap.

Leading change for a sustainable economy and planet has a huge focus in Europe yet big business in Australia is much slower to move into this space.

“The systemic pressures the world faces today mean that leadership simply cannot be the preserve of a ‘heroic’ few. Delivering the future we want will require organisations to cultivate leadership at all levels, and to embrace diverse and complementary strengths and approaches. The focus will be on developing collective leadership capacity, with individuals supported and inspired to deliver against their potential, and to contribute effectively within their personal strengths and role.”

Whilst progress on building the knowledge, thinking and practice around the new normal is very slow at government level our teachers are grasping the Sustainability Leadership mantle firmly ensuring our young people are going to be ready for the jobs of the future.

Meet Sana Said from Riverstone High School

By mapping our future leadership needs and deploying our people for  good, we have a significant opportunity to shape the food production agenda and deliver an equitable system for all.

There is also icing on the cake with a number of economic benefits from SDG reporting globally to be realised through enhancements to the natural environment.

  • FOOD WASTE: Potential to lower global costs of food waste for saving AUD $240 to $600B per year (20-30 per cent of food globally is wasted through post-harvest losses that are easy to prevent)
  • FOREST ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Potential to lower Global costs of deforestation and forest degradation: AUD $200B to $550B per year (Deforestation and forest degradation which currently account for 17 per cent of global emissions
  • RENEWABLE ENERGY: Increase renewables’ share of energy generation worldwide could increase to 45 per cent by 2030 (from 23 per cent in 2014) (IRENA, 2014) Potential to lower global costs of non-renewable energy: AUD $250B to $900B

Thanks to Jo Eady from Rural Scope and Mark Paterson from Currie Communication for inspiration for this post


Women in Agriculture – Its time for the invisible to be truly visible

I am a woman who has come to prominence in a man’s world

In 2012 I won agriculture’s most prestigious accolade the inaugural Bob Hawke Hawke Landcare Award

All the subsequent winners are men

In 2021 the inaugural winner of the 2020 General Jeffery Soil Health Award is a woman 

I am 100% confident that both of us are not a token gestures to gender  diversity, its a 100% acknowledgment that we are where the world sees agriculture as the place we should be heading

I am where I am today because a number of very special men supported my journey

But very few ( almost none ) put their hands up in a public space and say I am on Team Lynne and the work she does on behalf of the greater good is important work we can all champion.

My call to action to women everywhere in agriculture be proud of what you are doing

Shout your cause from the rooftops

Its time for the invisible to be truly visible

And its time to tell the men in our lives who think its good enough to pat you on the head and say “Go Girl” is no where near the ground breaking response that is required to drive real change.

What does Gender balance look like you to you??

Is agriculture spending enough time thinking about who our customers are and what they are becoming

Women represent 56% of graduates of agricultural science university courses yet Young Farming Champion,  Australian Young Farmer of the Year and co-owner of Summit Ag Agronomy Emma Ayliffe tells me she can count on one hand the number of female agronomists over 35 working fulltime.

Emma is 30 and it will be interesting for her to reflect back on the agronomy sector in 10-15 years time and see if this is still the case

Research shows that the previous generation of women who decided they had to make a choice between career and children chose children. This generation of women are choosing career.

To learn as much as I can about why current agricultural sector workplaces are not meeting the wants and needs of women over 35 I have been doing a lot of reading and learning a lot.

The research tells me

We need to look at the blueprints of our workplaces, to understand how the policies, processes, structures, employee behaviours, leaders, and culture in our workplaces can value women and their contributions 

My reading has also opened my eyes to the importance of the language we use when promoting the sector to next gen agriculturalists and next gen consumers. Speaking of next gen consumers did you know 80%  of purchases made today are by women. So women are important for both talent management and the business bottom line.

In today’s world we are led to believe men have an unwavering belief in the machine – the ability of technology to solve the world’s problems. Women on the other hand see people as our greatest resource and women around the world are standing up to save the planet.

As our board is all female and the majority of consultants we work with are also female, it’s very important to us that the language we use appeals to all genders

The ultimate challenge of gender bilingualism, both in terms of understanding consumers better and of better talent management, is a skill we can all learn.

During a recent strategic planning meeting our all female board were comfortable with this description of how to promote careers in agriculture as an opportunity to:

  • make a humanitarian/environmental difference locally and globally
  • build capacity to act on issues that are important to regional communities and
  • have a positive impact on the lives of others

On learning about gender bilingualism and reflecting on the previous version below ( written by a male consultant)  I felt this version might have  broader appeal. What do you think?

Promoting agriculture as an exciting industry:  

  • where innovation, disruption and creativity are fostered,
  • where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly and
  • where partnerships across sectors are encouraged and nurtured

Our industry is changing. I often find myself having conversations with people in the livestock sectors who are bewildered that livestock industries are attracting  young women 2:1 where as young men are attracted to cropping industries.

I have always been concerned that the Australian dairy industry has an over reliance on promoting the high level of technology in the industry and a reticence  to talk about its huge environmental gains

There is an exciting opportunity to reframe gender balance as one of the century’s most obvious business opportunities. But first we have to acknowledge, understand and maximize the complementary differences between men and women. The challenge here is not to treat everyone equally and the same, but to treat everyone equally and different, with a deep understanding of what those differences are.

With so many opportunities in our sector its the perfect time to thinking about who our customers are and what they care about.

Books I am reading and referencing

  • Brandsplaining by Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts
  • The Fix by Michelle King
  • Seven Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox