By Pip Job, Geurie
As featured in the 2019 Country Web Annual
Tell me about your childhood, family, home and work?
I was born in Emerald Qld – the first born to my parents who were gem miners at Sapphire. As a kid, we moved around a bit before landing in Dubbo in the 80s. I went to boarding school in Orange where I developed a passion for beef cattle industry – an interest that became a large part of my young adult life.
Later, as a beef cattle producer and property owner at Cumnock in the Central West, I became involved in Landcare. During my 10 years with the Little River Landcare Group as a member, staff member and then CEO, I learnt a huge amount about natural resource management, sustainable agriculture and community engagement. I loved my time working with Landcare and feel a deep sense of commitment to what Landcare achieves and the benefits it brings to communities, and an admiration for the amazing people involved in this network.
I have two boys, Duncan (16) and Jack (14), and live with my partner James (who also has two teenage boys) on a property near Geurie – a busy rural village near Dubbo. We have a busy life running around the country side supporting the boys on the sporting field, at school events and with their busy social lives.
What did you want to be when you left school? Has this changed?
I wanted to study animal genetics. My passion was for beef cattle and I was heavily involved in the sector and on various committees. After deciding to travel and work for a year, plans changed and I ended up going to University as a mature age student studying a Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture. Studying by distance, with two toddlers, a part-time job and a farm business to manage, was extremely challenging.
As Manager for DPI’s Business Resilience program what’s one of the best thing about your job?
I love the difference we make in our communities and for primary industries. We look after the people in agriculture and our team is passionate about what they do and the people they support. I have three inspiring teams: the Rural Women’s Network, Young Farmer Business Program and the Rural Resilience Program. Each has a target audience and the things they achieve as a small team is extraordinary. Having great teams of people is one of the best things about my job.
Why did this type of work interest you? How did it get started?
I believe that my life experiences, the jobs I have had and the fields of interest I have nurtured have all accumulated to this point where I have a strong interest in resilience, community engagement and how we encourage the sustained adoption of best practice.
However, I think the catalyst was when I won the NSW-ACT and National Rural Women’s Award in 2014 to develop a project focused on the social barriers that inhibit a farm family business from reaching its full potential. My observations while working in Landcare, my personal experiences, and my interest in exploring these through the award project, have given me an extraordinary perspective to the complexities and diversity of issues farming families experience.
What steps did you take that were vital in getting to where you are now?
I have always accepted opportunities as they have been presented. Every challenge is a healthy one in my eyes. You learn from every experience and I think my attitude has been crucial to where I am now. Being willing to step outside my comfort zone has been important. I have experienced plenty of challenging moments that have tested my resolve, but I have survived them all and grown along the way.
Who has inspired and supported you along the way?
I’ve had an incredible cheer squad over the years. In my teens I had some great role models. Then, moving into my adult years I had so many men who encouraged me to step forward for opportunities and supported me along the way; even during some personal periods that were very hard. More recently I have had many more women there beside me, helping me to recognise my potential and to reach for the stars.
The most important person in my life that has supported me in a way I feel I could never repay is my partner James. We met just prior to my life becoming crazy, in 2014 after winning the Rural Women’s Award, and he has been a rock. Always there to support me in every way, he has been so incredibly encouraging. His support has allowed me to take on some challenging roles such as the State Drought Coordinator in 2018.
Two women who have really inspired me since joining DPI are Sonia Muir and Kate Lorimer-Ward. Both are extraordinary individuals – highly capable and authentic leaders who do what they do because they believe in the work they do, the people they support and the teams they lead. I feel privileged to have worked with them and to step into the next phase of my career with them by my side.
What have your experiences taught you?
There is a positive in absolutely everything, even when you think there simply couldn’t be. The gift of experiencing a challenge and realising that you were stronger than you thought, or finding that you have a skill when you didn’t quite realise you did, is an awesome gift.
In my 40 years I have experienced a range of things – some I’d happily do again, others I am happy to avoid. All however have given me perspective, built skills, expanded my network, and importantly, helped to contribute to my thirst for knowledge and experiences.
What does being a rural woman mean to you?
It’s about more than me. It’s about how I support those around me, the community I live in, the industry I serve, and the people I care about. It’s about me leveraging my learnings and experiences for the good of others. Being rural is a special thing and how we all connect to make stronger, healthier places where we live and work is essential. Being a rural woman is a privilege in my eyes; especially when you meet so many other extraordinary rural women who are just as passionate about what they do.
Since publishing this story, Pip Job has now been appointed Director of Engagement within Engagement & Industry Assistance at the NSW DPI.