2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award finalists announced

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair has announced four inspiring leaders, from right across the state’s regions, as finalists in the 2016NSW-ACT Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award.

The finalists are:

  • Sophie Hansen from Orange
  • Fiona Mead from Narrabri
  • Aimee Snowden from Tocumwal
  • Hannah Wandel from Kingston ACT.

“This year’s finalists are changing the way we do business in the state’s primary industries sector – and are making massive contributions to our industries and communities,” Mr Blair said.

“They join an esteemed group of women who have been finalists in this prestigious award over the course of the last 16 years, and continue to work tirelessly to improve our rural communities and primary industries.”

The winner of the 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award will receive a bursary of $10,000 and participate in an Australian Institute of Company Directors’ course. Three finalists will receive a $1000 bursary from Department of Primary Industries for skills and leadership development.

The winners of the 2016 NSW-ACT Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award will be announced in March at Parliament House in Sydney. The NSW-ACT winner will then compete for the National RIRDC Rural Women’s Award on 12 October at Parliament House, Canberra.

Meet our 2016 finalists

Sophie Hansen: 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women's Award Finalist

Sophie Hansen, Orange: Sophie’s project, ‘My Open Kitchen’, focuses on providing an innovative, self-paced online, social media learning course for Australian farmers and farming communities. It will give them the skills they need to take advantage of free social media channels, and through these tell their stories, promote their produce and make new and valuable connections. ‘My Open Kitchen’ will assist anyone involved in primary industries use social media channels to build social and professional capital, which in turn will deliver transparency, engagement, trust and ultimately financial returns. Photo: Seth Buchanan

Fiona Mead: 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women's Award finalist

Fiona Mead, Narrabri: Fiona’s ‘Rural New Generation Project’ will introduce younger farmers onto the land by providing ideas on innovative pathways into farming. Her project will assist emerging farmers to acquire knowledge that will ensure they have the tools and skills required to move into agricultural enterprises. This will strengthen rural communities by encouraging a new generation onto the land and provide a legacy for the older generation of farmers as they transition out of agriculture. Photo: SKW Images

Aimee Snowden, 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women's Award Winner

Aimee Snowden, Tocumwal: Aimee’s award ambition is to increase agricultural literacy in Australian primary school aged children using LEGO® bricks as a key story telling tool. Her aim is to tell a positive story about agriculture in an engaging way to children. Aimee hopes to leverage and grow the momentum she has created from a small visual ‘hobby’ into a far reaching project that educates and creates an impact. She wants to positively promote Australian agriculture to the next generation, ensuring we continue to have the brightest and most creative, young minds entering and staying in primary industries. Photo: Tamara Cadd

Hannah Wandel, 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women's Award finalist

Hannah Wandel, Kingston ACT: Hannah’s project, ‘Project Empower’, aims to develop and implement a pilot leadership program for Year 9-10 girls in rural secondary schools. This motivational program will build skills, boost self-confidence and help develop strategies for taking on leadership and decision making roles in primary industries. Project Empower will empower girls to reach their potential and overcome gender and geographical barriers to success. Photo: Jennifer Nagy

The 2016 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is made possible through the generous support of our State sponsors: NSW Farmers, Office of Environment & Heritage, The Country Women’s Association of NSW and Lisa Green – Career & Life Matters.



About nswrwn

NSW Rural Women’s Network is a government program working in innovative ways to promote leadership and action on rural women’s issues. The RWN team is dedicated to connecting and exchanging information with women and stakeholders in rural, regional and remote communities.
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