NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announced Jillian Kilby from Dubbo as the 2018 award winner.
Jillian’s vision is to improve the commercial success of regional start-ups by increasing the capability, capacity and confidence of business owners, in particular, women living in rural, regional and remote Australia.
With her $10,000 bursary Jillian will conduct a Regional Start-ups Insight Study to better understand the needs of regional business owners, especially those who are on the cusp of starting a new business.
Her project lives within a bigger eco system to develop more effective space and services for new and growing business owners within Dubbo and the wider catchment.
Holding a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney, a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy from the University of Stanford, Jillian joins the Rural Women’s Award Alumni ready to learn, give back, and meet new people as part of this experience.
Jillian will compete for the National Award to be announced in September at Parliament House Canberra.
Minister Blair acknowledged the three exceptional finalists, Ginny Stevens (Mangoplah), Shanna Whan (Narrabri) and Olympia Yarger (Fyshwick ACT) for their vision, commitment and leadership to the primary industries sector and their regional communities. They each received a $1000 DPI Leadership Bursary to go towards business and skills development.
Ginny Stevens of Mangoplah wants to expand the ‘Active Farmers’ service to communities with little or no access to health care. She is working to create a series of case studies which will inspire other communities to join this fast growing network while raising awareness of the importance of physical and mental health in building stronger and resilient rural communities.
Shanna Whan of Narrabri aims to take the overdue discussion around ‘casual alcoholism’, along with real people, real stories, and relatable information into paddocks and homes via a ‘virtual meeting place’, so others can gather, chat, learn, and support each other.
Olympia Yarger of Fishwick ACT wants to educate people on the opportunities available to establish regionally based insect farms as a sustainable solution to manage food and agricultural waste. She plans to develop an online education series and create a digital handbook of best practice. Olympia is the Managing Director of Goterra.
Read more about the 2018 NSW-ACT RWA finalists and their visions for primary industries and rural communities.
To end the night, a special mention was made to Sonia Muir, NSW Department of Primary Industries Acting Group Director Education & Regional Services for her 26 years’ service to rural communities, during which time Sonia has had an ongoing engagement with the Rural Women’s Network
and established the Rural Resilience
and Young Farmer Business
Last year the Rural Women’s Network celebrated 25 years of creating connected, resilient rural women and communities. Sonia has supported thriving initiatives that have continued over decades such as the annual Rural Women’s Gatherings and ‘Hidden Treasures’ Honour Roll as well as pioneering the publishing of the flagship newsletter – The Country Web.
More recently she was instrumental in creating the start-up Visit My Farm
website, designed to bring urban and farming communities closer and tackle a growing disconnection of people knowing where their food comes.
Sonia will soon leave the department to start her next amazing chapter to explore volunteering opportunities in South East Asia.