Cathy McGowan AO entered federal parliament on the urgings of young people from her Victorian electorate of Indi, and in doing so brokered a new way of community politics. Her memoirs were recently published in Cathy Goes to Canberra, an inspiring tale of the power of grass-roots activism.
In 2008 Cathy attended Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit, where four keynote speakers, under 25 years of age, talked about their vision for Australia.
“I was stunned by their ability, by their level of articulation, by their creativity, by their vision for Australia and the thought that they’d given to their presentations. My biggest take away from that summit was that older people, such as myself and most of the attendees, in fact needed to pay attention to young people in our community. They knew things that we baby boomers did not. They certainly were better educated and had new approaches that could find the answers to the problems we were facing….. I made a firm commitment to pay attention and get to know the young people, not only in my life, but in my work,” Cathy says in her book.
In keeping with her commitment to young people as Australia’s future Cathy jumped at the chance to share her wisdom with our Young Farming Champions. She spoke openly to the cohort via a zoom conference, hosted by Lynne Strong in conjunction with a Youth Voices Leadership Team panel of Dione Howard, Dr Jo Newton OAM and Tayla Field.
Cathy covered many aspects of the leadership pathway such as creating time budgets, life-long learning, the importance of networking, the power of finding, and supporting, your tribe and of having confidence in the skill set you have already developed. If these things sound familiar it is because Cathy’s wisdom mirrors closely the visions and ideals of Picture You in Agriculture.
Cathy has a passion to liberate people to be leaders and empower them to grow in confidence. She believes we have enough leadership training programs in agriculture and what we now need is more people “doing” leadership. And she believes the YFC have the skills and salutes them for Turning Up, Speaking Up and Stepping Up to develop their courage muscle by practicing the knowledge and skills they learn in training by being the face of our in-school programs The Archibull Prize ( secondary schools) and Kreative Koalas ( primary schools )” she says.
The workshop was well received by the audience:
“I appreciate Cathy’s easy going, positive nature and her efforts to continually develop her skills. I enjoyed learning it’s okay not to know the exact right path to take, to step up to challenges, build resilience and have a go.” Steph Tabone
“Time budgeting is such an effective tool, particularly making time for exercise and other important tasks that may not be labelled as “work” but are essential in creating a successful, balanced life.” Elizabeth Argue
“I appreciate that Cathy has put herself out there to achieve all that she has so far, and from the workshop I realise we need to do the work and find a team to do the work with.” Dione Howard
“I appreciate the openness with which Cathy has shared her story so that we can all learn from her experience. I found Cathy sharing her story of leadership versus stepping up as a visible leader particularly helpful.” Jo Newton
The Zoom recording of Cathy’s three tips for being an effective leaders can be found here
The zoom recording of the panel session will be loaded here shortly. Watch this space