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Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford Graduates from NFF Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program

Australian Organic Limited is delighted to announce that Chief Executive Officer Niki Ford has graduated from the NFF Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program alongside 12 women with skills and experience in the agricultural industry.

Selected from more than 80 applicants, Ms Ford was one of 12 outstanding women who were mentored over the course of a five-month one-on-one program, working with some of Australia’s most experienced leaders. Now in its third year, the mentors guided mentees in defining and planning leadership aspirations. 2020 graduates join an alumni of 30 women, many of whom represent influential roles in agriculture.

“It was so valuable to connect with women who are on a similar journey. Having these connections is such an important part of the leadership journey,” Ms Ford said.

The Program coincides with pledges by some of Australia’s largest agricultural organisations to achieve gender diversity within leaderships roles in their organisational structures.

“The impact is a real increase in the representation of women around the tables where the pivotal decisions are made about our industry and our communities,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

“With the Program in its third year, we were humbled to learn of the monumental progress many of our Partners have made towards gender parity at their senior leadership and board levels and indeed, across their entire organisations.

“This Program is all about shifting the dial and the evidence is clear that we are doing just that by taking a two-pronged approach: developing the female leaders of the very-near future and providing a framework by which leading industry organisations can commit to, and report on, change.”

Despite the challenges faced by COVID-19, the Program was able to continue with virtual events and meetings.

“We thought it more important than ever to provide meaningful connections for women and to establish an ongoing discussion on personal development and the future of our sector,” said Ms Simson.

Congratulations to the 2020 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program Graduates:

  • Alexandra Thomas – Mount Osmond, South Australia
  • Alison Hamilton – Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
  • Alysia Kepert – Perth, Western Australia
  • Diana Fear – Condobolin, New South Wales
  • Fiona Marshall – Mulwala, New South Wales
  • Jaelle Bajada – Sydney, New South Wales;
  • Jessica Fealy – Paddys Green, Queensland
  • Margaret Jewell – Brisbane, Queensland
  • Niki Ford – Brisbane, Queensland
  • Rebecca Staines – Albury, New South Wales
  • Sarah Parker – Undera, Victoria
  • Susie Green – Lenswood, South Australia.

The official graduation took place on 14th October 2020, the eve of International Rural Women’s Day, via a virtual graduation ceremony. The event included speeches from each of the graduates, alongside a recorded video message from Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, who congratulated the graduates and commended the NFF on their initiative.

The Program is supported by leading organisations who are committed to make meaningful change towards gender diversity within the industry and works towards the NFF’s goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030.