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ABP Celebrate ‘Women in Wood Fibre’

ABP Celebrate ‘Women in Wood Fibre’

Australian Bluegum Plantation’s (ABP) inaugural Women in Wood Fibre celebration has been branded a stand-out success with plans to make the gathering an annual industry-wide event.

More than 40 ABP staff, Glenelg Shire Council Mayor Karen Stephens, Food and Fibre Great South Coast chair Oonagh Kilpatrick and key industry stakeholders joined for the celebratory lunch as part of International Women’s Day festivities at the iconic Cape Bridgewater Surf Life Saving Club on Thursday 21st of March 2024.

ABP’s Career Pathway participants Hannah Aldridge and Georgina Macklin coordinated the festivities securing headline keynote speaker, ABC News personality, Kirsten Diprose.

Mrs Diprose, who is a regular contributor on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Conversation Hour and former ABC TV News Breakfast weather presenter, spoke of the challenges of achieving a high-flying journalism career whilst balancing family obligations at her Caramut farm.

The rural advocate promoted the importance of the food and fibre sector collaborating to generate broader social license to attract the next generation of female leaders.

The former Sydney-sider, who grew up in Penrith before finding rural roots, highlighted the mental and social challenges faced by rural women attempting to find their place in a historically male dominated agricultural field.

Mrs Diprose created the Rural Podcasting Co, a podcast coaching and agency service, specifically for people in rural areas. She also founded and co-hosts the podcast ‘Ducks on the Pond’’ specifically targeted at rural women.

ABP’s General Manager HR Sheri Tarr applauded the coordinating efforts of emerging leaders Hannah and Georgina who were gaining more self-confidence and building new skills as a result of the organisations dynamic three-year Career Pathway training.

The development program has supported Georgina to transition from being ABP’s first female bulldozer operator to a harvest supervisor role, completing a Certificate 4 in Forestry while Hannah, the Portland Chip Terminal administrator, is completing a Certificate 4 in Business.

ABP CEO Russ Hughes presenting Hannah Aldridge with Melinda Gates’ book The Moment of Lift: Empowering Women Changes the World

“ABP is proud to invest time and resources empowering our next generation of leaders, building career pathways and supporting innovative workplaces to inspire the best outcomes for our people,” Ms Tarr said.

“This Women in Wood Fibre event celebrates the valuable role women play right across our organisation, from operating machinery and silviculture management to speaking in the boardroom. About a quarter of our workforce is female with many women fulfilling key leadership roles in what have been historically male dominated fields.

“This event is an important time to reflect on how we can all work together to inspire further inclusion for all in our workplaces and broader communities, pausing to celebrate and recognise all of the wonderful women in our lives.”

ABP CEO Russ Hughes presented Mrs Aldridge with Melinda Gates’ book The Moment of Lift: Empowering Women Changes the World, which highlights the importance of investing in women. Mrs Aldridge is due to shortly take maternity leave to welcome her first child.

Pic (left): Food and Fibre Great South Coast chair Oonagh Kilpatrick and guest speaker Kirsten Diprose.

Pic (middle): ABP General Manager HR Sheri Tarr with Glenelg Shire Council Mayor Karen Stephens.

Pic (right): Some of ABP’s Women in Wood Fibre, Liz McKinnon, Jess Donovan, Madeline Campbell, Hannah Aldridge, Georgina Macklin