Meet the TW2023 Conference Team
Co-convenor, Wagga Wagga NSW
Lisa Anderson is an active partner in the family farming enterprise, located near Wagga Wagga, with a mixed farming operation of cropping and sheep. Lisa is a member of multiple Boards and Committees including MLA Red Meat Panel, Southern Australia Livestock Research Council (Chair Southern NSW), Meat Up Steering Committee, Riverina LLS Board, Agrifutures Pasture Seeds Advisory Panel (Chair), and EvokeAg Steering Committee. Lisa is a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (2022) and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2018).
In addition to agriculture, Lisa has a strong passion for involving herself in the local community, regularly participating in activities and groups that have a rural focus and particularly opportunities to assist in supporting and mentoring women in agriculture.
Co-convenor, Booligal NSW
Sandra Ireson owns and operates a beef cattle breeding and sheep enterprise near Booligal NSW with her husband and three adult children. Growing up on a Merino sheep property on the Monaro, Sandra studied agriculture at university before working in the veterinary and animal health industry.
Sandra has a keen interest in developing pathways for younger generations to gain a start in primary industries especially sheep and cattle production. She co-developed the Hay Inc. Rural Education Program 8 years ago to address the challenge of markedly reduced numbers of young people entering or staying in agriculturally dependent communities. Sandra was awarded 2017 NSW/ACT Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, building on the success of Hay Inc she has developed “Engage Ag” – creating opportunities for a career in agriculture - promoting the initiative to other rural communities and industry.
She is passionate about rural communities and is involved in the Isolated Children Parents Association, member of NSW DPI Tocal College Advisory Council, a producer member of the Southern Australia Livestock Research Council Regional Committee and Co convenor of the Thriving Women 2023 Conference NSW.
Conference Operations, Coleambally NSW
Samantha Star grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in Central West NSW. For the past 14 years Sam has been living in the Coleambally area where she farms alongside her husband and four children mainly growing beef cattle, rice and winter crops on an irrigation property. Sam has always had an interest in supporting rural women. She understands the challenges of workplace isolation for rural women who sometimes find engaging or being part of a face-to-face workplace more difficult.
Sam currently works as a Recovery Support Officer for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the Riverina area in South Western NSW. Her community is a priority in her day to day role. Prior to joining NEMA, she held a dual role as the Drought Support Officer and the Economic Development/Tourism Officer for the Murrumbidgee Council. The role was highly diverse and involved forming a solid network of stakeholders, building on community engagement, organising wellbeing and mental health events and enhancing business/tourism attractiveness and possibilities within our Council area. Sam is excited about bringing together the brilliant minds and skills of women at the Thriving Women Conference who have agriculture as a common theme.
Program Management, Young NSW
Sally Martin is passionate about rural communities, agriculture and more specifically the Australian sheep and wool industry. She loves working with the diversity of people and situations in the sheep industry and bringing science and data to her client’s fingertips.
Sally grew up on a grazing property on the Monaro NSW. She studied Agriculture Science at the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury and continued with Post Graduate studies at the University of New England and Sydney University focusing on animal breeding management and genetic program design.
Sally’s career spans over 30 years, 20 years with NSW DPI and since 2011, Sally has set up a consulting business (SheepMetriX) that services a current client base ranging across NSW, VIC, TAS, WA and more recently the Falkland Islands, Patagonia Argentina, and Spain.
Awards include : 2011 Runner-up NSW RIRDC Rural Women’s Award; 2013 100 Women of Influence; 2017 Inaugural Australian Wool Industry Award; 2018 National Farmers Inaugural Ag Diversity Leadership Program.
Committee positions – Invited member of the NSW eID Sheep & Goat Traceability Reference Group; Sheep Genetics Advisory Committee member; Peter Westblade Scholarship Treasurer; past MerinoLink Limited CEO and Director.
Delegate Management, Ariah Park NSW
Robyn Buerckner is employed part-time with the Temora Shire Council as the Community Engagement Program Coordinator delivering events within the Shire under a NSW funding program. Prior to this, Robyn worked for Local Land Services and the Catchment Management Authority in Wagga and Temora for 12 years in natural resource management. She was the Information Manager responsible for geographical information systems and database management, developed and delivered incentive programs to landholders to encourage the uptake and extension of precision agriculture, and ran field days and workshops in sustainable agriculture.
Robyn is a broadacre cropping farmer at Ariah Park in the Riverina with her husband, Paul. Robyn has a particular passion for developing the networks and professional extension of women on farms. Having expanded their business, Robyn found herself spending the majority of her time in the four walls of the farm office with little opportunity to engage professionally with female counterparts. After completing the GROW (Growing Regionally Outstanding Women) course in 2018, Robyn now takes any opportunity to attend or facilitate information exchange with rural women, which is why she was so excited to see the Thriving Women Conference coming to NSW and be involved.
Executive Officer, WoTL Ltd
With a desire to support women in agribusiness and rural communities, Kim Blenkiron has worked in community engagment for most of her career. During this time, she has been engaged by a number of farming system groups including Ag KI, SPAA, Partners in Grain and WoTL. Her current position as Executive Officer for WoTL allows Kim to pursue her love for agriculture and supporting women in agribusiness to build skills and networks to achieve their goals.
Kim has also made a contribution to many other groups including the SA Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, Advisory Board of Agriculture, SA Mounted Games Association and Barossa Pony Club. In 2011 Kim was awarded the South Australian Rural Women’s Award for her commitment and involvement in the agricultural sector. Kim currently farms with her husband in the Barossa Valley, where they run a grazing property.
This is the fourth Thriving Women Conference Kim has been a part of and she looks forward to working with the TW2023 Conference Team to create another unique and amazing event.