Career Stories - Elders Rural Services

Elders Employee Career Stories

Women make a significant contribution to the Australian agriculture and Elders is proud to highlight just a few examples of women in our network and their contributions in our employee career stories.

If you’re as passionate and dedicated as we are, then talk to us about becoming part of something big.

Casey GillThe first 15 years of my life was spent on a broad acre cropping and livestock farm south of Mingenew, during this time I also road Fast work on racehorses aspiring to be a jockey. I grew too tall for this so decided to work seasonally on farms, seeding/harvest/ripping/spreading. Being a farm hand fitted well with my background. During this time I worked a 7 week dusty nightshift seeding program.  I operated a 60 foot John Deere airseeder without taking out any fences or trees along the way, this was a personal achievement for myself as operating large machinery during the night can be testing. I am very thankful for this experience as I learnt all basic pre seeding and post seeding maintenance.

I have a decent understanding of livestock and broad acre so when the opportunity with Elders in Carnamah arose I took on the challenge. I enjoy talking with the farmers and understanding their needs. Elders has given me a lot of training opportunities along the way to support my career and deepen my knowledge in agriculture. I am very proud to wear the “pink shirt”.

Deb PatmoreI grew up working alongside my Dad on our family farm in Cuballing, inspiring my passion for agriculture from a young age. When it was time to decide on a career path, he told me “love what you do and you will never work a day again”. I pursued my passion and completed my Certificate 3 in Ag at the Narrogin Agricultural College. I then followed on and spent some time at Murdoch University before heading back home to Cuballing, and starting a position with Elders Narrogin. I commenced a bachelor of agriculture with Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga via distance education, and studied part time alongside my full-time position at Elders.

Now nearing six years with Elders and not far off graduating, I am looking to launch my career into an agronomy role within Elders. Balancing both work and study life has been challenging at times, although I feel a great sense of achievement for nearing completion of my degree. The team at Elders Narrogin is like a big family; the mentoring and practical experience I have gained along the way has complemented the theoretical aspect of my studies. Their support and encouragement has enabled me to focus on my end goal of becoming an agronomist.

Georgia LawrieIn 2016 I was selected as the Central Midlands Rural Ambassador, and competed against 4 ambassadors of the Mid-West Region. This role saw me speak at multiple Agricultural Society events on the topic of Business Succession, as well as being interviewed by a panel of regional representatives on a range of ag based topics.

As a Rural Ambassador I was able to contribute to Agricultural Society meetings, participate in the Moora Agricultural Show & I also gained a greater understanding on agricultural issues in the region. It was personally satisfying know I could speak to groups of people to highlight & develop understanding on particular issues relevant to them, their businesses & their local region.

When growing up in Gidgegannup, both my parents worked within the agricultural sector. Dad was in grain buying & stock feed manufacturing, and my mum worked in the agricultural sciences field. After school and graduating University with a Bachelor of Agribusiness, I work in Darkan at Pederick Engineering, then moved to Moora after a close friend referred me for a Sales Support role with Elders. From there I moved down to Elders in Narrogin for a Farm Supplies Sales Support position, which I love for the diversity of the role. One minute I could be talking to clients about animal production & the next it is fertiliser & crop health, right through to marketing grain!  There is always something happening here at Narrogin branch & it’s great to be involved with such a knowledgeable team and great clients!

Kris TeakleI grew up on a wheat and sheep farm in Northampton, from a very young age I was dad’s shadow, following him around whenever I could. Even now my heart and soul is in the land, when I jump in my car and get out of the city I instantly breathe a sigh of relief. As many country kids did, I went to boarding school, I didn’t know it at the time, but the lasting friendships I made at boarding school would open doors and create networks for me professionally as an adult. After finishing school, the first job I received was selling media subscriptions in Australia and abroad, this launched my sales career. After returning back to Australia I dabbled in various industries across hospitality, finance, and retail, continuing to build on my sales experience.

Eventually I married a farmer and we made our home in Dandaragan, together we farmed, had four beautiful children, and built the Cervantes Tavern. Time passed, and after 11 years of marriage, and moving back to the city to raise the kids, I obtained my real estate registration and started in residential sales, eventually I sold more lifestyle properties, and finally rural. Without realising it the networks, connections, experience farming coupled with my experience in sales lead me to successfully finding my niche in rural real estate.

I find the Elders network allows me the freedom of getting in and getting the job done, I enjoy working with down to earth people, the comradery and working together as a team. As a female rural real estate representative for over 14 years I have seen a shift in perceptions in the way females are impacting in agriculture, daughters are taking over the farms, I see more women in agronomy and farmers are working smarter not harder. I see a bright future for women in agriculture, we can be mothers, working professionals, farmers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, I truly believe that women are an integral part of agriculture, with an abundant mentality we can all benefit from what the industry has to offer and also what we can offer the industry.

Kylie CattanachI am Katanning born and bred and have been with Elders in Katanning on two separate occasions. I started with Elders was in 2008 as sales support officer, but in 2010 I decided to try FIFO. In the end I really wanted to come home to Katanning so came back to Elders. I specialise in the livestock administration and love being able to get out on farm, I attend the sale yards on Wednesday’s and see how the market shifts from week to week.  I also enjoy talking to the buyers and vendors and working at the clearing sales.

My experience and knowledge continues to grow, and now find myself providing support and guidance to other SSO’s as far as the Northern Territory. What I enjoy most is the culture of Elders, it doesn’t matter who you are or what position you are in everyone is open and ready to support you. I feel that Elders is very focused as a business and has a good balance between a corporate and client focus.

Personally I find having a good self-awareness helps in this industry which helps you get results, if you have a good work ethic your input will accomplish the output, and you will then gain respect.

Laura ArcherI grew up on a family farm in Narrogin, WA. My love of the outdoors and agriculture led me to study Agricultural Business at Curtin University.  Once uni finished I was offered a graduate Agronomist position with Landmark, and after two years with Landmark I joined Elders and now service the Great Southern Region.

I couldn’t imagine my life without agriculture in it. I love the changing of seasons, the challenges and learnings every year brings, the exciting future agriculture holds, the people in the industry and making the most of the successes it brings. I believe that the industry is supportive of females, and have noticed more and more women making a career in Agronomy.

I have great relationships and hold respect with my clients and colleagues. I am proud of the successes my clients have every year in their business. Slight changes that we make together may only deliver a small improvement, but it is a move forward and in continuing to do so, will enable them to farm better, smarter or more sustainably for the future.

Olivia RichardsonMy career in HR has spanned both the public and private sectors, across various industries, and also abroad. Returning to Australia, after five years in London, the first position I took when I came home was with Elders in Adelaide for a 12 month fixed term contract. I had never worked in Agricultural and thought I would give it 12 months. 12 years on, after 3 stints of maternity leave, I am the General Manager of People and Culture.

What drew me in to Elders was our people – they are genuine, authentic, down to earth and believe in giving everyone a fair go.  I am really pleased to see women in Ag role model diversity every day by being appointed on merit into what are sometimes considered ‘non-traditional’ roles for females, and then demonstrate they can do a great job. I think perceptions are changing about male and female roles in the home, in raising a family, and in working flexibly.

Being at the helm of the People and Culture function, I can influence decisions around things like recruitment decisions, maternity and paternity leave pay and flexible work arrangements. I think offering flexibility and the ability to blend work commitments with commitments outside of work goes a long way towards supporting diversity at all levels.

Paula HardinghamLocal Kojonup girl, I attend the Local District High School from kindy to year 10 and then attended WA College of Agriculture Narrogin, during my years at Narrogin Ag College I was heavily involved with the sheep section, and represented the ag school at numerous events like the Perth Royal Show. When I was at school I had expressed an interest in pursuing a career in Agriculture, and was given an opportunity to do work experience with Elders, the work experience eventually lead me to secure a full time position after schooling.

My job is great, every day is different but it’s also stable and consistent which I like, it’s a mix of everything Animal Health, Ag Chemicals, Fertiliser and even Livestock, I get experience across such a diverse mix. Last year my team mates nominated me for a One Elders Award which recognises individuals who live the Elders Values, it came as a surprise when I was selected as the monthly winner for Operation Excellence. As a winner of this, I was invited to the annual award and recognition dinner in Adelaide which has been a career highlight so far.

I continue to strive towards my next career goal whatever that maybe, and embrace any training and development I can get. I strongly recommend the agriculture sector for anyone it’s a joy to work in with many different job roles.

Rachel MartinI grew up in the country on a small farm outside Geraldton in a town called Walkaway. After completing my degree in accounting and finance and spending four years in the Great Southern Region, I returned home and started my career in banking.  I was dealing mainly with crayfishing and farming clients, and enjoy the easy-going nature of the people I do business with. It’s the people in agriculture that I enjoy the most.

At Elders everyone I work with is doing something different which helps me grow and learn. We all have different strengths and specialities but are working towards the same goal for our Clients. When I first started my career I was nervous that people would think I was just a young girl and “what would I know” but everyone has been very welcoming. I think as long as you are good at your job and have a genuine interest in your clients and their farming businesses, people will treat you equally and respectfully.

Saige EdwardsMy name is Saige Edwards, I am 19 years old and live in Wagin. My parents are third generation farmers on Narridy Farm which we do sheep and cropping. I am involved in our local sporting communities: Wagin Amateur Swimming Club and Wagin Netball Club. I went to Wagin D.H.S until Year 10, and completed the rest of my schooling at Narrogin S.H.S. I was very successful in the fashion event called APEX, where I competed for 4 years and placed 1st in the 2014 Nationals.

You learn so many new life skills and gain experiences in the agricultural industry, which is always challenging and ever changing so you learn to be flexible and adaptable. I enjoy new challenges and take pride in working hard to achieve my goals. You gain strength from the hard times, learning how to be resilient, taking the good with the bad and assist farmers in making changes to continue the success of their farming business. As you grow on a farm, you learn to accept that animals are a part of business and that Agriculture is an on-going cycle that never stops – farmers work 24/7; through the blood, sweat & tears. I have lived in Wagin all my life and want to support the farmers here to build their businesses successfully. Being a local gives me a better understanding as I know a lot of them personally so it’s easy to have compassion, understanding and a genuine interest in their needs.

I have enjoyed being a part of the Elders team, meeting and interacting with staff from different branches and making new friends. I am continually learning about new products and practices to give the best possible knowledge to clients and their needs. I believe Elders is a business built on teamwork, knowledge and a supportive well run network. They encourage their team to be hard working, knowledgeable and have the clients’ interests in the forefront of their dealings. Clients are always first priority.

For myself, the biggest achievement I am most proud of is that I’m always doing something out of my comfort zone. I have never been very confident and I don’t give myself enough credit for what I have achieved in the past 10 months; not just as a person but within myself. When people walk in and see changes to the shop (new displays, re-organising shelves or how clean the store looks) I appreciate all the small compliments and the recognition as it makes me feel proud that all the effort and hard work pays off.

Susan OgleI love the country and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else, lifestyle choice is the main reason I pursued my career in agriculture. I have been a qualified wool classer since 1988, I travelled around the state classing wool and managing teams.

I naturally bought my own sheep and went into prime lamb production. This led to developing my own Suffolk stud for terminal sires. The stud was one of the largest Suffolk sheep studs in WA, and a long term goal of mine. Not only was it the largest but also one of the top performing genetically which I am particularly proud of.

I eventually sold the stud and when a management position was presented in Wyalkatchem I signed up. Eight years on and I am now branch manager. The personal relationships, friendships and networks that I have built have made this a very fulfilling career choice.