Monthly Catch-Up: Helen Jenkins
27 Nov 2017
Congratulations on graduating from the Australian rural Leadership Foundation Program, can you tell us a bit about the process?
The application process is competitive and those who are short listed are put through a rigorous interview but it’s about what you experience, reflect on, interact with and teach yourself that strengthens your ability to be more courageous with your leadership journey. The introduction to the program starts in the Kimberley’s, where diverse leaders from around Australia’s rural and remote industries. Throughout the program, participants come together for 55 days at various planned stages over 15 months and includes an overseas component which was Indonesia.
What made you decide to join the program initially?
I had wanted to take part in this leadership program for many years. In the fishing industry it is held in high esteem and indeed a prestigious program. I was at a stage in my life where I was ready for a new opportunity and to take my leadership skills to a new level.
What was your biggest achievement along the way?
I believe my experiences through the leadership program has given me the courage and strength to take on new and challenging roles where I can continue to use my expertise and experiences to assist other aquatic sectors be biosecurity prepared.
Did you encounter any challenges during the program?
Prior to joining AHA, I was the Executive Officer at Australian Prawn Farmers Association during the time the industry was hit with the exotic white spot disease in December 2016. I spent four months working as an Industry Liaison Officer in Queensland during this time. I was required to give evidence or prepare written submissions, talk to the media, negotiate a financial assistance package for the farms and importantly keep industry informed both affected and non-affected.
It was a challenging and emotional time to get through watching your industry be taken over by a cruel disease. Farmers are proud of what they do and produce and I would not like to see any industry have to go through a similar experience and that is why biosecurity is so important and being prepared for disease and emergencies is crucial.
What was your biggest take away from the experience overall?
Taking part in this program has helped me to understand myself, and I feel that my leadership journey is only just starting. I believe I am now a more intuitive leader who is able to navigate complex situations confidently with various people, organizations and communities across regional Australia. I will be able to use these skill for the rest of my life in any capacity and situation.