Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Leadership program challenges perceptions and delivers rewards

“More than just networking, it broke down the barriers,” says Graham Centre member Dr Stephanie Fowler of her experience in a national leadership program.

NSW Department of Primary Industries meat scientist, Dr Fowler was selected to be one of 14 participants in the 2018 Sheep Producers Australia Leadership Program.

Dr Stephanie Fowler (front row far right) with other participants in the leadership program and Roger FletcherThe program brought together stakeholders from across the sheep meat value chain including producers, consultants, researchers, agricultural communicators and policy makers.

“The program aims to develop leadership capabilities including critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation, facilitation and communication,” Dr Fowler said.

“It was valuable to spend time with people from different parts of the industry to gain a meaningful insight into their issues. More than just networking it was breaking down barriers.

“I now have a broader perspective of the shared leadership challenges and opportunities faced by the sheep-meat sector in Australia and the need for a practical and cooperative approach to foster ongoing relationships.”

Dr Fowler said taking part in the program has also encouraged her to step outside her comfort-zone.

“The first part of the program involved an outdoor experimental learning exercise and introduced us to a number of community and industry leaders, challenging our notions of what is considered to be leadership and the roles we play.

“This led onto session two which included the development of a personal leadership program and a project to be presented to the Sheep Producers Australia board.

“The final session aimed to further develop skills needed to facilitate change, including communication, having difficult conversations and being an influential leader,” Dr Fowler said.

For more information on the Sheep Producers Australia Sheep Industry Leadership Program, please see


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