Agricultural Advocate, Businesswoman
As CEO of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA, Susie is both spokeswoman and go-to person.
She’s the industry’s chief advocate and plays a pivotal role in planning and implementing strategy.
It’s also her job to keep growers abreast of the latest industry developments – including new science – and that’s where her experience really bears fruit.
I studied agricultural science at the University of Adelaide, majoring in soils and horticulture.
My first job was two years of applied research in post-harvest horticulture with the Department of Agriculture, followed by five years in soil and water management consulting. Both of those roles sprang from casual jobs – and I had great mentors.
Then I trained and supported the distributors of soil and water monitoring equipment developed by Adelaide-based Sentek Sensor Technologies. I spent several years living out of a suitcase and travelling the globe.
My role morphed into sales, then project management and marketing. By the time the Apple and Pear Growers job came up I had a solid grasp of international business – and two boys!
I married an apple grower and I’ve lived on an orchard at Lenswood – the heart of apple country – for 20 years. Now I’m giving back to my community and working with amazing people.
I love the diversity of my work – no two days are the same. This role has brought together so many of the things I’ve learned and I love that I have the opportunity to make what I want of it.
I’ve learned that what you’re doing now isn’t what you’re stuck with for life. Don’t be afraid to give things a go; you never know what’s going to come out of it.
When you give something a go, learn from it. Work out what you like about it, what you’re good at and where you can use those skills elsewhere.
My smartest move was going to a career counsellor halfway through Year 12. (Thanks Mum and Dad!) I’d thought agricultural science was all about farming and you had to be born into it.
Quote : "Agriculture is such a fundamental industry for our world. In Australia, we do it so well. We do it against the odds; we’re adaptable, diverse and very sustainable."