Women in forestry supported on their leadership journey

The Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network (TFFPN) with the support of the Tasmanian Government has provided eight fully funded scholarships for women in forestry to participate in the latest offering from Tasmanian Leaders.

The I-LEAD Women in Industry Program has been created to exclusively support and accelerate the leadership journey of rising and established women leaders in Tasmania. Through the program a cohort of 37 women from across traditionally male-dominated sectors—including mining, fisheries, manufacturing, electricity and water—will have an opportunity to connect and advance gender equality together.

Scholarship recipient, Tammy Price, said the program would allow her to gain confidence and cement leadership skills that she has acquired over the years.

Tammy Price with her dad, Tony Bennett who passed away in 2015.

“I think when people meet me they find I am quite friendly and talk a lot, but in reality—behind the smile—there is always a lot of self-doubt, and that is something that I really would like to overcome,” Ms Price said.

“I always have a lot of balls in the air, juggling work and family – and it takes a lot of co-ordination, discipline and energy.”

Ms Price, who began working in the forest industry assisting with administration for her family’s business when she was 14, said that pursuing a career in the sector was a natural progression, and one that she’s never regretted.

“I worked with Timber Communities Australia (Tasmania) for a few years, before commencing employment in the Public Affairs department at North Forest Products.  I then moved into Business Development and Sales – and moved across to Gunns Limited working in community relations before moving into operations as a plantation forester overseeing 20,000ha of plantation establishment in the south and managing the financial processing for the team.

“I left industry for a short period and returned as the Finance Manager for SFM Environmental Solutions around 10 years ago.”

Despite a long history working in the Tasmanian forest industry, Ms Price has been reluctant to put herself forward for scholarship opportunities.

“I’ve always just worked behind the scenes, encouraging everyone else to apply, however when the I-LEAD program was advertised I took a real interest in it,” Ms Price said.

I-LEAD participants will have the benefit of expert facilitators and prominent sector professionals sharing invaluable learnings for their career success across the key areas of personal, strategic and business leadership. The women will be given the opportunity to build networks within the forest industry and within the broader workforce through the relationships that will be formed during the program.

TFFPN Convenor, Therese Taylor, said the eight women, through their participation in I-LEAD, are demonstrating their commitment to providing leadership within our forest industry.

“Building and supporting this leadership capability is key to the development and implementation of initiatives under both the Network’s Forest Industry Workforce Development Plan and the Diversity Action Plan,” Ms Taylor said.

“The diversity in the forest industry’s business size, type and capacity to implement workforce development and diversity initiatives promotes leadership from within the sector to drive the organisational change that is critical for success.”

“The Network is thrilled to be able to support eight highly-motivated women working in our sector to advance their leadership skills,” she said.

Ms Price, who is a fourth-generation forest industry worker – and whose daughter now works in the sector, believes ‘forestry is family’.

“There is no industry quite like forestry. The people are warm and friendly— and always willing to help. I’d encourage women to seriously consider working in this area,” she said.

The women who received full scholarships were Bronnie Grieve and Tammy Price from SFM Environmental Solutions; Gemma Poke from Tasmanian Wood Co, Janet Li from Timberlands Pacific, Kathryn Cresswell from Forico, Kristen Dransfield and Linda Crawford from Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Melanie Conomikes from Hobart City Council.

Photo:  Front row L-R: Bronnie Grieve, Angela Driver, Melanie Conomikes, Tracey Taylor (TFFPN).

Back row L-R: Gemma Poke, Kathryn Cresswell, Linda Crawford, Janet Li, Tammy Price, Kristen Dransfield.

The photo includes the participants and Angela Driver, CEO of Tasmanian Leaders and Tracey Taylor from TFFPN along with the forest industry I-LEAD participants.

For more information on workforce development and diversity initiatives go to www.tffpn.com.au or contract Tracey Taylor by email Tracey.Taylor@tffpn.com.au or phone 0499 623 791.