Jon-Maree Baker

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					Jon-Maree Baker

RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2001 New South Wales winner
       Persistence paves the way to success.

My involvement with the Australian cotton industry from 1995 to 2007 led me to develop
greatly as an individual, there being tremendous support and networks for learning and
mentors. During that time of growth in irrigated agricultural industries, the roles filled by
women opened up and changed markedly, and I and others saw a need for recognition
of women’s roles and value by making personal development and leadership
opportunities formally available.

At a meeting of interested people the idea of a women’s network to help disseminate
practical and broad-based information was canvassed. It crystallised into WinCott—
Women’s Industry Network Cotton. The profile of the network allowed for publicity and
recognition of the diverse roles played by women in the industry and facilitated sharing
of information on a level that afforded understanding and learning opportunities.

The Rural Women’s Award bursary allowed me to develop my project to run three
separate learning programs. After this, the industry’s direction moved towards young
people, with a full leadership program encompassing a wide range of industry
participants. Winning the award meant I had many opportunities to be a guest speaker,
and I achieved much more than I ever thought possible. In fact, the award experience
has changed my life and given me a sense of purpose in seeking greater opportunities
for women in the cotton industry. Although I do not have a hands-on role in the industry
now, I can see the changes made through WinCott, and I feel that my winning the award
had an impact on many women besides me.

I continue to work in agriculture, in our own farming enterprise, which now consists of
irrigated pasture, Australian stockhorses, Santa Gertrudis cattle and Border collies.
These days my primary focus is my children and the farm.

   Creator, three WinCott programs

   Board member, New England North West ACC

   Winner, Australian Institute of Company Directors scholarship, 2004

   Accredited MBTI facilitator, 2003

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