Amy Hunter is a Business Relationship Manager for CBH working out of the Corrigin office.
Amy grew up on a farm in Bruce Rock. She was always interested in agriculture from a young age but was not convinced it would be right for her. Amy went to university and studied Agricultural Economics at UWA and did her Honours project on the role and profitability of controlled traffic technology, which was subsequently published.
“It taught me a lot about how all the 1%ers can add up to have a huge impact on the bottom line”.
Starting in the Agribusiness Graduate program with NAB, Amy moved over East, living in Albury, then to Kununurra, spending three years with them. It gave Amy foundational management insights
“I learnt a lot about what makes a good manager and what makes a not-so-great manager”.
Amy recalls an incredibly intense environment working in the wake of the global financial crisis. Ultimately, she decided that she did not want to work in finance long-term, and moved to a small pastoral consultancy firm in Kununurra, working with cattle stations owners to help them diversify their incomes away from relying on Indonesia, as this was just after the live export ban.
“It was such a unique opportunity to get to fly around in choppers surveying stations and meet a lot of the owners”. “Moving over East and up North allowed me to broaden my horizons and get more exposure to different aspects of the agriculture industry”.
“They are so entrepreneurial up there (Kimberley) because they have access to amazing soil water and unlimited sunlight – The issue for them is actually getting their product to market”.
This experience Amy the importance of marketing, which is when she started to appreciate the economic side of the business more. Although, Amy found the environment too isolating for what she was looking for, and decided to take a year off and move to London. Amy then worked for The Chia Company in London.
“It was a fantastic experience as there was great demand at the time, which the Chia Co worked hard at through their rigorous marketing”.
Connections and networking are what Amy said gave her a leg up regarding career progression.
“It might not be the first job, but the networks that you build along the way can lead you to where you want to go….I hope this whole COVID-19 experience opens up doors for women that might feel underemployed in the country and yet have skills to offer and are able to work”.
Moving back to Australia, Amy was keen to get into Grain Marketing. “I always knew that grain marketing was what I wanted to get into, but I wanted to get a few feathers in my cap before I did”.
An opportunity at CBH came up as their Business Relationship Manager covering a maternity leave position “Don’t oversite a short term maternity leave contract. It allows you to get your foot in the door and prove yourself”. Proving herself during the 12-month contract, Amy got moved to head office as a Key Account Manager and Consultant manager. She also got the opportunity to develop projects to build tools for assisting growers with their grain marketing whilst there.
Over this time, she met her partner, a farmer in the Wheatbelt, which allowed her to move back to the country and pursue the BRM role from Corrigin. Having had such a diverse career, Amy said her one piece of advice for regional people who are passionate about their region is,
“I found it helpful to develop my skills and experience elsewhere to broaden your horizons and have something to bring back to these communities. Going away gives new perspective and skills sets and opportunities that you can bring back to your community”. Amy feels content having had the opportunity to travel and have a diverse career that she can now utilise in her community, which she admits is such an essential part of her life.
Whilst agriculture is still a male-dominated industry, Amy tries not to focus on this aspect.
“You get opportunities based on your credibility and making yourself known, not because you are a female”. Amy prides herself on working hard to prove herself and getting used to self-promotion was something she had to work on.
“You have to be a bit more outspoken than you’re probably comfortable doing”. However sometimes in this industry, it is not enough to just be working hard, you also need males in the industry that will champion your efforts and open doors. “You need to identify mentors or people who are going to recognise and acknowledge your efforts”.
As a woman in the regions navigating a career and personal life is not easy. Amy states we need to normalise career conversations, give women opportunities and experiences separate to their home and family.
“The more career-driven women that come out to the country, the more it will raise people’s awareness and challenge those norms”.
Amy said it is still tricky to navigate as she is passionate about her job and wants to talk about it. She suggests to “keep all of your networks alive and make an effort to have a diverse set of people in your life”. Women can have the career they want in the country, making that more visible
“We are seeing a shift in the generational expectations of women in the country, and I want to help challenge those career norms by being a visible career woman that other women can look up to, which they may not have thought was previously possible”.