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About The Program

Our Team
Lorraine Gordon

Project Director

Lorraine Gordon is a beef producer from Ebor in NSW. She has had an extensive career in agricultural leadership. She is a former NSW Rural Woman of the Year and CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.

The co-initiator of the successful Ebor Beef Co-operative, she has presided on the Small Business Review Panel of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Board of Studies at the University of New England, Charles Sturt University’s Consultative Committee and three regional tourism boards (New England North West, South Coast, Mid North Coast).

Previous positions have included Business Finance Manager and Regional Agribusiness Manager with Westpac Bank, Director of the Graduate Network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. She is also a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was an award winner in the 2002 Telstra Business Women’s Award.

Her qualifications include advanced diplomas in corporate governance, tourism and agriculture, and an MBA from UNE majoring in project management. Lorraine is currently completing her PhD in ecological economics (grazing systems in northern NSW) through UNE.

Lorraine was awarded the 2018 Rural Community Leader of the Year for Australia and was a 2019 finalist for Australian of the Year for her work with farmers.

Amanda Scott

Farmer Groups Project team leader

Amanda Scott grew up helping on an uncle’s sheep farm south of Sydney. This led her to study agriculture through high school and university and work on a number of farms across NSW.

Drawn towards education, she completed an honours degree in primary education specialising in science. She became a mathematics teacher and worked in the field of mathematics assessment at the University of NSW while also running a part-time business. In 2007, was the winner of the Rotary Bright Sparks Program Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award and in 2016 secured two New-Colombo Grants from DFAT.

She holds a Diploma of Management, a Certificate IV Marketing and a Diploma of Gemmology. She is a Justice of the Peace and is undertaking a PhD in Collaborative Networks through SCU.

Simone Blom

Farming Together Project Officer

Simone Blom, grew up running through the vineyards of her grandparents boutique property in Victoria. Through this engagement with the outdoors, Simone developed a passion for the natural environment that led her to studying Environmental Science at The University of Melbourne. During her studies, Simone became involved in Marine Education and on completion of her second degree in teaching, worked for over a decade with the education branch of the Department of Primary Industries (now Fisheries).  At this time, Simone also worked as the Head of Science and the Sustainability Officer at a high school in regional Victoria.

Simone has lived in the Northern Rivers for the last seven years and has been employed in a variety of teaching, research assistant and project officer roles at Southern Cross University. Through these positions, Simone has travelled both nationally and internationally working in collaboration with other teachers, universities and Australian academies. Simone received a Vice Chancellors award for Excellence in Student Engagement in Education in 2015, and is currently completing a PhD in Environmental Education.

Debbe Allen

Administration Officer

Debbe grew up on a small holding in south-east Queensland and was a keen horsewoman, having won awards in show-jumping and dressage. Now, she farms beef and medicinal honey on a 154ha holding in northern NSW.

Her working background includes seven years running her own small business, assistant to the accountant for an agricultural machinery dealership, department manager at a Central Queensland radio station, junior Financial Planner, assistant to construction project managers at University of Queensland, before coming to Southern Cross University for the Farming Together Program.

She holds a Diploma in Financial Services, certifications in OH&S, training and assessment, first aid and electro-technology, and is nearing completion of a Bachelor of Agriculture from University of New England.

Melissa Gulbin

Communications Co-ordinator

Melissa Gulbin is a journalist and content marketing specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Most notably, Melissa was the editor of the Lismore Echo newspaper and senior digital reporter for Australia Provincial Newspapers (APN). As a sought-after blogger and columnist, Melissa established her own content marketing business in 2015, where she used her well-honed storytelling ability to drive campaigns for not-for-profit organisations and social enterprise start-ups.

As a Landcare volunteer, community events coordinator and environmental campaigner, Melissa’s passion is building resilient communities through connection to the land and one another.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Media from Macquarie University.