About The ProgramOur Team
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.
Dr Cathy Byrne
Systems and Learning Manager
Cathy’s grandparents were farmers in northern NSW – growing beans, corn, watermelons and bananas … but the personal hort. bug did not catch her until later in life.
Cathy completed a BA in Communications and worked as a journalist, then in multimedia and marketing in Brisbane, before adding Business and Finance post-graduate Diplomas to her education satchel. Joining the dot.com boom in the USA, Cathy moved into instruction and interface design for enterprise learning and managed the development of training systems for Mercury Marine, General Motors and John Deere in the USA and then Sony Japan and Malaysian Airlines in Asia. She returned to Australia to complete her Doctorate in social research and worked as a lecturer for Southern Cross University’s Social Science and Education faculties.
As a part-time macadamia farmer in Wollongbar, Cathy completed horticultural management courses and was involved in collaborative efforts: to harvest, de-husk, sort and sell nut and experimented with orchard floor soil health and ground cover (including using crushed oyster shell and microbial soil spray). She sees the ‘co-operative’ as an effective democratic business model for collaboration and brings a high level of learning design and delivery expertise to the Farming Together team.
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.
Administration assistant Debbe Allen 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 melons on a 154ha holding in northern NSW and is introducing commercial-scale medicinal honey production. Her working background includes seven years running her own small business, also employment at an agricultural machinery dealership, doing contract management at a central Queensland radio station and assisting construction project managers at the University of Queensland.
She has worked in the finance industry as a junior financial planner and in merchandising/sales, as well as trades assistant and a kennel worker. She holds a Diploma in Financial Services. She is a fully-qualified first aider and holds certifications in OH&S, training and assessment and in electro-technology.
Communications team leader Susan Webster is a Victorian from a dairy background. Her Melbourne-based agency has been operating for 20 years producing ag-publications including Dairyweb, a daily national news service.
She has been media manager for Dairy Australia, a regional media manager for Agriculture Victoria and a ministerial speechwriter, as well as executive officer for Agribusiness Gippsland, a region where she retains some farming interests. She co-established and edited a chain of B2B newspapers in the UK, while her background in daily newspapers in Australia and in the UK earned her numerous awards, including a citation in the Australian Journalist of the Year Award.
She served nine years as associate editor of New Idea and – as editor of Financial Planning magazine – she won the Bell Award for best national client publication. Her other awards include multiple Australasian Reporting Awards and numerous awards for her fiction writing, including a scholarship from the British Society of Authors.
She holds a Diploma of Project Management and was a finalist in the 2015 Women in Industry Awards.
Expert Support Officer & Research Collaboration Co-ordinator
On a small holding out of Lismore, Mindy and her family (2 kids, 1 husband and 2 rescue greyhounds) are learning how to farm beef cattle and honey. Mindy has an Honours degree in Environmental Science (Monash University) and a strong interest in research.
Mindy worked in Quality Assurance and technical administration with Southern Cross University’s Plant Sciences prior to joining Farming Together. Before that she was a Project Manager with Trees for Survival, New Zealand, assisting school children to plant trees and rehabilitate at-risk farmland. Mindy has undertaken post-graduate studies in fire ecology in Victoria and has studied mutualism between a small mammal and a carnivorous plant in Borneo. Mindy’s research was published in PLoS ONE and she provided footage for David Attenborough’s Kingdom of Plants. Mindy has also lived and worked in Darwin and Arnhem Land, in policy and program delivery.