A born story teller and leader
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A born story teller and leader

Category Our People

Gen V2

 

Growing up on her family sheep property Genevieve McAulay had two dreams – one was to be the first female Prime Minister, the second to become a journalist and change the world.

In the end her passion for storytelling and the written word drew her to journalism and as a fifth-generation rural woman, into ag.

Over her twenty-five-year career, Gen has woven together a vast network that extends deep into the nook of rural Australia. 

Her genuine passion for providing a platform to give rural Australia a voice earned her a reputation as a highly respected journalist.

While the young girl from The Gums on Queensland’s western Daring Downs vowed never to work in the bush, her initial job as a cadet with the local paper, The Dalby Herald, shifted her perception considerably.

“While I loved growing up on our farm, I had grand plans of becoming a political reporter or a foreign correspondent.

“But once I started at the Dalby Herald and began connecting with local producers and telling their story it reignited my passion for agriculture, and with each story I told, I always felt there was much more to say.”

“The Dalby Herald was starting a local cotton newspaper and asked me to lead it. I grew up on a sheep farm so thought another natural fibre ‘how hard can it be?’”

A reasonably new industry on the Darling Downs, led by young, progressive farmers, Gen had the unique opportunity to develop and grow with the industry.

After about a year Gen was headhunted by the Queensland Country Life – the Queensland farmers’ bible – to start a national cotton magazine, Australian Cotton Outlook.

“Once I got to Brisbane my mind was blown, working in a busy newsroom with editors, photographers – when I arrived the deputy editor said to me, ‘we struggle filling one page a week with cotton stories, how are you going to fill a publication a month?’ – I remember thinking  ‘I am in deep trouble’!

Yet, armed with nothing more than her notepad and pen, Gen travelled the countryside, connecting with farmers, uniting and showcasing an industry through her words, creating a strong industry publication that was well-read and respected.

Over the next ten years Gen evolved as the cotton industry’s main media spokesperson.

Ready for a new challenge, Gen made the move to Rabobank as a State Marketing Manager for Queensland.

“It’s a business that shares the same values as I do, which was my initial attraction to the role.”

“My journalism background proved greatly beneficial, and I started the concept of sharing our clients’ stories in the media to showcase the amazing stories of our Rabo farmers.”

Gen also instigated annual International Rural Women’s Day celebrations across branches such as Emerald, Roma, Rockhampton, and Ayr, securing renowned guest speakers to inspire and challenge thinking.

“These events were such a success and included a fundraising element so we were supporting local charities.”

It’s this community-focus and encouragement of staff to ‘give back’ that she believes makes Rabobank unique.

With Rabobank’s support Gen was able to remain involved in the rural journalism sector by joining the Rural Press Club.  

Just one year later, she was appointed president, and was later described as the most innovative president in the club’s history.

In 2012 Gen was awarded a life membership, recognised as the creator and driving force behind many of the club’s most successful and innovative programs including: Excellence in Rural Journalism Award which each sends the Queensland winner to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Conference; Creator of the Rural Press Club Hall of Fame as well as achieving substantial growth of the RPC membership base.

Gen was later President of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists, where she went on to win the QRRRWN Strong Women 2017 Leadership Award, a testament to her strong network and voice for rural journalism.

And all this whilst raising her two children, Meg and Jack.

Celebrating 15 years and recently promoted to Senior Marketing Manager, Gen’s Rabobank career continues to go from strength to strength.

Today she heads up a team of marketers that are dotted across the country working as strategic partners to Rabobank’s agribusiness banking team.

“Rabobank has always encouraged me to keep my career ambition aimed high, whilst keeping sight of my community and industry endeavours, and of course, my family.”

“I have had some incredibly supportive managers during my career, but our Head of Marketing, Kate Holden is my first female manager, and I am so privileged to work for another woman who shares the same values as me – wanting to see people succeed.” 

Having shared hundreds of farmers’ stories – “there is no greater privilege” – Gen said she still gets a thrill looking back at some of the ground-breaking initiatives she got to cover, such as Dick Estens’ Aboriginal Employment Strategy, still a key employment provider in the Northwest NSW cotton industry.

And never one to walk away from a story that needs to be told, she was never afraid to go into bat for her readers – Australian farmers – even if it meant ruffling some feathers.

“What gives me the greatest happiness now is nurturing the careers of my peers and team and seeing them embrace similar values – in particularly women lifting up other women, supporting each other and sharing their knowledge. This makes me really proud.”

 

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