WoTL Thriving Women Conference makes a profound impact - an interview with winner Michelle Desmazures.
26 August 2022
The Limestone Coast Landscape Boards winner of the WoTL Thriving Women – The Impact of Us conference ticket was Michelle Desmazures. Michelle works on farm with her husband, running a mixed grazing and dryland Lucerne business in the upper Limestone Coast.
Why did you want to attend the conference?
I saw attending the conference as a great opportunity to continue to grow my understanding about Agriculture. Given my recent career change from working off farm for 25 years to now working on farm with my husband in running our mixed grazing and dryland Lucerne business, I was intrigued by the conference title WoTL “Thriving Women - The Impact of Us” and knowing nothing more than that I wanted to attend. With some quick searching via social media to find out what WoTL was - it was a case of sign me up!
How was the conference?
It was excellent! In my previous career I had been to hundreds of conferences over the years, however the WoTL “Thriving Women - The Impact of Us” was right up there as one of the best. Having an opportunity to immerse yourself for two days in an environment that immediately felt supportive and welcoming, instantly promoted a sense of belonging. Such an environment allows you to be open to exploring and contemplating new ways of thinking and, you feel encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone. The way the conference was structured with a mix of whole group sessions as well as being able to choose your own ‘Toolbox Talk’ breakout sessions was a key element in the success of the conference for me personally. Over the course of the two days I attended five ‘Toolbox Talk’ breakout sessions totalling five hours of having access in small groups to some highly knowledgeable people across a wide range of topics. So, that was definitely a highlight. The key note speakers were another highlight. Hearing them share their stories and journeys was fascinating and at times highly emotional, but this was also balanced with a few laugh out loud moments too. One of the 'best bits’ was having time to meet new people, re-connect with some familiar faces and to also establish new connections and networks in the Ag space, which for me is something that is really important as I grow my identity as a Farmer.
What were your take home messages?
That’s a really good question! There were many pages of notes that I wrote throughout the two days, so looking back through my notebook (which was in our Welcome Pack at the Conference!) at some of the things I had written down, the following are statements, questions, thoughts and ideas are the ones that really resonated with me;
- “Listening is the most important thing you can do” - Annabel Crabb (one of the keynote speakers).
- “Do you know how financially secure you are?" Paula Liddle - William Buck Accountants (Toolbox Talk Presenter).
- “Investing in yourself (your wellbeing) has huge benefits in the long run for you and your business” Kate Gunn - ifarmwell (Toolbox Talk Presenter).
- “Trust is like an egg - if it breaks it is impossibly hard to put back together (think Humpty Dumpty)” Tony Catt - Catapault Wealth (Toolbox Talk Presenter).
- “Think about what the other person is currently experiencing, be empathetic and have listening ears.” Dr Emily Buddle - Ellimata Consulting (Toolbox Talk Presenter).
- "Listen to understand” Yung Nietschke (one of the keynote speakers).
Have you implemented any of these take home messages or plan to in the near future?
Well, the take home messages have certainly prompted a number of discussions between Adam (my husband) and I. There are quite a few things discussed at the conference that we have already been doing in our business. So to have that external validation that we are on the right track is encouraging! However, there is always room for improvement and for the refining of current systems and practices. So, yes there are definitely some things that we are currently exploring with the view to potentially implement into our business moving forward. And that’s exciting!
Would you recommend the WoTL conference?
Absolutely I have already been recommending the conference to others…..I am keen for the next one! I am very appreciative of the opportunity the Limestone Coast Landscape Board provided by supporting my conference attendance. It has absolutely had a profoundly positive impact - thank you!