RAI CEO takes out 2013 Regional Woman of Influence Award
I was born and brought up in London, England. I arrived in Australia when I was fourteen years old, after a couple of years in Fiji, where my parents are from. I worked hard through school in Canberra, yet when I graduated from college I was not quite sure what I wanted to do with my life.
After a very short stint at university, I spent the next thirteen years working across Australia and overseas, in various jobs from a car detailer to veterinary nurse spending much of this time as a sub-contract courier.
This taste of running my own business led me to commence an accounting degree at the University of Canberra in 1990 and after my first semester I began working in tax and financial investment. In 1992, I bought a property with my husband near Yass in New South Wales and started beef cattle farming.
During my degree and related work, I realised I had a talent for taking complex issues and explaining them in simple, relevant terms. As a regional business owner, and someone who had extensive knowledge of the tax system and how it operated, I was also uniquely positioned to understand how these skills could best complement each other to pursue better outcomes for business.
Since completing my degree in 1993, I have worked across a variety of roles to create an environment in which small businesses, particularly those in regional areas, can thrive. Working with the Australia Tax Office, the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers Federation and of course, as the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, I have worked hard for a thriving, vibrant and empowered regional Australia.
The challenges along the way have been mostly resistance to change from others, both internally and externally. I have learned to address this by taking an inclusive approach whereby I lead by example and inspire others to take the journey with me. Understanding that change can be difficult for many people is an important facet of influence.
I now recognise that influence is not a tangible asset or measure, and it’s not about self-interest. It’s about sowing the seed for an idea and connecting people, purposes and outcomes so that the idea becomes a reality. The little changes you influence today can become nation changing tomorrow. The more that we can all become part of this process, the stronger we will be as a nation, all of us working together to deliver outcomes.
My vision of Australia is one in which all regions, from metropolitan to remote, are prosperous, resilient and adaptable, able to positively contribute to our nation’s economy and vibrant future. More than this, I want to bring regional issues to the forefront of national consciousness, so that they are no longer separated from the national agenda.
Through my work with the Regional Australia Institute and into the future, I hope to ensure that every Australian can live, work and play anywhere in our country”.
Last night, our CEO Su McCluskey was named the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 2013’ Woman of Influence working in regional Australia, a recognition of her tireless efforts toward a vibrant future for regional Australia. We would like to congratulate Su on this remarkable achievement. Her determination and can-do attitude are an inspiration to not just the Regional Australia Institute, but all women who are making a difference, whether they realise it or not.