Tracey Hodgkins CEO

Tracey describes herself as a social entrepreneur and change-maker who has a strong bias for upending stodgy old industries. Her motto in life is “the most reliable way to predict the future is to create it”.

Tracey’s work in building and enhancing strategy, leadership and innovation capacity is well documented and highly awarded. From universities to corporates throughout Australia through to successful social ventures and small startups she has helped many companies and individuals start and develop profitable business concepts and build high profile careers.

As well delivering Innovation programs to Universities nationally, Tracey wrote and delivered the prestigious Australia Awards Leadership Program for high level leaders in 96 countries, the Make Me A CEO advocacy and mentoring initiative – a national program designed to promote and support aspiring women into senior leadership positions; managed the Innovation Club of WA for 8 years; designed and delivered Enterprising Australia, a Rotary partnership supporting and funding entrepreneurs and Business Icon – a national young entrepreneurs program; and a range of others that were all awarded on a national and international level. In 2012 Tracey founded the ‘One Day of Positivity’ campaign, a mental health initiative designed to help people and organisations think and act in a positive manner, no matter the circumstances.

In the past few years she has worked with the senior leadership team at TAFE Queensland to restructure the General Education environment to enable growth and profitability, developed a product design company and now works with Southern Dirt an agricultural group in the South West of Western Australia. Her background in University, TAFE and RTO’s has given her appreciation for the value of good research and education models that really make a difference in the community and beyond.

Tracey’s past successes include WA Telstra Business Women of the Year and awards such as the Business and Higher Education Round Table Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year, Brownes Everywoman Award for Education, Winner Australian University Teaching Awards, finalist in the Veuve Cliquot awards, winner SIFE World Cup and the winner of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for significant contribution to humanity. She is MBA qualified.

Rachael Plowman Chief Operating Officer

Rachael along with husband Andrew owns a large Broadacre cropping and sheep enterprise in the Southern Dirt region. She has a Bachelor of Science (BSc), Wool and Pastoral Science from the University of NSW and joined DAFWA as a Wool Industry Development Officer before moving into management on the family farm.

Rachael was a former Southern Dirt board member, is a current school board member and hockey coach and a respected member of the Kojonup community.

Emma Russell Project Officer

Emma is Southern Dirt’s principle project officer and manages all aspects of our projects which include field assessment, reporting and communication with the advisors, growers and members of the grower groups. Emma has several years’ experience working on various trials and extension projects and assisted on the Dirt to $ Cropping Challenge site over the past 3 years.

Emma has a double degree from UWA in Marine and Environmental Science and a Diploma in Vet Nursing. She grew up on a farm near Kendenup where she assisted her parents in running their cropping and livestock enterprise.

With strong roots in the country, she and Agronomist partner Nathan Dovey are key supporters of the farming community in the Southern Dirt region.

Janelle South Hub Coordinator West Arthur

Janelle lives and works on her family’s mixed enterprise farm at Darkan and really enjoys the combination of farming and consulting that comes with her role at Southern Dirt.

Janelle graduated from University of WA in 2010 with a Bachelor of Animal Science at (which included a Sheep Production unit through the University of New England). In her final year of study, she received the Australian Wool Education Trust scholarship while completing her honors thesis on the nutritional value of Saltbush to sheep, in cooperation with the CSIRO Livestock Industries program.

Janelle is able to stay up with current research and on-ground issues in the region through her community involvement and is a key member of the Southern Dirt team.

Narelle Simpson– Hub coordinator Kojonup/Boyup Brook

Narelle is a former DAFWA research scientist and project manager who has many years working in cropping throughout the Southern Dirt region. Narelle and husband Daniel farm a large broadacre and livestock enterprise on the Kojonup-Boyup Brook border.

Narelle personally knows every Southern Dirt farming family in Kojonup and Boyup Brook and has connects across the entire region through her research work. With a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science with honours and her knowledge of the Southern Dirt region, Narelle is a welcome addition to the Southern Dirt team.