IT’S a long way from Goorangoola to the headquarters of this country’s oldest bank Westpac in Kent Street, Sydney.
But for Susan Bower the journey from her family’s beef grazing property to the heights of banking has been one she has truly enjoyed and one that has allowed her to pursue her great passion in life, agriculture in all its guises.
Susan has just been appointed head of agribusiness, Australian Financial Services with Westpac a position which places her working for all the financial institutions of the Westpac Group including Bank of South Australia, Bank of Melbourne and St George as well as Westpac itself.
She will be looking after the company’s agribusiness strategic directions, growth, branding and the position will involve a great deal of travel throughout regional and rural Australia looking after and talking to staff and providing support for agribusiness clients.
Westpac agribusiness operates from 48 locations nationwide and employs 300 staff.
To say she is looking forward to the challenge of heading up such an organisation would be an understatement. One can tell she is ecstatic to be appointed to such an important position in rural Australia especially at a time when the opportunities for rural industries look so promising.
“Australia produces a clean, green, first class product and we are capable of not only feeding our own population but also many overseas people as well,” she said.
“With the world population expected to reach nine billion by 2050 Australian agriculture is in a very good position to provide developing countries with sources of protein.
“Right now it’s a good space for our producers to be.”
As to her success Susan paid tribute to the guidance of her parents Olwyn and Daryl Bower saying one of her father’s favourite sayings held true “if it’s to be it’s up to me.”
“My parents always had soft words of encouragement and working on the family farm with them gave me a very good grounding,” she said.
“But you have to create your own opportunities and back yourself – as they say nothing ventured nothing gained.”
Susan who attended Mount Pleasant Primary School and Singleton High School said it didn’t matter where you lived or what school you attended because at the end of the day it was up to the individual to get somewhere in life.
After high school she gained a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New England with majors in agribusiness, animal science and organisational management.
Before switching to Westpac she worked for more than 11 years with NAB in its agribusiness division rising to the position of senior sales and service manager – agribusiness.
A former Singleton Showgirl and 2003 Royal Agriculture Society (RAS) Rural Achiever, Susan has spent much of her own time working towards promoting young people’s involvement in show and agriculture in general.
She spent seven years as a member of the RAS Youth Group which she found to be a fantastic experience although a great challenge.
Given her passion for agriculture, Susan has found the perfect career and is sure to encourage others to look to join her in rural industries whether it be financial, as contractors, as service providers or farm managers.
“It’s the industry to be in, there are so many opportunities – I am an example of what you can do in just once sector of agriculture,” she said.