Beef 2024 Preview

Beef Connections member’s journey towards Beef 2024: Being, Balancing and Building Brilliance

Beef Central, 04/10/2023

THE Graeme Acton Beef Connections mentoring project being held in the lead-up to Beef 2024 in Rockhampton next May is gaining pace, and as part of that process, Beef Central is following the journey of one of the ten talented young industry stakeholders taking part.


Using a monthly diary format, South Australia’s Phoebe Eckermann* is outlining her experiences and learnings from the program.

Over the next five months, she will chronicle her journey towards executing her chosen Beef Connections project, culminating with a presentation in Rockhampton along with her mentee cohort.

Links to her earlier diary entries can be found at the base of this page…..


IT WAS great to start September checking in with my fellow mentees. I enjoyed hearing about the progression of their mentoring partnerships.

Mentee, Amy Wicks shared some great tips from her relationship with mentor Prue Bondfield about setting goals and checking in on them in your next meeting.

She also shared a video she’d come across this month of the brilliant leadership coach, Ben Crowe. This was a great reminder to go after your goals and dreams, but don’t attach your self-worth to whether you achieve those dreams or not and to focus more on the human being then the human doing. I recommend a google of Ben Crowe for some October inspiration.

I was also excited to hear from facilitators Jo Eady and Wendy Agar about an upcoming opportunity to be a part of the Graeme Acton Beef Connections Virtual Leadership Forum to connect with Program mentors and mentees alumni in October. I’ll share more about that in next month’s diary instalment.

Balance and busyness

Catching up with my mentor Sam Noon in September was again an amazing time. Speaking of time, – between children, cattle, and her consulting business – it’s amazing how Sam manages her hours. I often struggle with ‘busyness’ – especially this time of year juggling showing cattle, work, and life!

Work life balance is a challenge for us all – Sam had some great tips on the topic. Blocking-out periods of time to work on certain projects, making master to-do lists to start the week, being aware of due dates and using tools to make life easier (eg, And maybe my favourite tip of all – surround yourself with people who look out for you.

Breaking into the beef industry

What an awesome webinar the Beef Australia Next Gen committee hosted this month. Committee member Kate Pini was joined by Oli Le Lievre from Humans of Ag and John McKillop to discuss a range of topics from networking to advocacy and mentoring.

My highlights were the chats on networking and mentoring. Points I found very relevant from John were the reminder that people that turn up make decisions, and learning is a life-long journey. A great session from the Next Gen committee I’m looking forward to the next one early next year.

Bouncing Back Into it

After some ‘busyness’, I loved getting back into my project mid-September. My project is addressing a topic I’m very passionate about – encouraging young people into the beef industry.

My passion comes from my own story. I grew up in the city of Adelaide and at age 13 I attended my first SA Junior Heifer Expo. Here I was first exposed to the beef industry – an industry I didn’t even know existed.

Phoebe with her supreme champion Limousin exhibit at this year’s Adelaide Show. Image: Mavstar Photography

I often think about what my life would look like if I never had that experience at 13. I wouldn’t be breeding Limousin cattle on the Adelaide Plains of South Australia, judging beef cattle across Australia or being a Graeme Acton Beef Connections mentee.

There are so many opportunities in the beef industry I’ve been able to experience that have enriched my life and I think they could do the same for many others (no matter where they grow up).

I see an opportunity for the beef industry to better capture the attention of young people and give them inspiration to consider a career in the industry. These young people will help overcome future challenges in ways we haven’t even thought of.

It’s the unique skills, thoughts, and minds that they offer that will strengthen the beef industry. I’m so excited to highlight the opportunities and diverse beef career pathways. And to have Sam to support me is empowering – she’s brought lots of ideas and tools to help progress my project. I’ve being working on preparing and writing some documents – things readers will see very soon.

Build Your Beef Future

Drum roll please …. introducing my project: Build Your Beef Future!

As global population growth continues to drive demand for high-quality protein, the beef industry faces evolving challenges that necessitate innovative approaches and a diverse workforce.

The beef industry offers a broad spectrum of career opportunities beyond traditional farming, encompassing various fields and industries. There is a range of beef careers in sustainability, technology, research, education, communications, policy, and entrepreneurship. However, there is a limited understanding of these careers and the pathways to reach them by the public particularly young people entering the workforce.

My vision is to create and implement a strategy that showcases a positive image of the opportunities in the beef industry to school-leavers and university students.

I aim to do this by collecting a range of beef career pathway ‘testimonials’ from people working across the beef sector. These stories will be showcased in the first edition of the Build Your Beef Future magazine launching at Beef Week in May 2024. I’m so excited to start to collect these stories and share them with others.

Be part of my Build Your Beef Future project

This is your chance to be a part of Build your Beef Future. I would love to hear from you. By sharing your story, you can be a part of inspiring young people to be involved in the beef industry too.

It’s as simple as answering four questions:

  • What’s your beef career
  • What was your pathway to this career
  • Why choose to work in the beef industry, and
  • What’s your best advice for young people embarking on their beef career.

If you’re interested in being a part of my project, I would love to hear from you.

Email me at & follow us @buildyourbeeffuture for all the updates.

Thanks for reading this month’s diary entry – exciting times ahead.

Talk again in November…




Phoebe’s previous diary entries

September 2023: Early learnings from my mentor

August 2023: Meeting our mentors 

July 2023: Our journey begins


* Diarist Phoebe Eckerman is a research officer with the University of Adelaide, and one of ten 2023/24 Graeme Acton Connections Program mentees. Phoebe’s project vision is to create a web-based resource where people can explore the endless career pathways available in the modern beef industry. She has been engaged with the beef industry since her early teen years, having established her own Limousin stud and shown cattle, winning championships at the Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Royal Shows.













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