Beef 2024 Preview

Beef Connections member’s journey towards Beef 2024: The power of collaboration, opportunities and preparation

Beef Central, 01/11/2023

THE Graeme Acton Beef Connections mentoring project being held in the lead-up to Beef 2024 in Rockhampton next May is now well underway, 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 as part of the program.

Over the next five months, she will share 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 ….


Moving mentoring forward

“Better to be a Ford Falcon on the road than a Rolls Royce in the garage” – what a quote from facilitator Wendy Agar that guided my thinking this month.

It was a great reminder to ‘just do it’ and to prioritise progress over perfection!

As my mentoring partnership moves from the ‘Engage’ to the ‘Sustain’ stage, I’ve set the goals to keep in better contact in between our main zoom sessions – this will help the relationship and my project develop.

Facilitator Jo Eady also provided us great support and tips to ensure our mentoring partnerships are flourishing – reminders included to ask for what you need, email before, and go over goals prior to sessions.

Power of collaboration with Liam Cameron

This month the inaugural Beef Connections Virtual Leadership Forum was launched, bringing together past and present mentees and mentors to connect, collaborate and learn from each other.  Please enjoy 2023/24 mentee Liam Cameron’s recap of the morning:

On Thursday 12 October we participated in a forum – first of its kind – based around the idea of the ‘Power of Collaboration’. This unique forum gathered past and current members of the amazing Graeme Acton Beef Connections Program. I found it very exciting and was thrilled to be a part of the morning session. Beef Australia chair Bryce Camm started off, sharing inspiring words speaking of the importance of communication within a team, making sure you are honest and open, and are all striving to a mutual goal whatever direction that may lead – both internally and externally.

Next up was Adam Coffey who I really enjoyed listening to. Adam spoke very freely and was able to connect with everyone on the forum in some sort of way. Adam brought to life his personal journey.  How amazing to have entered the beef industry in Queensland without growing up in a farming family.  He provided great insights into how he used communication within the team he managed on a large-scale cattle operation with a decent size camp around him. Adam also gave some strong tips around the idea of collaboration that allowed the group to really think about our personal leadership values/goals and what we need to strive forward.

Prue Bondfield and Richard Rains as guest speakers were extremely interesting and I can honestly say the wealth of knowledge and wisdom these two bring to the table is outstanding. Both have looked after and managed a large team and had great relationships with their co-workers which led to a fantastic session on how to go about it. The importance of building relationships and allowing your emotions to be a part of it were key for Prue and Richard when creating effective group collaboration. An amazing quote I’ll take out from Richard was: “I’ve always used the mindset and language that people work with me, not for me. This ensures people feel like they’re part of something.”  Read that again and let it sink in!

What a great job my fellow mentees, Isobel Heffernan, Amy Wicks, Jean Liebenberg, and Georgia Dale did as forum facilitators – go team!  Can’t wait for the next one, now it’s back to you Phoebe!

Wow what great insights Liam thank you! Gee it makes me excited for the next forum on 6 March next year, which we’ll be hosting!

October Opportunity

Unfortunately, I myself missed the leadership forum as I was on a flight to Tasmania to compete in the 2023 National Young Beef Judges Championship at the Royal Launceston Show.

Phoebe competing in the National Young Judges Competition at the 2023 Royal Launceston Show. Image: Isabella Hanson.

This competition brought together the top young judges from SA, NSW, QLD, VIC, and WA to compete for the National title. I was lucky to be one of them.  It was a great opportunity to travel to a state I’d never been to and network with young people from across Australia who share the same passion for the beef industry as I do.

The challenge of assessing cattle, formulating your opinion, and then conveying your thoughts to the audience allows for amazing skill development in a safe, supportive environment where the growth of young people is the ultimate goal.

I would highly recommend to any young people interested in a future in the beef industry to get involved in judging competitions in your local areas.

They’re a great opportunity to network with industry professionals, develop public speaking skills and knowledge of the industry.  It’s all about building your beef future today.

Progressing projects

Speaking of that, my project has progressed this month with Build Your Beef Future launching online. find us on Facebook and Instagram @buildyourbeeffuture. My mentor Sam Noon has been a great support and her social media tips are super handy. And behind the scenes, I’ve begun collecting the pathways of people working in the beef industry – excited to share these with you in May 2024.

Exciting times ahead

Beef Week 2024 tickets launched this week, and my flights are booked – I’m looking forward to May next year! And as you’re reading this, I’ll be traveling home from the second Beef Connections in person mentee meet up. We’re headed to the Riverina in Southern NSW traveling from Albury to Griffith – I’m so excited!

I know we have an awesome week planned with many connections and conversations to be had. I’m looking forward to hearing more from my fellow mentees on how they’re projects are going and to assist them with feedback, too. And of course, facilitator Jo Eady has already set us a challenge to come prepared with an 8-minute group activity focused on improving our projects.

I’m excited to facilitate small group discussions on topics that will assist me in creating my digital magazine and hear what the group has to offer.

As I’m about to embark on this next in-person meet up I reflect on lessons from our first meet up. The quote, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance” springs to mind. I learnt to maximise the opportunity.

You must come prepared and what a wonderful resource we have with the internet today. The ability to do a quick online search, watch any videos, and prepare questions. Here’s one I’ve found  It’s all about Rennylea Angus which we’ll be visiting – I’m looking forward to asking more about the efficiency of the cow herd and their dung beetle research.

I can’t wait for our Riverina meet up – it’s going to be awesome!

Come back next month to read all about what we saw and heard  – Talk then …




Phoebe’s previous diary entries

September 2023: Being, Balancing and Building Brilliance

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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