Beef 2024 Preview

One young Graeme Acton Beef Connections member’s journey towards Beef 2024: Meeting our mentors

Beef Central, 04/08/2023

THE Graeme Acton Beef Connections mentoring project being held in the lead-up to Beef 2024 in Rockhampton next May is 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 will outline her experiences and learnings as part of the program.

As a research officer with the University of Adelaide, 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.

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

Here’s a link to her first diary entry published last month, and published below is her August diary entry…..


A Morning on Mentoring

We began July with a virtual mentee meeting all about mentoring.

The ten of us in totally different parts of the country came together effortlessly thanks to the ZOOM technology.  And I loved how our facilitator, Jo Eady prepared us for our mentoring journey ahead and especially sharing the mentoring model and it’s stages of birth, engage, sustain, and transition.

Each is super important to build an effective mentoring partnership, but there’s one stage that makes me super excited. I’m looking forward to stage one: birth, that will be coming soon!  I can’t wait to know who my mentor is.

Top Tips with Georgie Somerset

We had the delight of being joined online by mentor Georgie Somerset, a beef producer from Durong in Queensland.  Georgie holds a number of leadership roles including President of AgForce Queensland, Deputy Chair of The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section), ABC and Chair of the Red Earth Foundation.

Georgie is an experienced mentor and shared wonderful insight into the relationship between an effective mentee and mentor partnership. Georgie also mentioned she’s a big note taker and loves her Remarkable notepad for easy searching – wouldn’t we all love to have a peek of that!

I took note of her tips on being a great mentee. To be brave and vulnerable, seek feedback, take action, and stretch yourself. All things I’m looking forward to putting into practise with my mentor. It was an amazing session.

Our Mentoring Match Makers

To ensure our facilitators were able to perfectly match mentees and mentors – each mentee filled out a mentoring profile. The profile asked for things like five things that we want support with, five things we’re looking for in a mentor, what we need support with for our projects and a description of our dream mentors.  This is what I wrote about my dream mentor:

  • A rural woman who’s a leader in agriculture.
  • Has media training and skills.
  • Someone who respects my strengths while helping me develop resilience, toughness and self-confidence.
  • A creative, positive person that enjoys giving back to local community.
  • Has a range of contacts with different roles in the beef industry.
  • Holds/has held a director role on an agricultural board.

I really enjoyed having input into this process and thinking about what skills my perfect mentor would have. I was looking for a community-minded individual with great communication skills and interests in education who could support and challenge me throughout my career. I wonder who will fit the bill?

It was a Friday afternoon when an email appeared in my inbox. A list of three fabulous rural women as potential mentors. Three communication specialists – just what I was looking for! Oh my gosh, I thought any of these would be amazing, but I knew it was time for me to really see who would be a great fit.  I had a search online and gave feedback on the options.  I stepped away from my computer knowing that this process would result in a great match. So, who will my mentor be? We’ll have to wait and see!

Matches Made

July flew by and still no update on who exactly all our mentors would be. The anticipation was building. Each mentee had filled out their mentoring profile and mentors had begun to be contacted.

The waiting game was on, while our facilitators and the Beef Australia team put the finishing touches on the mentee-mentor matches.

And then on July 31 the ten matches were revealed to us. A wonderful way to brighten a Monday afternoon.., and I couldn’t be happier.

Here are the matches announced last week:

  • Lauren Angus mentored by Richard Rains – Sydney
  • Phoebe Eckermann mentored by Sam Noon – Goondiwindi
  • Liam Cameron mentored by Tammy Kruckow – Cairns
  • Xavier McCluskey mentored by Anthony Lee – Brisbane
  • Jean Liebenberg mentored by Jo Palmer – Singapore
  • Georgia Dale mentored by Georgie Aley – Sydney
  • Lachlan Smith mentored by Aaron Kiely – Emerald
  • Amy Wicks mentored by Prue Bondfield – SE Qld
  • Isobel Heffernan mentored by Georgie Somerset – Durong, Qld
  • Emily McNair mentored by Rebecca Arnott – Brisbane

I was excited to learn who my mentor pairing was

And as my fellow mentee Georgia Dale puts it perfectly, “This is such a powerful line up!” A line up of mentors from across Australia and the world, how cool! What an amazing job has been done with these matches.

The matching of Xavier McCluskey and Anthony Lee a no brainer, a powerful partnership, where the topics of beef processing and education collide. Amy Wicks and Prue Bondfield – I can’t wait to see how they approach Amy’s ambitious project aiming to cultivate partnerships between young people and older landholders.

I’m looking forward to meeting all the mentors in the coming months as they each join us for our monthly online sessions (and don’t worry I’ll keep notes to share with Beef Central readers too!). But I’m most excited about meeting my mentor – Sam Noon!

Perfect Pairing 

Phoebe’s Graeme Acton Connections mentor, Sam Noon

I feel like it’s a Perfect Match. Sam is a  communication guru, is passionate about rural life, and supporting the growth of the agriculture industry. Ticks all the boxes.

I’m looking forward to hearing all her thoughts on my project and how I can best attract the next generation to the beef industry. I wonder about her best tips for social media – does she think it’s a good idea to use online platforms to attract young people to the beef industry, or will she have some other innovative ideas to bring my project to life?

All questions I’m looking forward to being answered soon. Join me this time next month to have these questions answered and find out more about our first meeting.  I can’t wait.


See you next month!







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  1. James Nason, 05/08/2023

    Great read Phoebe! thanks for sharing these insights, really looking forward to following your journey in the months ahead.

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