New ag focus for chamber

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Building the Deniliquin Business Chamber’s agricultural business membership is a primary focus for its new executive officer Leah Hankinson (pictured).

In her fourth week with the chamber, she has revealed she has ideas to expand the chamber by utilising her history of country living and business experience.

‘‘Once I get myself sorted, I want to get out and around the businesses and I would really like to bring the agriculture side of it in as well,’’ Miss Hankinson said.

‘‘I think the farmers are very important and rather than just focusing on the small businesses in town, we need to think outside the box.

‘‘I actually grew up in the country and have owned and operated a number of businesses myself, so I am aware what it takes.

‘‘I am passionate about this role, but it is all about how it is going to come together as I go through the learning process and bring forth my ideas.’’

Miss Hankinson said she is working to connect and understand the Deniliquin community which will enable her to deliver a relevant service.

‘‘I am currently getting out and meeting people, making those connections by attending functions, through word of mouth and directly meeting people.

‘‘While the committee will introduce me to people, I am not afraid to walk into a business and introduce myself either.

‘‘I have been made really welcome and I have found that in Deniliquin, no matter where you go, you are met with a smiling face.

‘‘This position is absolutely long term for me; I am not planning on going anywhere else at this stage.’’

Miss Hankinson brings many years of experience in administration to the position at the chamber.

‘‘I think I have a lot of skills, have the right personality for the job and I am able to listen to people’s stories,’’ she said.

‘‘I am a real people person and I think that is important in this role because it is all about the people and a focus on their businesses and community.

‘‘I think each person has their own personality and brings a different way of doing their job.

‘‘In saying that, from what I have seen Janet has done an excellent job and I think she was very passionate about what she did here, so I am sure she is going to be missed.’’

Miss Hankinson moved to Deniliquin from Townsville in February with her partner Dennis, who secured a job on a local farm.

‘‘The thought of moving to another country town was really appealing and we are now living out on a farm called ‘Marong’.

‘‘When we moved at the end of February, I started applying for roles and this one was advertised. I thought it would be something different to get into.

‘‘I have always loved country life and I think this is a special little town, I really do.’’

~ Olivia Duffey