Professional Development Program Packs Punch

Participating in the 12-month Livestock Advisor Essentials professional development program gave Queensland veterinarian Dr Jo Connolly the confidence, capability and connections to take her business to the next level.

Jo Connolly graduated from a Vet Science degree at James Cook University in Townsville in 2016. She then spent four years in Western Australian as a young cattle vet, gaining experience in the industry and strengthening her skills, whilst at the same time studying a Masters in Agribusiness Management through Charles Sturt University.

In 2021 Jo returned to Queensland to start up her own business, Impact Veterinary Services, a mobile cattle veterinarian business with a focus on reproduction.

“I have always wanted to support progressive beef producers with adoption of best practice to improve business productivity and profitability, and in turn build industry sustainability” explained Jo.

For Jo the Livestock Advisor Essentials program offered the opportunity of wholistic learning about how to support beef producers.

The program delivered content across six key focus areas: feedbase, business, genetics and reproduction, value chain and people.

Drawing it all together

With the majority of her technical expertise in animal health and business, Jo was conscious of her lack of knowledge and experience in pastures and markets.

“I would like to build my business to the point where I can offer veterinary services as well as support clients with business decision making to improve their productivity and profitability” Jo said.

“The LAE course has helped me to draw all the pillars together and understand the links between the facets of business.”

Fostering connections

Jo believes the combination of high-quality content and industry connections she developed during the program will be invaluable to her growing business. Not only does she feel she has the tools to support her clients in a more ‘whole-of-business’ capacity, she also has a network of professional connections to lean on when she needs support.

“The program has certainly helped expand my professional networks in a way I would never have been able to achieve operating in isolation across Queensland,” Jo said.

“There were plenty of opportunities to foster both social and professional interactions with participants and the presenters.”

“And in addition to delivering their content, the presenters were open about how their businesses run and the income you need to generate to run a successful business — that has been invaluable.”

Power of communication

Aside from the technical knowledge Jo has developed, she feels that another area of growth was through the workshop with Jill Rigney, from The Right Mind.

“Jill has the ability to explain human behaviour in a way you have never thought of before,” Jo said.

“I have taken away a range of practical techniques, which I not only use when working with my clients, but in my personal life as well.”

“I know I will be able to take into interactions with clients the techniques Jill has taught us to manage difficult conversations.”

Joanne couldn’t speak more highly of her experience with the livestock Advisor Essentials program.

“I got so much out of the program. It was perfectly timed in my career — well delivered, engaging and the presenters were great. I highly recommend it for any other individual from any background,” she said.

Livestock Advisor Essentials program

Jo Jones, from Pinion Advisory, worked with MLA to run the pilot project and develop the national program which will enter its second year in 2024.

“Livestock advisors often start their professional journey with a fairly specific set of knowledge and skills and a limited professional network,” she explained.

“We wanted to build a program that would enhance participants’ understanding of the fundamentals of livestock businesses, develop their knowledge, skills and confidence, and create an opportunity to build valuable professional connections.”

The program will be run in Southern Australia this year, and registrations are now open.

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