Telling all the outback way
MANAGING an outback highway from her Warwick base, practically guarantees Helen Lewis is accustomed to travel.
So heading south next month to be a guest speaker at the inaugural National Rural Women's Conference in Canberra doesn't faze her at all.
Conferences like this are invariably motivating and reinvigorating so I am really looking forward to it.
Neither does stepping up in front of 500 women drawn from rural, regional and remote parts of Australia for a three-day conference from February 18 is designed to inspire, challenge and create networks.
Mrs Lewis is the general manager of the Outback Way, a trans-national road stretching from Perth to Cairns through Central Australia.
The Southern Downs local is also a mother of two and somehow manages to fit in a dusty role helping out on her family's Greymare cattle property.
"I am honoured to have been asked to be a guest speaker and I am looking forward to raising awareness about the social and economic advantages of continuing to develop the Outback Way," Mrs Lewis said.
"Getting up in front of a crowd doesn't phase me; it's been very much a part of my role as general manager."
The personable local woman will join the ranks of such speakers as designer Liz Davenport, Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and Muslim businesswoman and former head of Elders Commercial Operations Miriam Silva.
"I am really looking forward to hearing Maggie Beer speak," Mrs Lewis said.
"She will be talking about the value of local food and produce and it's something I would love to see embraced across the Southern Downs.
"Conferences like this are invariably motivating and reinvigorating so I am really looking forward to it."
Other women from across our regional invited to speak at the conference include Goondiwindi's Mary Carrigan, who was instrumental in establishing the mental health initiative Tie Up The Black Dog.
Felton farmer Sally McCreath will also talk about the power of local communities when it comes to rallying against coal seam gas mining.
The National Rural Women's Conference will be held in Canberra from February 18-20. Details on nrwc.com.au or 02 6927 2866.