When you speak with Millie, it is impossible not to be lifted by her genuine joy and enthusiasm.
Her mindset and personality radiate positivity so it’s easy to understand why she’s already excelling in her employment as a Market Operator with AuctionsPlus.
Conversation seems to come naturally to her. It’s hard to believe this kind of interaction is something that, according to Millie, still pushes her well out of her comfort zone.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Millie grew up with an older sister on the family property 30km from the small Central West town of Nyngan, NSW. “Dad has been part of the family farm business since he was in Year 10 when he knew it was what he wanted to do, and his Dad couldn’t get rid of him!” Millie’s mother hails from a small nearby community, ‘The Marra.’ She studied agriculture at university, and now works for the Local Bogan Shire Council in the Environmental Sector. Millie’s older sister followed in her parents’ footsteps returning from university to work on the farm.
Like many regional students, Millie has always liked the idea of being close to home, family and the farm. Nevertheless, she often found herself wondering if there was a better way she could contribute to farming, business and the surrounding conversations.
Despite being a self-confessed homebody, the bigger questions and the post school travel bug took Millie on a journey of discovery – otherwise known as the gap year. This experience gave her time to think and opened up her world. On her return to Australia, she headed to Armidale to study at the University of New England.
With her love of the land ever present, Millie started studying Agribusiness. Ever grateful for the chance to participate in tertiary education, Millie concedes that at the time she couldn’t help but look forward to being home. Unfortunately, like so many from the bush visiting home, this now needed to be well-planned, given it was a 16-hour round trip. To ease the homesickness, she spoke with her parents most days, “just to chat and check what was happening at the farm.”
A farming income can be unreliable. Add unpredictable weather patterns and an international pandemic, this income became almost non-existent. Millie was acutely aware of the financial strain her studies added, saying, “I’m not someone who likes to have the help in regard to financial aspects, especially from my parents as they already do so much.”
MAKING THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITY
Receiving the grant from CEF Nyngan as well as a national Findex Community Fund – CEF scholarship, “made me feel empowered and recognized for what I was doing in my studies. It enabled me to purchase textbooks which I stopped purchasing after my first trimester as they were way too expensive. It was difficult. I was constantly trying to find part time work like babysitting to earn some extra cash on the side as my pocket money,” Millie explains.
Millie is a creative and a true learner at heart. She needed those textbooks because she wants to understand everything about what she is doing – a rare quality in our world today.
Her creative nature and ‘need to know’ came to the fore as she studied. She realised not only did she have a passion for agriculture, she was eager to learn and understand all aspects of business. In Millie’s second year, she made the move to a business degree. Not just to follow her passion or for employment, but for her own personal growth. Management to develop her leadership skills, marketing to release her creative side, accounting to satisfy the analytical side of her brain, public relations to develop her people skills.
Millie says she has often struggled with people skills, confessing she can be a nervous individual. Despite this, she is a strong believer in pushing one’s limits and making the most of opportunities, no matter how personally challenging they might be. She says, “I found myself pushing out of my comfort zone in regard to applying to summer programs and communicating with older people in employment positions which I aspired to.” It is this growth, personal achievement and finding self-acceptance that she says are highlights from her time at university.
In her own words, Millie has never been one to ‘toot her own horn,’ a phrase that makes you smile because it is a mindset so many from rural and regional Australia can relate to. She says, “However, it also comes with age to learn that life is actually short and so many people grab onto opportunities because they are able to speak up.” You could be forgiven for finding humour in these words coming from such a young woman but, they are delivered as the words of a wise soul, one that has already been around the block once or twice.
Already having demonstrated an ability to push her limits, a desire to learn and without question, possessing characteristics worthy of ‘tooting’, there is no doubt Millie’s strength, assuredness and confidence will continue to flourish.
Having faced her fears and made those calls, she knows more often than not, people are warm and welcoming and more than willing to help. When we are often only presented with the worst in the world, this is something we forget, so we are fortunate to have someone like Millie to remind us of the good in people.
They are the lessons learned that inspire her advice for other regional students, inn fact, for most of us! “Send that email enquiring about a job. Find a phone number and make a call! This scared me, to ring a stranger and introduce myself .” This very sentence is one many people can relate to and unlike Millie, something many of us never quite get the hang of.
GROWING INTO GREATNESS
Knowing her studies were finishing at the end of 2021, Millie began practicing what she preaches, beginning her search for employment with the same openness and optimism which she applies to her life.
In an extremely competitive post-COVID job market, Millie gained employment with AuctionsPlus , working part-time as she finished her degree. Not long after her final exams, she packed up and moved to Sydney for what quickly became a full-time job with the company.
As a Market Operator she spends her days answering all sorts of enquiries, helping with organising and running sales and even travelling to attend sales nationally. As always, with family and home never far from her thoughts she says, “It is also amazing to be in a role that links me to home despite living away.”
Millie is proud to be involved in a progressive business, in an industry that is starting to empower and embrace young women. After all, almost 60% of university agriculture enrolments nowadays are young women.
“I love what I do and enjoy working every day as it gives back to people as well as being able to chat with people all over Australia!” she says excitedly, and it is safe to assume she has well and truly pushed the boundaries on that comfort zone of hers.
Millie admits she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to do after university, and as you would suspect, agriculture was always ‘in the back of her mind.’ This is why she feels thrilled and lucky to have found her job. When you chat with her, you get the feeling that Millie is in exactly the right place.
Millie wants to lead by example, to make a difference. The ultimate dream? To be a successful businesswoman. She wants to do this by using all facets of her amazing personality and her ever-growing business acumen.
There is no denying Millie’s ambition, dedication and work ethic. More importantly, there is no questioning her kindness, authenticity and passion. “I look forward to working within a field that pushes me to constantly think outside of the box, and to make change for others in any way possible, where I can be someone who works immensely hard to achieve success for others.” And no, the last sentence does not contain any typing errors. ‘For others’ is what Millie said, and it is precisely what she means.
She still holds dear that passion for the farm and hopes that her education, employment and continued personal empowerment will lead her to place where she will be able to help “other Aussie farmers, my Dad and my children’s Dad.”
- FUN SPEED ROUND WITH MILLIE
Favourite musician, singer or band?
There are so many! But I can never skip a song by The Chicks (The Dixie Chicks as we know them)
Sunrise or sunset?
Both! I love watching both a sunrise and a sunset
Favourite hobby or past time?
Probably exercise or going for a walk with my dog… however when I was little, I would spend every afternoon drawing, painting or anything to do with being creative…
Last book you read?
The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
FIVE people (alive or not) for a study group?
Brendan Cullen (one of my Best friends Dads who is known as ‘The Desert Swimmer‘ on Instagram and is a vital part in Lifeline for Mental Health, having won awards nationally)
Emily Herbert who hosts the Graziher podcast!
How would you spend your last $10?
I would put it in an envelope and wait for something really special or important to spend it on