Meet Abi CookLearn more about the woman behind working her out...
Get to know me…
Firstly I’d like to re-introduce myself to you all; so much has happened since we last met and I hope that I find you in a prosperous place in life.
My life has significantly changed over the past 14 years. I have navigated many changes in my career since the Working Her Out project. I have worked in Project management, retail, business management, facilitation and being a Board director. I am now a Manager in the community Service sector, working to support our country’s most vulnerable.
Hands down my greatest achievement is my two children, Belle and Alex, and with that the pride of maintaining an amicable relationship with their dad, my ex husband of 5 years. I have the gift of a new amazing life partner and wonderful family and friends. These people are my foundation for all that I do . I am fortunate that the friendships I have formed are from across both rural and city landscapes, both places I feel grateful to have lived.
One thing that hasn’t waned since I last heard from you is my passion for building capacity in communities, and the individuals within them. I am excited to bring my collected skills and experience back to this project. I am ready to invest in family business to guide them on how to gain success for my initiative – You, I and Our Business.
Working Her Out
At the age of 24 I married into a fourth generation farming family in the South East of SA. I instantly loved the landscape and community that was my new home, but it took time to acclimatise. In that time I became inspired and committed to understanding the dynamics around family and the impact of these relationships on the long term sustainability of family business.
With a focus on the unspoken mother and daughter-in -law relationship, I could develop research that would unearth the challenges and positives of the family business dynamic. The goal was to provide awareness around how to drive successful family business and foster thriving family relationships for all.
The project, Working Her Out was acknowledged by the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award and I was named South Australian Rural Woman of the year in 2007. I then had the honour of being the runner up for the Australian award. The bursary supported the project through the facilitation of family business workshops across South Australia and into the WA Wheat belt. Contributions of personal stories, poetry and interviews were received nationally.
This is how I came to meet or hear from all of you, how generous you were, sharing your personal stories.
Award & Accolades
Presence and Recognition of Working Her Out
South Australian Rural Woman of the Year
The award is about creating positive change in rural industries (agriculture, forestry and fisheries), or rural and regional communities.
Australian Rural Woman of the Year – runner up
The Agrifutures Rural Woman’s Award is Australia’s leading award acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities. The award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian Women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities.
Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences – presenter
Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Interdisciplinary Sciences, Prato, Italy – July 2008
Although there were many great outcomes from the project, I was unable due to personal circumstances to publish the proposed Working Her Out book.
However, through collaboration with Social scientist Karen Cosgrove, an academic research paper was developed. Using your contributions we gained insight into the importance of integrated succession planning in family business.
The paper was taken overseas through the interdisciplinary Social Science conference in Prato, Italy, whereby it received positive feedback and a shared empathy for what appeared to be an international issue.
A mother-in-law should not be able to see her daughter-in-laws’ laundry or the smoke from her chimney from her own house. If she can, she lives too close!
To Participate in the research
I invite all of the original amazing Working Her Out participants to complete and sign the release of information form and the Working Her Out questionnaire to support the completion of this valuable research project.
Given the passing of time between the questionnaires, it is appreciated that some participants may have passed. It is with great respect to their original contributions and in promise that the research developed will hold their perspective and experience perpetually…
Should you have family or friends in Farming families who may be interested in contributing to the project, they are welcome also. Please feel free to contact me below…
I look forward to hearing from you and supporting you with your stories.
Thank you. Abi.