If you are woman interested in a career in ag - go for it!
Australian Penne Kehl, Director of Cargill Asia Pacific shares her story on International Women's Day.
Penne Kehl is one of Cargill’s most senior leaders in Australia and the Asia Pacific region and was until recently the Managing Director of the Cargill Australia business – one of the largest agribusiness in Australia today. These days, she splits her time between Australia and Asia where she is a Director in Cargill’s Agricultural Supply Chain business evaluating opportunities for long term financial growth and short term financial improvements. It is a long way from the Maranoa region in Queensland where Penne was born and raised on her parent’s beef farm.
“I was the middle of three daughters and it was just expected we would help out on the farm. We were all involved in horse work, cattle work, building things and driving things. My mother always said that if my siblings were brothers I probably wouldn’t have been so hands on with the farm. As it was, we were all expected to pitch in and get the job done - we didn’t think twice about it.” It’s a mindset that has held Penne in good stead during her career.
“Cargill has been a great place to pursue my career in agriculture. I have had many opportunities and worked with fantastic people, awesome teams and great managers. I really enjoy the incredible diversity within Cargill’s Asia Pacific team. I have only ever had one boss who was female (Phillipa Purser who was the MD of Cargill Australia before Penne) and it was fantastic working for her. It was great to be able to have that experience”.
“Women have been in the minority in roles in the agricultural industry in general and in the commodity trading desks. The only time it really worried me was when I would attend industry conferences in Singapore and across Asia (many years ago) and I would find that I was one of very few women at the entire conference. As a result, lots of people knew my name but I couldn’t possibly remember all of their’s. I came to really appreciate name tags as ‘how you going mate’ doesn’t really work in Asia”.
“I would encourage any women considering a role in the ag industry to go for it. It is super interesting and a lot of fun to be had. I have been able to live and work in Asia and feel like I have been able to make an important contribution to agriculture. Making sure the world has clean, safe, healthy food is unbelievably important and we should not underestimate our role in this.”
Penne has shared her story as part of International Women’s Day.
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