Julianne Christopher (pictured) has been the inspiration for women of all ages to achieve their potential in the thoroughbred horse industry. They’ve ranged from teenagers hoping to enter the industry to older women looking to lead it.
On March 7, the newly appointed Corporate Partnerships and Community Specialist with Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to inspire a gathering of Upper Hunter women to embrace the challenge of introducing innovative ideas and technology in their own businesses and workplaces at a Women’s Week 2023 breakfast at Scone’s The Cottage Restaurant.
Christopher will be joined on a panel by two other prominent Hunter Valley women, Helloworld Travel Scone owner Rachael McGuirk and Kieralee Harvey, founder and CEO of Harvey Recruitment. The theme for the discussion is ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’, which is the United Nations’ International Women’s Day theme for 2023.
The panellists were chosen for their resilience and leadership during Covid and their foresight in using the lockdowns to embrace and employ innovative workplace ideas and technologies.
A successful grant application to Women NSW was a collaboration between Scone Chamber treasurer, Jane Ryan and Gro Events Group director, Dimity Smith, who will act as panel host for the discussion and later invite questions from the audience.
The chamber hopes the event will inspire more Upper Hunter women to explore and adopt innovative ideas and technologies in their own businesses and workplaces. Tickets are available at https://sconeIWD.eventbrite.com.au
Christopher was lauded for her innovative work coordinating the NSW Thoroughbred Workforce Development program, which has enabled a new generation of young men and women to launch their careers in an industry struggling to attract and retain workers. The initiative created a training pathway that has delivered free training to over 600 new and existing participants, as well as supporting retention by upskilling the current workforce.
She is just as proud of being able to help ‘amazing and inspiring women’ take on board roles within the racing industry, historically male-dominated.
In addition, the boards of the Hunter and NSW Thoroughbred Breeders associations now have at least two women members, with another soon to take up a vacancy.
EARLY FEMALE ROLE MODELS
As a child, Christopher was surrounded by strong women.
Her paternal grandmother had four sons and tragically lost her husband when Christopher’s father was 14. Her grandmother continued to run the family sawmill and farm that Christopher grew up on and served as one of her granddaughter’s earliest role models.
Her maternal grandmother ran a dairy farm and had seven children, while Christopher also learnt a strong work ethic from my late mother who was ‘not afraid to roll up her sleeves and was always doing what she could to help those around her’.
Female mentors have been a major factor in Christopher’s career, from a female head of sales at Volvo Earthmoving Equipment, to a political advisor to John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull.
Christopher’s early career included stints as a florist, a business trainee, a law clerk, and a marketing and accounting student.
She originally relocated to Scone on a 12-month tenure. Nearly a decade later, she’s is about to move to the coast to take up her new role in Newcastle.
“If you’re really passionate about the industry, you’ll give it everything you’ve got,” she said of her career in racing and breeding.
“That’s where it came from with me – that passion for the industry.
“I managed to do this job and raise two children. Yes, at times the hours might be long or stressful, but if you’re committed you’ll give it everything and it won’t compromise the other important things.
“That’s what I’ve tried to do.”