Catherine Marriott has established a remarkable career as a consultant in the cattle industry while at the same time working to inspire and empower rural women.

Story by Felicity Brown

On meeting Catherine Marriott, you soon learn she isn’t one to sit still. Her enthusiasm for each of the multiple tasks currently lying on the table in front of her is infectious. It’s well after business hours and Catherine works diligently on the training package she is developing with Kimberley-based Indigenous organisation Outback Training Services while also taking a phone call about the live-export trade in Asia in her capacity as animal-welfare consultant to Wellard. In the same sitting she’s working on a speech for an upcoming forum she is facilitating for rural women. Then there are the donations for the Gibb River Road Mountain Bike Challenge to finalise – she is cycling to raise money for local burns victims – and planning her training regime to complete the Lake Argyle Swim. It’s not unusual for Catherine to then depart Kununurra at daylight in her trusty car ‘Doris’ for the 800-kilometre trip to Darwin – on this occasion to fly to Sydney for a night to present a student award at the Royal Easter Show – before flying to Asia to continue her work in feedlots and on farms.
Catherine is the West Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award winner for 2012 and at age 31 has three businesses on the go: Progressive Cattle Consulting, Influential Women and Simply Smiling Photography. Add to that a history of commitment to agriculture generally and the community she calls home, and it’s clear why she was singled out.
RIRDC first recognised Catherine in 2010 with a scholarship to undertake the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP). She was one of the youngest participants among 32 influential people chosen as leaders of industries across rural and regional Australia. Catherine says this was a turning point in her life. “Women in rural industries don’t think they are doing anything special,” Catherine says, “but they are and they have amazing stories and my passion is for these women to acknowledge this and confidently share their stories with the consumer.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #84

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2012