Mary Salce is a partner with her husband in a dairy farm (irrigation) in Clydebank near Sale, Victoria. For more than 30 years Mary has been active in community affairs, environmental organisations and advisory committees, the agriculture industry including board member of the Victorian Dairy Industry Authority. Currently she is a member of the Southern Rural Water Licensing Business Forum.
She initiated and convened the highly successful first International Women in Agriculture Conference, held in Melbourne 1994.
Mary's dedication, passion, tenacity and importantly her vision and strength has not only changed women's lives but also enabled our counterparts to gain a better understanding of women's roles within the rural and agriculture sector.
Mary has addressed many International conferences raising the awareness of the rural and agriculture women's input into the community, economy and the environment.
She continues her work as co-ordinator of the Gippsland Women's Network which has recently introduced the project "Women Who Mean Business
Selling Gippsland's Finest."
Her awards include the International Women and Agriculture Award for Vision, Courage and Leadership, 3rd World Congress for Rural Women, Spain 2002
Jo McCubbin is a mother and a Sale paediatrician
and environmental activist. She believes that there
is little point in simply treating the children in isolation.
They need a healthy environment and healthy families
and communities to grow up in. Projects like Women who
Mean Business, help to build confidence, creativity
and friendships across our communities and this can
only be positive for our families.
Some of the best things I have ever done have followed
from a chance meeting with Mary Salce in a supermarket
checkout queue. Since that time, I have been privileged
to be involved in helping get various projects from
grand ideas (usually dreamed up over a cup of coffee
with Mary and others), to reality.
We organised a forum teaching Gippslanders how to get
their issues heard by politicians and the media and
conferences providing women the information to participate
in debates on water issues. Inspired by the kind of
things other women could do, I gained the confidence
to call a public meeting when it seemed the community
needed answers about activities at Dutson Downs.
Out of this was born Wellington Residents Against Toxic
Hazards or WRATH. I was then delighted to be asked to
teach environmental medicine to our medical students.
After getting to know Mary, it became apparent that
she knew many people across all the communities in Gippsland
and beyond. Many of these networks had arisen from her
involvement in arts projects in the early 1990s.
Art is in my family heritage so this was bound to get
my attention eventually. When Mary mentioned the possibility
of running a project to use arts to draw women together
across communities and to provide the necessary skills
to make their creative dreams into business opportunities,
I was definitely interested.
In my day job as a paediatrician I worry about the
physical and mental well-being of our children. I have
long thought that many of their ills are best fixed
by changes in their world that will lead to a better
environment and better opportunities, changes that are
bigger than simply writing a script.
It seemed to me that getting mothers and indeed people
of all ages, engaged in their communities and working
together, will have a positive effect on the well-being
of us all. Since those early days, with a small group
of us kicking words around the table, for the early
drafts of a submission, the project has grown and taken
on a life of its own.
This is probably just as well from my point of view,
since my doctoring workload is getting way out of hand.
My role now is, unfortunately, less involved and I regret
not being able to get out around various meetings across
Gippsland to meet all of you and watch the projects
If nothing else, I hope that others will learn from
the women they meet during this project and gain the
confidence to do things they might not have dreamed
of doing otherwise.
Di is an artist and teacher, making sculpture and furniture
from recycled timber and teaching in the Social Sciences Department of East Gippsland
Institute of TAFE.
She has been involved in the Gippsland Women's Network from
it's beginnings in 1997 and was project coordinator
for the original Uniting our rural communities project in East Gippsland.
Her interest is in creating viable economic outcomes for
women with business opportunities through developing their skills and self esteem
in areas they would like to become more involved in.
Alison is a part time assistant for the Women who Mean Business Project Management Committee