MM: ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM VICTORIA?
NK: I’m originally from Canberra, but moved to Melbourne in December 2013.
MM: WHAT WAS YOUR BACKGROUND BEFORE BEING APPOINTED AS THE MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS CO-ORDINATOR FOR THE VICTORIAN ASSOCIATION OF FOREST INDUSTRIES (VAFI)?
NK: I’ve been working as a media and communications professional for eight years and worked across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
My career began with A3P (Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council) in 2008, so I have now come full circle and am back in the industry.
I have also worked for the Federal Government in Canberra, and at a PR Agency here in Melbourne.
MM: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS ROLE?
NK: The forest and wood products industry is a great industry to be a part of. There is a real history within the industry, and so many different stories to tell. While it is an issues rich environment, what really attracted me to the role was the challenge of getting the positive stories about the industry out there. We have so many great things being done, especially here in Victoria, and I would like to be the one to tell the wider public about them.
VAFI is a strong organisation and is a great environment to be a part of, and I could feel that from my very first meeting with them. Getting along with the people you work with and being part of a team is just as important when finding the right job.
MM: WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IT IS IMPORTANT FOR FEMALES TO BE PRESENT IN A TRADITIONALLY MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY?
NK: I think diversity is important in any industry, not just forestry. There are so many careers associated with the forest and wood product industry and for the sustainability of the industry it is important to attract as many skilled and committed people as possible. Seeing women in roles within the industry can only be positive for young women out there now deciding on a career. I work alongside some strong, smart women in this industry and I hope to see that continue and more women enter the industry.
MM: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES FACING THE TIMBER INDUSTRY TODAY?
NK: I think there is a level of uncertainty – about resource security, which impacts on the future of the industry. Demand for the product is only growing so it is important that we work together as an industry to face these challenges. It’s not going to work if only one sector is responding, we need to present an integrated industry.
MM: WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING PART OF AUSTRALIA’S FORESTRY INDUSTRY?
NK: The people. Everyone I have met has been very supportive of me coming into this role and willing to help out where they can and I found that when I was at A3P as well. It is a proud industry, full of hard workers and who believe in what they are doing.
MM: WHAT IS YOUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE VAFI?
NK: I would like to see VAFI to continue to be known as the peak body for the Victorian forest and wood products industry. I hope to see the association expand, to grow our membership, and in return grow as an organisation. We have a great team here at VAFI and I think together we can achieve some really positive outcomes for the industry.
If you would like to get in touch with the VAFI and chat to Natalie she would love to hear your story and discuss the great work happening within the industry, drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org