Catherine Marriott has seen all sides of Australia's agricultural spectrum, from working with the cattle trade in the remote Kimberley region of WA or in policy research to improve broadacre farming.
But despite this she credits much of the advancements in the industry to many other passionate individuals who work together to grow better food in Australia.
"I've been very lucky," she said.
"I've had a wide and varied career and it's always been really interesting that ultimately, you're a product of the people that you hang out with.
"I hang out with some extraordinary people just through my work."
Ms Marriott has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her work in promoting primary industry and regional development.
She is currently the inaugural chief executive of Riverine Plains, a group aiming to improve the productivity of broadacre farming systems in north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales.
But she's also worked in the Philippines for five years as a technical consultant in the Asian beef industry and has held positions based in Indonesia and West Australia.
She said receiving the honour was "mind-blowing" and while she says she didn't know who nominated her, she was being glad to be recognised for her work.
"It is such a delicious and overwhelming thing to learn that the impact I have had has been appreciated by people," she said.
"It is most extraordinary feeling and I'm almost speechless, because really in life you do things because they need to be done.
"You live your life hoping that you will have an impact that's positive on somebody and to receive an award that's an award for your work and contributed in a positive way is the most delightful thing."
A major driving force throughout her career is to "make a difference" no matter what her role was with an aim to overcome challenges, which she said made her the person she is today.
"I was never really driven to contribute to a sector, but rather to agriculture as an industry and rural Australia as a community," she said.
"By being committed to making a difference to people, you do whatever the role that presents itself as a need at that time, and I think the common skill set that I bought to each of those things is strong listening, strong empathy, strong care, and hopefully strong leadership.
"Because ultimately, agriculture is about people, and so if you can use your skills to pull the best out of people, it doesn't really matter what industry you're in as long as you're making a contribution and helping feed the planet."
Ms Marriott also praised her family for their support, giving extra credit to her mum.
"We lost dad when he was 40 years old and Mum raised four kids while also keeping the farm going," she said.
"I think to have a role model such as her when she could have given up and sold the farm when dad died, and Mum taught me that you have choices in life and and you can choose your attitude,
"She herself chose not to sell up and work hard to give us an opportunity, and I aim to replicate that attitude working hard to give other people opportunities too."
"That's what gets me out of bed in the morning."
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