Hall of Fame Alumni
Sefton & Associates
- Founder and Principal
About Me - My Biography
Robbie Sefton uses her drive and passion in the service of Australia’s regional, rural and remote communities and is a highly active participant in rural Australia. Having worked with media, government, private companies and industry over the past 15 years, Robbie possesses a wide range of strategic communication skills including issues management, media relations, training, corporate image and brand identity, leadership and special interest/advisory group expertise. Robbie’s leadership roles include: Advisory Group Member of Observant Pty Ltd and an Advisory Member at USQ (University of Southern Queensland – Public Relations Discipline). Robbie was the 2002 RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year, is a graduate of the prestigious Australian Rural Leadership program and the AICD Company Director’s Course. She currently sits on the NSW Australia Day Council, is a Board member of the National Australia Day Council. Robbie’s past board and advisory council appointments have included being a member of the Regional Women’s Advisory Council (which reported directly to the Deputy Prime Minister).
Robbie was a director of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Board.
She was also a former Board Member of Australian Wool Services Limited (now known as Graziers’ Investment Company Limited) and The Woolmark Company Pty Limited until she retired at the company’s Annual General Meeting in November 2007.
Robbie Sefton has a vision: that rural, regional and remote Australia is a dynamic, healthy and prosperous environment where people live and work in rewarding careers, farms, agribusiness etc., and communities flourish.
From the time she began working, Robbie set out to prove it was possible to run a fulfilling and successful business in rural Australia.
It wasn’t only for herself—she was determined to provide employment and career opportunities for young rural people too, particularly young women.
Today, Robbie is involved in two such businesses. With her partner Alistair Yencken, she is a primary producer of wool, meat and grains, running a 2,900-hectare property near Tamworth called ‘Braemar’.
Primarily, though, her work is as a managing director of Sefton & Associates, a specialist in strategic rural and regional communication strategies, and 2013 winner of the Government Relations Consultancy of the Year (6+ staff) in the inaugural Government Relations Awards.
Through the business, Robbie has been involved in projects with the aim of positively shaping the face of rural Australia: the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture 2013-2020 and the National Biodiversity Strategy are just two of these. She is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was awarded the 2002 RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year.
Robbie has been invited to join advisory boards for the Australian Taxation Office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Woolworths, and the University of Southern Queensland, based on her expertise as a small business operator in rural Australia, and as an advocate for rural and regional issues.
She has represented rural Australian women in international forums (such as the International Rural Women’s Conference) and in high-level forums in Australia (like the Rural Women’s Summit in Canberra hosted by then Minister Tanya Plibersek).
Robbie has made significant contributions to commercial and not-for-profit boards. As a board member she helped turn around the financial affairs of the Australian Wool Services Ltd (known as the Woolmark Company), which has now been divested into the Graziers Investment Company. She has also been involved as a board member with the Australia Day Council at a state and national level since 2006 where she feels honoured to be involved with the other board members in selecting ‘The Australian of the Year’.
Robbie has lived, worked and travelled all over regional, rural and remote Australia, as a rural leader and advocate, at her own initiative, and often unpaid.
“I’m not doing this for my kids, because I don’t have any,” she says. “I’m doing it for everyone’s kids in the bush.”
She is known and respected by farmers, Ministers, and people at all levels in between.
One piece of advice Robbie gives others is to be driven by passion and a vision. “A life of always being willing to listen and learn from others- rather than it being about ‘me’- makes for a deeply satisfying life.”
Strategies for Success
- Be driven by your vision: Robbie’s vision is for rural and regional Australia to be the heartland of triple bottom line agriculture, a great place to live and work, and for the land and communities to be productive and profitable.
- Walk your talk: Robbie employs and up-skills young people and women in both her businesses, selected because they share her vision and are committed to agriculture and rural/regional Australia.
- Knowledge and care: Robbie has a deep understanding and respect of rural and regional Australia that underpins her professional work.
- “No spin”: the campaigns Robbie runs through Sefton & Associates are built on knowing the realities of life for rural people, and they’re ground tested with farmers and rural communities. She has a ‘no spin’ policy, no matter who the client is.
- Be passionate: passion provides the fuel for Robbie’s paid and unpaid work. She strives for the greater good and the broader vision, and gathers people around her who share her passion. She gets things done.