Fairley Fellow 2017
If there’s something happening in Shepparton, Terri Cowley knows about it.
As One FM Shepparton’s breakfast radio host, Terri keeps listeners company during the morning wake up and commute, delivering a program that hosts guests from all corners of the community and touches on an impressive range of issues.
Her passion for the region and connection to its community shines through.
But when she applied to the Fairley Leadership Program and was accepted in 2017, her network was nowhere near as vast.
“I think for me, as someone who works from home, it got me out into the community,” Terri said.
“We all have our own spheres that we operate in - I’m interested in the arts sphere, for example, and I’m connected to my kids’ sports sphere.
“But when do I intersect with the agricultural sphere, which is really important to our region? When do I get to learn about water and irrigation?
“If it’s really important to our community, if you want to be a community contributor, you need to know about the broader community.”
The Fairley Leadership program gave Terri the opportunity to learn about those spheres she didn’t naturally come into contact with, and now she uses that knowledge daily to draw the Goulburn Valley community closer.
Since completing the program, Terri has thrown herself into community radio, volunteering, and even managed the campaign for a local politician.
She was the community representative on the Shepparton Art Museum Project Control Group, she’s a member of the Kialla West Primary School parents and friends committee and was a member of the Shepparton United Soccer Club’s leadership group.
Utilising her skills as a journalist, Terri hosted the Greater Shepparton Volunteer Awards in 2020 and honed her craft among a small cohort chosen from across Australia to participate in the National Feature and Documentary Series 2021 led by the Community Media Training Organisation.
Her radio programs and podcasts showcase the best of the Goulburn Murray region - its diversity and sense of community, arts and culture, local events, business, volunteering, education and everything in-between.
“Having that network of Fairley fellows makes you feel like you have more support, that you have people that you can call, if you need,” Terri said.
“It certainly broadened my social circle and I got a lot of good friends out of it.”
Terri encouraged anyone thinking of applying for the program in the future not to hesitate over concerns they weren’t enough of a leader yet.
“If you were a fully formed leader and you knew everything you wouldn’t need to do the program,” she said. “It doesn't matter what age you are, it doesn't matter what job you have. “What matters is if you feel like you can contribute to a community and that you would like to build on those skills to better contribute."
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