Canegrowers Chairman takes the farm to the boardroom

Posted March 23, 2015

Who says leaders are made out of cleanly laundered suits and straight ties? Australian Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri has worked the farm for 40 years and still prides himself on the fact that he takes dirt under his finger nails into boardroom meetings.

Who says leaders are made out of cleanly laundered suits and straight ties?

Australian Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri has worked the farm for 40 years and still prides himself on the fact that he takes dirt under his finger nails into boardroom meetings.

The years on the farm and a passion for advocacy have given Mr Schembri ample motivation in his role as the Australian Canegrowers chairman.

Born on a cane farm north of Mackay and a third generation farmer, Mr Schembri developed a taste for the industry early in life.

Throughout his early career a desire for change drove him to put his hand up for the Canegrowers and in in 1983 he became one of the youngest members to be elected to the organisation.

Since then Mr Schembri has worked his way through the ranks and he now sits in one of the organisation’s top positions.

He said that becoming chairman in 2013 was one of his biggest career achievements.

“Leadership is an interesting thing.  You have to have passion for the people you represent and I represent 4,500 cane farmers in the state of Queensland,” Mr Schembri said.

“My style is all about working with people, harvesting the talents and contributions of people.

“If you want to travel fast, you travel alone, but if you want to travel further in life you travel with others and that’s my style.”

After 32 years with the organization, Mr Schembri said he was still enjoying the challenges.

“The industry today is so different to what it was years ago.   The political landscape has changed, other industries such as mining have emerged and technically I’ve witnessed a lot of advances,” he said.

“I think we’ll see just as much change, if not more into the future.”

Despite the demands of the job, Mr Schembri can still be spotted down the paddock or the fertiliser shed in his work clothes.

“Getting back on the farm is a great reality check.  I still get a buzz to see freshly planted cane come out of the ground.   It keeps me humble and focused on what I represent.”

 

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