RIC Board shares views on women in leadership and future of agriculture — International Women’s Day

The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) is a powerful example of gender equality in the workplace with a strong representation of women in leadership roles including:

  • 100% women Board (4 members altogether)
  • 33% women in senior executive roles 
  • more than half of our team (56%) are women.

These numbers support the Australian Government’s commitment to meet a target of 50 per cent representation of woman on government boards.

As of June 2022, women held a record of 51.4% of government board positions, the highest figure since reporting began in 2008.

The presence of women on board roles has increased in recent years, as organisations seek to appoint the best people for the job — regardless of gender — and strengthen diversity in the workplace.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day on 8 March 2023 is a global event to acknowledge the valuable contribution and achievements of women. The United Nations theme for this year is Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender-equal future.

RIC will celebrate with employees joining an internal webinar to hear stories from key influential women in leadership across the organisation.  

Ahead of the event, members of the RIC’s independent board shared their experiences on leadership, agriculture, and the corporation’s role of supporting thriving regions across Australia. 

Karen Smith-Pomeroy – Chair 


Karen Smith-Pomeroy started her role as the RIC Chair in March 2020 when Australia was moving into pandemic lockdown. 

She is an experienced non-executive director, with involvement in several market sectors including agribusiness, energy, property and financial services.

Karen said the valuable contribution of women in agriculture has traditionally been overlooked.

“Women have always been a really strong part of the industry. They just perhaps haven't been recognised for that. But they've always been the ones behind the scenes who do the bookwork, who look after the organising things. That's changing across the board,” Karen said.

Despite the challenges of remote leadership when she first started as Chair, Karen said the RIC is making a significant mark as a relatively new but valuable enabler of low-cost finance for farm and farm-related businesses.

Prue Bondfield – Board Member


Prue Bondfield brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge, having worked in the agricultural industry for more than 35 years.

She said agriculture is attracting bright young minds in diverse roles, with a focus on sustainable practices and innovation.

“I'm seeing more and more young women who actually want to be associated with agriculture — educated young women who are climbing over each other in law, accounting, valuing, all sorts of ancillary type occupations that support the agricultural industry,” Prue said.

Prue is proud to represent women in agriculture at national forums and events, providing her market insights and industry trends whilst advocating for youth to explore a career in the sector.

Sharon Starick – Board Member


Sharon Starick is a grain and pork producer from South Australia who sits on the board of several organisations including as the Chair of Animal Health Australia and on the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Her agricultural experience brings a broad perspective of all aspects of the sector including its vulnerabilities and opportunities.

Sharon said Australian producers face ongoing challenges including access to international markets, the rising cost of inputs, biosecurity threats, and meeting demands for sustainability.

She emphasised that producers should “expect the unexpected” and said the RIC’s loans allowed businesses to accelerate recovery from adverse events and prepare for the future. 

“We as farming businesses need to be thinking about things and actually changing and adapting our businesses as these pressures and challenges are actually coming towards us.”

Learn more about all 4 members of our independent board.