A marketing and business coaching powerhouse, Tori is dedicated to helping rural and regional women achieve success. Originally from Texas USA, she was backpacking across Australia when she fell in love with the rural life, before meeting her husband and settling in the Cunderdin wheatbelt in Western Australia. Tori is the proud owner-operator of an online education and support business for rural women, Big Ideas Rural, and is well known for her unwavering commitment to building an online community of otherwise-isolated female entrepreneurs. Throw in juggling farm duties with being mum to a toddler, and it’s no wonder one of her favourite things is “family cuddle time in the morning when we are still a bit sleepy and extra snuggly”. Tori loves the connection that rural women share, reinforcing that “We’re all in the same boat, despite our widespread geography”.
When asked what concerned her about the health, safety and wellbeing of those in rural industries and communities, Tori recalled her husband suffering from crippling back pain after spending long hours on the tractor. It took two months of weekly visits to an osteopath to reach a point where he was able to avoid surgery, and now the couple are insistent on taking steps to work smarter – not harder. “We are now much more conscious around prevention: using elevation pillows in the tractor, foam rolling and preventative osteo visits.” She said change often happens in small steps, and that it’s important to show your support. She encourages rural women to speak their mind when having conversations about safety, heeding the advice – “Don’t ever let your voice get lost”.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, funny and optimistic.
Tell us something interesting about yourself...
I grew up in Texas and moved to Australia 10 years ago. I was fresh out of uni and backpacking across Australia, and that’s when I met my husband – working as a barmaid in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. I didn’t grow up a country girl but I love the life and could never go back to the city.
What makes you truly happy?
Family cuddle time in the morning, when we are still a bit sleepy and extra snuggly. Those special moments are so precious and they make my heart explode.
What do you love the most about being a rural woman?
The community. I love the unity and connection you find with every rural woman. We’re all in the same boat, despite our widespread geography.
Tell us about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing.
Late last year in the middle of hay, my husband became unable to walk, sit or stand without pain. It was obvious that the long hours on the tractor weren’t helping his back. We are constantly worried about the long-term damage that might be being caused.
What practical things did - or could - you or someone else do to prevent yourself or someone else from getting hurt?
Ergonomics isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. After two months of travelling four hours each week to visit an osteopath, we managed to get his back to a point where it didn’t require surgery. We are now much more conscious around prevention: using elevation pillows in the tractor, foam rolling and preventative osteo visits.
Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner or those you work or spend time with are more willing to make changes to the way the work is done, or are more open to making safer, healthier choices?
I think for us it’s making small changes all the time. Just today, my husband walked in and said something about how he’s gotten a lot smarter since getting hurt. He now uses machine power rather than brute force to move something to prevent injury.
If you could give any advice to another rural woman about health, safety and/or wellbeing in rural industries and communities, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?
Showing your support is extremely important when someone is making a positive change. And speaking your mind – don’t ever let your voice get lost.