Agriculture might as well be part of Emily’s DNA, growing up an hour from Condobolin, NSW on her family farm, she can’t remember a time when her life wasn’t the epitome of the rural Australian lifestyle.
Emily has been busy since her time in the Horizon Scholarship Program where she was sponsored by GRDC – between agriculture and accounting degrees, a role at an accounting firm, running her own small business EJS Business Services and most recently, launching The Virtual Cooee. One common thread knits together these endeavours, and that’s a passion for supporting rural businesses, especially those owned by rural women.
In the middle of 2020, The Virtual Cooee was born through The Rural Women’s Seed Scheme Program.
“Libby Roesner and I formulated the idea of The Virtual Cooee and we had to pitch it as if we were pitching to investors. The idea came from Libby’s time at Landcare Australia, where she wanted a virtual assistant but didn’t know how to find someone and hoped to avoid hiring someone overseas who lacked the knowledge of Australian agriculture,” said Emily.
Emily herself knows all too well what it’s like living remotely and the challenges of needing to work online, and knew there were so many other women in the same boat.
“I saw skilled women living on farm who were ex-lawyers and ex-accountants who would end up starting a jewellery business or similar, just to create a sense of purpose and make their own money.
“But we thought, if we created an online hub where they can offer their services and be paid for the work they are actually passionate about, then it had to be a good thing,” Emily explains.
So between Libby who knew what it was like to need reliable, Australian based remote workers, and Emily who resonated with the challenges of finding flexible and remote work, the pair had the first hand experience and passion required to bring their idea to life.
“We know when you are on a farm, you need to be able to go out and move vehicles, help with cattle work, or whatever might be happening, so you need flexibility and to be able to work when it suits you. That’s where we come in, people on the Virtual Cooee Hub can choose as many or as little jobs as they want and work when it suits them.
“We have changed the definition of virtual assistant too, I used to think of it as just admin, but it’s a much bigger scope than that now. It really is a one stop shop, you can get someone to do your design, your admin, your editing and so many more tasks -all from the one place,” Emily explains.
According to Emily, there’s something for everyone in rural Australia. From an office job in a regional centre, to working on farm or spending time on the road working alongside producers, she sees potential for all.