​Suzanne Daubney (Gibson)

1988 Collegian

Suzanne Daubney (Gibson) with family

I did enjoy studying. I have completed a Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Science and Post Graduate Diploma in Education. I tried my hand at Vet Science but after fainting in theatre a few times, I found it wasn't for me.

I met my partner Matthew whose parents settled in the town of Northcliffe in 1924 and started up a farm that's now known as Bannister Downs Farm.

Matthew and I took on management from his grandparents around 2008 and I'm now the Managing Director. We were considering getting out of the business not long after. The big companies we sold to put no value on the time we put in; it was quite destructive.

But instead, we went all in. We built the business up from scratch – new processes, facilities, marketing, everything. It was an unprofitable business but within four years, we were achieving net profits.

In 2010, I was awarded the 40 under 40 First Among Equals award for my work building the farm up, particularly through creating a vertically integrated processing facility to value-add to our raw product.

I was speechless when I received the award. Looking at the calibre of people in the room, I didn't think I was at that level of business but something must have caught the judges' eye. It is often said that 'out of adversity comes innovation' which is what the award is all about I guess.

The farm is now home to 1,000 milking cows which produce 6,000,000 litres of milk annually. It can be stressful, but we now feel a sense of purpose doing what we do.

I have served as a Board member of the Food Industry Association and for three years I have served on the Small Business Finance Panel. I was also recently invited to sit on the Board of the South West Development Commission and to Chair the CCI (WA) Food Industry Advisory Committee and General Council.

I believe in life it is necessary to surround yourself with can do people and you will be able to overcome any obstacles.

On MLC: MLC challenged me to push myself and taught me to always do my best and I learned that everybody is good at something. My favourite teachers at MLC were Mrs Jenny Silburn and Mr Swingler.