Natasha Howell ~ Ms Milky

© Jennie Groom 2016

This is Natasha Howell, she’s a milk-lady!

I had just finished photographing a building in Stirling last week when I saw Natasha delivering milk into the cafe I was in. “Yay” I thought “a woman doing a job I had only ever seen men doing”.  I watched her and the staff in the cafe have a friendly chat, like I imagine they would every morning.  I then seized the moment and asked to photograph her to show women around the world the variety of work choices they may not have considered.

Natasha started working in the Milk industry 14 years ago with her partner at the time but she was mainly in an administration capacity.  They were contracted to Lion Nathan delivering all things dairy and juice into an array of businesses in the Adelaide Hills area.
Over the past 6 years things have altered, the partner has moved on and Natasha has fought to keep going on her own.  Now days she packs, drives the truck and delivers herself with the help of two young lads.

When asked by her friends why she didn’t just sell the contract on, she says “I can’t really think of a good reason to give it up, I’m certainly not sick of it yet”.  In fact, she quite enjoys the physical challenge and she appreciates the friendly contact with all of the different shop keepers.  She is the first to say she doesn’t have the muscle mass of a man but she works very hard and gets her job done, enjoys it and brings smiles to the faces of the Hills folk.

Taryn Brumfitt – Entirely Embraced

Photo By Jennie Groom © 2016
Women around the world take comfort
From the epiphany presented to Taryn Brumfitt
Finding her post baby body hard to face
Taryn resolved it to be a  surgery case
She booked in for a tummy tuck
Then, the epiphany struck….
“How can I teach my daughter to love her body
When it’s mine, I need to embody?”
A Body Image Movement started
Her previous life departed
A before and after photo went viral
The movement caught in a spiral
A book launch
A happy body stood staunch
A documentary to be made
Women embracing their bodies portrayed
Well, get ready to stare
At the films premiere
Be proud of your body, dress up in lace
Taryn’s film is called ‘Embrace’

‘Embrace’ premiering at Sydney Film Festival on June the 12th, in Cinemas from August

Ronni Kahn ~ Waste Warrior

Photo by Jennie Groom 2011, thanks to MoAD for Permission.

If you believe good food shouldn’t go to waste, then you will appreciate Ronni Kahn’s mission.

I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Ronni for an exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) in Canberra in 2011.  Ronni and the whole crew were moved to ‘feel good’ tears as she told us her story.

In the process of questioning the purpose of her life, Ronni visited a friend and mentor in South Africa, and went to visit an aids clinic in Soweto her friend had set-up.  As they travelled through the city her friend mentioned she was responsible for electricity in Soweto.  To this news, Ronni thought “Wow, what must it feel like to know you have made an impact to over 1 million people?”  Once she saw the Aids Clinic, Ronni knew her life would never be the same, she knew she wanted to make a significant contribution to society.

Ronni had been in the event industry and experienced first hand the food wastage from events.  On occasions, she would hand deliver her left over food to charities and always felt good about doing so but with the concern about food wastage and people going hungry in  Australia she thought there must be a better way.   She then set-up the food rescue charity OzHarvest and had food legislation changed throughout the country enabling her to do this.

Food rescue is not the half eaten sandwich, it’s the food that has never touched the plate!  The food which is left over in the kitchen or on the shelves that wasn’t sold before closing time or the excess food left over from an event, meeting in a boardroom or catering on a film shoot for example.

“Food is so much more than just filling our tummies, it’s about nutrition, it’s about nourishment, it’s about caring, it’s about support”

The second impact of OzHarvest’s contribution to Australia and the world, Ronni could never have imagined is for every kilogram of food OzHarvest rescues, saves 2kg in methane gas and 143 litres of water.  To date they have saved over 15 million kilograms of food that was destined for landfill.

OzHarvest collects good quality food from over 2000 commercial outlets and delivers it to over 800 charities with their fleet of 30+ highly visible yellow vans and has fed more than 45 million meals to people in need across most of Australia.

“In our society and our wonderful democracy of Australia, I think that individuals have the opportunity every single day to find a way in their lives to make a difference” stresses Ronni.  This week is National Volunteer Week and Ronni knows only too well the value of volunteers in our society and the unlimited personal rewards volunteers receive when they volunteer.

“Not a day goes by where I don’t feel moved or blessed by the impact OzHarvest has had.”

It’s no surprise Ronni Kahn was named ‘Australian Local Hero’ in the 2010 Australian Of The Year Awards.

Daniella Metti – Ms Manufacturing

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2016

If you are from Adelaide and are of a certain vintage, you may remember the kiddy ride-on ducks usually out the front of  supermarkets.  In the background of this photo you can see the moulding for one of the ducks, made by the late Luciano Metti from his business, Loumet (‘Lou’ being his first name and ‘met’ from his last name).  He originally started ‘The House Of Metti’ is 1963, mainly manufacturing dolls.

Jump forward to now and his daughter Daniella Metti is running the family business now manufacturing toy balls, and a range of fitness products here in Adelaide.

After her parents separated, Daniella and her twin sister were brought up by their father which meant they spent a lot of time at the office, often helping with labelling of orders and other little tasks. Daniella fondly remembers going to the Toy Fairs from a young age and seeing the latest toys before all her school mates.  Luciano was a dedicated father and hoping to groom his daughters into working at the business once they had finished high school.  Instead, Daniella decided to study International Business at Flinders University which gave her a good grounding to eventually run the business when she returned to Adelaide in 2002 after working in Sydney for a few years.

Daniella’s business philosophy is to diversify and keep products fresh with the highest of quality, this keeps her manufacturing business running in a tough market.  Loumet is the only ball manufacturer in Australia.

Hon. Dr Rosemary Crowley AO – Sporting Soul

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2016

It was Rosemary Crowley’s passion for sport, women and health which made her ‘run’ for the Federal Senate in 1983 and represent the people of South Australia. It was a good sprint because she got in and became the first woman from the Labor Party in South Australia to do so.

Rosemary got to work and contributed to health care reforms with the implementation of Medicare, conducted an enquiry into ‘women, sport and the media’ and became the Minister for Family Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women and then retiring at the end of her term in 2002, a good innings.

The progress she made with improving funding and recognition for women in sport led to the Prime Ministers Cup for Netball and the Premiers Cup for Women’s Sport. She’s proud of the recent wins women’s sport is receiving in the media particularly in regard to the non-traditional sports like Cricket, Soccer and Football. Not to forget Netball, the long serving women’s sport men have been participating in and enjoying themselves!

These days, Rosemary is using yoga to keep her active, flexible, mentally fit and wickedly funny!

Dr Catherine Keenan – Woman of Story

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2016


“Telling stories is a fundamental part of being human” declared Dr Catherine Keenan as she begun a new story in her own life when she become The Australian of the Year – Local Hero for 2016 earlier this week.

Cath Keenan had a fabulous career going at the Sydney Morning Herald when teaming up with colleague Tim Dick they co-founded Sydney Story Factory in Redfern. So great was her urge to help marginalised young Australians to develop their communication skills and express themselves through writing that she left her job to become the executive director in 2012.

Sydney Story Factory is a not for profit organisation which holds classes and one on one writing sessions for free to young people. With over 6000 enrolments received to date and 1200 volunteers, Cath has had success.  The volunteers and students love being in Cath’s orbit of vision, creativity and enthusiasm…..or is it that she is the best robot dance master, bar none!

In a profound acceptance speech Cath advised parents “on top of reading to your child, also help them write a story”.   Thanks Cath, inspired by your story I’ve taken your advice already with my child!

Minister Sussan Ley – Not Afraid


Photo by Jennie Groom © 2016

“Just me and my tall skinny mate” Susan Ley responded by showing her protective gun to a man asking “is it just you here” as he stopped by her roadside camp in the middle of the night.  Sussan was in her early 20’s and on her way to her first official job as a pilot to muster cattle.

I love this story Sussan recounts on the ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler.  Here is the Link –  We hear how she’s not afraid, not prepared to let go of her dreams and what she has achieved to get where she is today, a Cabinet Minister in the Federal Government.

When Sussan was 19, she needed to find $15,000 to get her commercial pilots licence and worked three jobs to do it.

She had a dream to fly, but it was more than just flying, she was fascinated with the mechanics of the machine, hence her distain for gliders! Flying didn’t come easy to Sussan, on her first flight she had air sickness and says “she wasn’t very good at it”!

However, she was disciplined and persisted, getting her pilot’s licence and then going onto air traffic control. Not satisfied with working in air traffic control, Sussan wrote to all the commercial airlines looking for work as a pilot. With no job opportunities there she went onto study aerial stock mustering which lead to her first job.

There are many more stories to tell about Sussan Ley with such an unusual and diverse background but the main point is Sussan is not afraid to stand up for herself, to work hard and never give up.

Helen Leake – Produced in SA

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015

Helen Leake was born and bred in Adelaide and uses South Australian people and places as much as possible in her work as a film producer.  In fact, through her films she’s helped to bring over $100 million in economic benefit to South Australia.

Helen wasn’t planning on the film industry for a career when she finished school and started studying pharmacy.  Even then, pharmacy was dropped for computer programming and back in the 70’s it was very rare to find women in computer programming!

It was Helen’s love of film which led her into script writing and editing and then onto producing her first telemovie in 1994 for the American Broadcasting Company.

The mix of art and science has helped Helen run her own business and produce some of South Australia’s most successful films, notably Wolf Creek 2, Swerve, Black and White and Heaven’s Burning (the latter three films were directed by another South Australian, Craig Lahiff).

Helen has also served the industry as the CEO of SA Film Corporation from 2004 – 2007, Chair of the Board for the Australian International Documentary Conference from 2007 – 2013 and a Commissioner on the Australian Film Commission (now merged with Screen Australia).


Rosie Batty – White Ribbon Woman

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015
With Australian Domestic Violence at breaking point,

It was a stroke of genius to appoint,
Rosie Batty the 2015 Australian of the year.

So many women shed a tear.
Not just women, but their children and families too

In the hope that Rosie’s story and campaigning can break through.

Rosie came to Adelaide this morning
Domestic Violence she was scorning

at the white ribbon breakfast.

Premier Jay Weatherill puts forward a prospectus
familiar with the appalling statistics

He announces new logistics

For women to access the criminal records of their partners
to see if they are hiding any potential darkness.
The world needs people to speak out and make change
Just like Rosie Batty has done at close range.

 Pregnant Polly, Michelle Lensink

Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015
Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015

Michelle Lensink MLC had given up on the idea of ever becoming a mother after ceasing IVF treatment in 2013 and now at 45 she is expecting her first baby in a few weeks.  Being the first woman in SA Legislative Council to ever need maternity leave, there are no specific guidelines about when she can finish work and start back again.  However, her colleagues are very supportive and parental leave is now well accepted, even if it’s not yet in Parliament’s “rule book”.   Home internet access and being on the end of phone means that she will be able to keep in touch and provide feedback while she focuses on getting to know her baby.  Being a Politician is a job that doesn’t just stop when you are on leave, just like being a mother really!

Michelle joined the SA Legislative Council in 2003 representing the Liberal Party and replacing  Hon. Diana Laidlaw after her retirement. She was then elected for an 8 year term at the 2006 election and again at the 2014 election.  She is currently Shadow Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation; Water and the River Murray; Status of Women.

After completing a degree in Physiotherapy and working for 3 years she felt the need to change into the political arena because there were so many issues that needed political leadership. While Michelle’s earlier career focussed on a number of health and aged care issues because of her background, she takes interest in a diverse range of issues, including water policy, domestic violence and biodiversity.